Once upon a time when America was America, the now-defunct INS (Immigration Naturalization Services) successfully set into motion the denaturalization process for immigrants who created acts of moral turpitude, which included lying on immigration applications. In 2000 the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a decision for a nationwide injunction on the INS and their ability to reopen naturalization cases and revoke citizenship through a district court, and I believe, a decision ultimately lying with the U.S. Attorney General. All throughout the Clinton years, the INS was under attack for scrutinizing naturalized citizens who perhaps were undesirable citizen. In 2005, INS was folded into the Department of Homeland Security the lack of scrutiny has prevailed since the injunction. Congress can correct these failures. They need to do it NOW. As Doug Ross noted, this is a man-caused disaster waiting to happen (but then, the inaction we see today is already a function of a man-made disaster).
In the past ten years dozens of foreigners who became American citizens have been arrested, charged or convicted of serious national security-related offenses, according to the study. Incredibly, the government rarely bothered to revoke their citizenship, even though many had associations with terrorist groups or foreign intelligence organizations at the time they naturalized. In fact there is no central government repository of information about naturalized citizens who engage in serious national security offenses, the probe reveals.
Administrative naturalization continues unabated, the study says, with hundreds of thousands being granted American citizenship annually. That’s more than 6.5 million naturalized citizens in the last decade! “The consequence of these actions is to place all Americans at greater risk, as shown by the kinds of crimes for which many naturalized citizens have already been arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced,” investigators write.
Years ago the government had a system to administratively denaturalize those who presented a danger to the country, but a federal appellate court changed that in 2000 when it ruled that the regulation exceeded the authority of the now-defunct agency (Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS) that exercised it. That left criminal prosecution or civil suits as the only method of stripping a naturalized individual of citizenship, but it’s a lengthy and tedious process that can take years. Source: Judicial Watch
The law guiding Revocation of Naturalization is 8USC § 1451. It says:
It shall be the duty of the United States attorneys for the respective districts, upon affidavit showing good cause…
(h) Power to correct, reopen, alter, modify, or vacate orderNothing contained in this section shall be regarded as limiting, denying, or restricting the power of the Attorney General to correct, reopen, alter, modify, or vacate an order naturalizing the person.
We have the ability to denaturalize, and revoke citizenship for those suspect of the following, but a new study shows that we often fail to take the proper steps.
- In the past decade, dozens of naturalized U.S. citizens have been arrested and charged with a variety of serious national security-related offenses involving terrorism, spying, and theft of sensitive information and technology.
- The federal government almost never revokes the citizenship of these naturalized citizens, even when it is clear that they concealed material facts regarding their extreme ideas or associations with terrorist groups or foreign intelligence organizations at the time they naturalized.
- There is no central government repository of information about naturalized citizens who engage in serious national-security offenses.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has no systematic method for collecting the information nor efforts in place to review such cases, either for the purpose of instituting denaturalization or in order to discern whether there are steps it can and should take to better vet applicants during the naturalization process.
- Administrative naturalization continues unabated with hundreds of thousands being granted citizenship each year (over 6.5 million in the last decade).
- The consequence of these actions is to place all Americans at greater risk, as shown by the kinds of crimes for which many naturalized citizens have already been arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced.
- The now-defunct INS, a predecessor agency to DHS’s U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), had created a parallel regulatory structure to administratively denaturalize individuals when facts came to light revealing that an applicant had been ineligible at the time of naturalization.
- In July 2000, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the regulation exceeded the INS’s authority and issued an injunction against its use.
- As a result of the Ninth Circuit decision, presently the only way naturalized citizens can be stripped of citizenship is through criminal prosecution or civil suits in the already overburdened federal district courts.
- Congress has within its power the ability to pass legislation re-instituting the capability to administratively denaturalize individuals granted citizenship in error or as a result of misrepresentations, concealment of materials facts, or other forms of fraud. Doing so would help protect the American people and enable the government to better ensure the integrity of the administrative naturalization process.
- Falsification or Concealment of Relevant Facts: You must be absolutely truthful when filling out paperwork and answering interview questions related to the naturalization application process. Even if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) fails to recognize any lies or ommissions at first, the agency may file a denaturalization action against you after citizenship has been granted. Examples include failure to disclose criminal activities or lying about one’s real name or identity.
- Refusal to Testify Before Congress: You may not refuse to testify before a U.S. congressional committee whose job it is to investigate your alleged involvement in subversive acts, such as those intended to harm U.S. officials or overthrow the U.S. government. This requirement to testify in order to maintain citizenship status expires after 10 years.
- Membership in Subversive Groups: Your citizenship may be revoked if the U.S. government can prove that you joined a subversive organization within five years of becoming a naturalized citizen. Membership in such organizations is considered a violation of the oath of U.S. allegiance. Examples include the Nazi Party and Al Qaeda.
- Dishonorable Military Discharge: Since you may become a naturalized U.S. citizen by virtue of serving in the U.S. military, your citizenship may be revoked if you are dishonorably discharged before serving five years. Reasons for dishonorable discharge, which must follow a general court-martial, include desertion and sexual assault.
In the comprehensive Center for Immigration Studies report of January 2013 (scroll down to “Where to Now?,” it is suggested that it should be a “near-reflexive” action for the U.S. Attorneys’ offices to criminally charge a naturalized citizen, who within 5 years of naturalization, is charged with national security offenses (scroll to the bottom of the report linked in this paragraph to see a recent list of naturalized citizens who have retained their naturalized citizenship status after conviction for natural security-related offense ).
But even if the offenders were naturalized outside of the five-year window, then at minimum, as a matter of routine, a preliminary inquiry should still be opened. After all, both international terrorist and foreign espionage organizations share some commonalities in terms of tradecraft, and embedding of sleepers who take years to achieve their goals.
W.D. Reasoner, the author of the Center for Immigration Studies, under a “Final Note,” laments:
It is a puzzle to me how our government can be so profligate with the lives and limbs of our sons and daughters abroad, yet exhibit such paralysis about doing what needs done on the home front, out of a sense of dubious moral relativism. How can we demand such sacrifices from the members of our Armed Forces and not show the resolve domestically to rid ourselves of the vipers we have sent them to foreign lands to fight?
Readers, contact your Congressman/woman and ask them to find a way to get the ball rolling to force the act on denaturalization, when appropriate. Tweet them, fax them, call them. The laws in place, but The Department of Homeland Security is failing to act.