UNITED STATES−The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday, February 26, , that they have dedicated a section to denaturalization cases. The Civil Division’s Naturalization Section will investigate and litigate the denaturalization of terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders, and other fraudsters.
According to the press release from the Department of Justice, the growing number of referrals motivated the DOJ to create a standalone section dedicated to this work. Currently, the department has a success rate of 95 percent in their denaturalization cases in most circumstances.
“When a terrorist or sex offender becomes a U.S. citizen under false pretenses, it is an affront to our system−and is especially offensive to those who fell victim to these criminals,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt. “The Denaturalization Section will further the Department’s efforts to pursue those who unlawfully obtained citizenship status and ensure that they are held accountable for their fraudulent conduct.”
Specific cases were listed with the announcement including the U.S. v. al Dahab, No. 15-cv-5414 (D.D.C.). The case involved the successful civil denaturalization of individuals convicted of terrorism offenses in Egypt, who admitted to recruiting for al Qaeda in the United States and running a communications hub in California for the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization. The defendant was denaturalized while in Egypt, stripped of his passport, and prevented from returning to the United States.
The new section of the DOJ is part of an effort in the Trump administration to crack down on illegal immigration and targets those who lied on their naturalization application to become citizens. The focus will be concentrated on misrepresentations and omissions made on the N-400 form.
According to the statement from the DOJ, denaturalization cases require that the government prove that the defendant’s naturalization was “illegally procured.”
According to 8 U.S.C. § 1451, civil denaturalization cases have no statute of limitations, and the department has successfully denaturalized numerous categories of individuals who have illegally obtained citizenship.