Denaturalization: Can DHS Software Trigger Revocation of Citizenship?
Software used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called ATLAS is programmed to scan the files of naturalized American citizens to find ‘secret criteria’ that detects fraud that indicates someone is ‘dangerous or dishonest,’ according to a new report by Intercept. The report says a 2019 USCIS press release said the program processed more than 16 million “screenings” that year and generated 124,000 “automated potential fraud, public safety and national security detections requiring further analysis and manual review by USCIS officers.”
Intercept said, “if ATLAS produces a negative review, the next steps can lead to denaturalization.”
What Is Denaturalization?
A naturalized citizen can have their citizenship revoked under denaturalization proceedings if the courts find that they knowingly obtained citizenship through fraud and under other conditions. USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) refers cases for civil and criminal denaturalization to the DOJ (Department of Justice) if there is “sufficient evidence” that someone meets one of the grounds of denaturalization. In general, says the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, there are four grounds and processes to denaturalize a citizen:
1. Illegal procurement, or concealment or willful misrepresentation (INA § 340(a)):
Naturalization may be revoked in civil proceedings for having “illegally procured” citizenship or by “concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.
2. Denaturalization for convictions for naturalization fraud (criminal revocation) (18 USC § 1425):
Naturalization may be revoked by conviction for procuring or attempting to procure the naturalization of anyone contrary to the law.
3. Wartime military service (INA § 329(c)): Naturalization through wartime military service under § 329(a) may be revoked if the citizen was subsequently discharged under other than honorable conditions within a specified five year period.
4. The proviso to § 340(a): A remnant of the Cold War, but still valid law, naturalization may be revoked for refusing under specified circumstances to testify before a congressional committee on alleged subversive activities.
What Happens To A Denaturalized Person’s Family?
If someone loses their citizenship through denaturalization, if that individual sponsored their spouse, children or other family members to United States residents or citizens, those family members are at risk to also lose their legal status.
Are You In Danger of Having Your Citizenship Revoked?
If you have questions or are concerned about losing your citizenship, it is important that you speak to an immigration attorney right away. A skilled immigration attorney can help you understand U.S. citizenship and immigration laws and how they apply to your particular situation. An experienced immigration and citizenship lawyer at the Godoy Law Office can assess your situation and advise you on your best options. Call today at 630-912-0322.
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