New Trump Administration Task Force Aims to Deport Naturalized US Citizens

With the furor that’s erupted over the Trump administration’s family separation policy, it seemed almost inconceivable that the president’s war on immigrants could get much worse. And while this latest move might not necessarily be as immediately outrageous as putting children in cages, it is should terrify anyone who wasn’t born in the United States.

In a statement that managed to avoid much attention, Director L. Francis Cissna recently stated that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, will be creating a task force with the goal of identifying individuals for denaturalization. In other words, people who were born outside of the United States but have since become legal citizens may lose their status.

Cissna told the Washington Examiner that the new office will primarily focus on catching people who obtained their citizenship through fraudulent means. So far, he explained, the USCIS has hired dozens of immigration experts and lawyers to carry out this mission.

Though Cissna maintains that most naturalized citizens have nothing to worry about, some immigration rights advocates are concerned that those who’ve made innocent mistakes or fallen victim to paperwork errors during their naturalization process could now see their citizenship revoked.

After all, in the rush to begin mass deportations, thousands of legal U.S. residents and citizens have been mistakenly deported.

According to Cissna, naturalized citizens will be flagged for additional scrutiny if the task force finds anything amiss. This could result in a referral to the Department of Justice, which would then begin the process of denaturalization — and even deportation.

Is fraudulent U.S. citizenship rampant enough to warrant a dedicated task force? The evidence isn’t especially compelling.

Cissa claims that though a dedicated office will soon be created, the USCIS has been identifying questionable naturalization cases since January. Though over 2,500 cases have been flagged so far, only 95 were sent on to the Department of Justice. And of those, a very small number — not more than a couple dozen — have resulted in conviction and denaturalization.

This isn’t terribly surprising. Becoming a naturalized American citizen is neither a quick nor an easy process. Gaining citizenship requires connections, years of commitment and a bit of luck. Generally, these are the required steps:

  • Someone, be it an employer or a family member, sponsors an applicant
  • If that’s approved, the applicant must send in another form
  • If that’s approved, they become a legal resident with a “Green Card
  • After five years in the country — or three if married to a U.S. citizen — the process for naturalization can begin
  • The applicant must meet a handful of requirements — including the ability to display basic English literacy, a series of interviews to demonstrate “good moral character” and, of course, filling out mountains of forms

Even if all of these steps are followed to the letter, it does not guarantee any particular outcome. But when an individual manages to clear all of these hurdles and become a naturalized citizen, it is rarely because of fraud or mishap.

Not long after being sworn into the White House, news surfaced that President Trump was considering — in the wake of his first attempt at a Muslim travel ban — an executive order that would explicitly refuse legal status to people deemed likely to need welfare programs – and possibly even deport those who entered legally but are now considered at risk of becoming a “ward of the state.”

Though that order never materialized, it provides insight into a future where this push to denaturalize citizens could see its scope expanded to include poor people. Have you been legally in the U.S. for five years without legal problems but have now fallen on hard times and need food assistance to feed your family? You could get deported. Did a USCIS staffer misfile one of your applications or documents? You could no longer be a U.S. citizen.

Take Action!

Tell USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna that his agency must not form a task force focused on denaturalizing U.S. citizens. Aside from the egregious breach of human rights, it’s also a waste of taxpayer dollars — and Cissna has declined to explain how this new office will be funded. Instead of wasting resources on a witch hunt, USCIS would be better off focusing on reforming its notoriously labyrinthine bureaucracy to facilitate legal naturalization — not giving U.S. citizens the boot.

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Photo Credit: Charles Edward Miller/Flickr

91 comments

Dave fleming
Dave fleming8 hours ago

Signed

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Henry M
Henry M3 days ago

First for the alien, then for the Jew...
... And last of all he came for me.

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Carol C
Carol C3 days ago

Utterly despicable ethnic cleansing. We are in desperate need of a regime change.

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Cindy S
Cindy S4 days ago

sad

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Amanda M
Amanda M5 days ago

Naturalized citizens are still CITIZENS! What part of that does Dumpf fail to comprehend?

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Paul B
Paul B5 days ago

You have to step away from the left rhetoric and think logically not what others "think" separate fact from opinion and use your own reasoning skills.

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Paul B
Paul B5 days ago

Susanne,
I promise you I am anything but "uninformed." JUst because my information doesn't agree with your information doesn't mean any either are uninformed. IMO, many are misinformed daily by the left media. They spinkle a couple cherry picked facts then add so much speculation and opinion, in an appearance of fact that is totally distorts reality.
So what if the Senate voted 97-0 for nothing. Trump NEVER said he wanted to leave NATO. He wants to make it stronger by having the EU countries provide more of their OWN defense. NO WHERE can you find any insinuation that wants out. That is what I am talking about. The opinion and speculation of his statement was twisted and presented falsely... hence the Fake News moniker.
If I were Trump, and I actually would want the same thing, just like with Kim. No I don't find it suspicious at all. If it were Obama or Hillary I doubt you would be complaining at all, even though Hillary has a KNOWN history of dealing with Russians, while nothing exists anywhere near that with Trump.
Trump wants a relationship with Russia to avoid future conflict, to find a peace and economic solution to future relationships. He has been as critical of Russia actions as any, just like his condemnation of Germany's dependence on Russian energy. If he loved Russia, why would he complain about that. You have to step away from the left rhetoric and think logically not what others "think" separate fact from opinion and use

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Kathy G
Kathy G5 days ago

Thank you

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Teresa W
Teresa W5 days ago

Adele, this IS apparently a form of ethnic cleansing.

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Teresa W
Teresa W5 days ago

Naturalized citizens???

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