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It’s hard to be an immigrant in the United States of America, even impossible at times. To live here peacefully and safely, you must obtain naturalization, which can take years. Some immigrants don’t even qualify for an application in order to become a naturalized citizen, which can lead them to pursue illegal procurement of naturalization. If an immigrant obtains illegal citizenship, they may ultimately face criminal denaturalization.
 
If you or someone you love is facing criminal denaturalization, you need experienced immigration attorneys from Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group on your side. We will ensure that your case goes as smoothly as possible in court. Additionally, we’ll work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Call us today at 602-910-4040 to get started.
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What is Denaturalization?

Denaturalization is basically the termination of an immigrant’s U.S. citizenship. Denaturalization cases generally happen because of some kind of civil proceeding or criminal naturalization fraud. A defendant can either renounce their own citizenship or contest the denaturalization proceedings. If a person has their American citizenship revoked, they will basically revert to their original nationality that they had before becoming a U.S citizen. Additionally, this person may face deportation shortly after undergoing their denaturalization proceeding. 

What’s the Difference Between Revocation and Cancellation of Certificate of Naturalization?

There is a difference between having your citizenship revoked and canceling your certificate of naturalization. If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cancelled your certificate, that doesn’t mean the USCIS cancelled your citizenship. But if the USCIS revokes your citizenship, it will also cancel your certificate of naturalization. Your certificate must’ve been illegally obtained or created in order for the USCIS to cancel it. For example, maybe an immigrant received a certificate without actually going through the naturalization process.

What is 18 U.S.C 1425?

Basically, illegal procurement of naturalization violates 18 U.S.C 1425, a law which states:

“Whoever knowingly procures or attempts to procure, contrary to law, the naturalization of any person, or documentary or other evidence of naturalization or of citizenship.”

18 U.S.C 1425 also states that if an immigrant illegally obtained U.S. citizenship, they will face denaturalization proceedings and:
  • 25 years in prison or a fine if they committed naturalization fraud for the sake of terrorism.
  • 20 years in prison or a fine if they committed naturalization fraud for the sake of drug trafficking.
  • 10 years in prison or a fine if naturalization fraud was their first or second offense.
  • 15 years in prison or a fine if naturalization fraud happened for any other reason.

Willful Misrepresentation

Basically, if an immigrant willfully misrepresents a material fact for the procurement of any U.S. immigration benefits, then the USCIS will deem them inadmissible. In order for an immigration officer to deem someone as inadmissible, they must have done all of these things:
  • The person obtained (or tried to obtain) a U.S. immigration benefit.
  • The USCIS caught the person making false statements.
  • A person committed false representation of a material fact out of their own free will.
  • The person issued a fraudulent statement to a member of the U.S. government.

What are the Grounds for Denaturalization?

As stated previously, there are many grounds for denaturalization for immigrants. The most common reasons why the USCIS would revoke U.S. citizenship are due to:
  • Including false statements on a naturalization application.
  • Being members of a terrorist group.
  • Refusing to comply with court orders.
  • Being dishonorably discharged from the military.

False Statements on Naturalization Application

A person who includes false statements or fails to include important information on their citizenship application is basically committing a federal crime. Immigration officials at the USCIS will begin the denaturalization process once they notice false statements on an application. Examples of a false statement on someone’s application can be about past criminal history or their full legal name.

Being Members of Terrorist Group

During the U.S. citizenship process, all immigrants must take this oath:

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America Tweet

Why is Being a Part of a Terrorist Group a Violation of This Oath?

As you can see, part of this oath is supporting and defending the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This means that a naturalized citizen can’t presently be part of a terrorist group. Additionally, a naturalized citizen can’t have been part of a terrorist group in the last five years before becoming a U.S citizen. Including a false statement in an application about their involvement in a terrorist group is a federal offense that warrants denaturalization.

Refusing to Comply With Court Orders

If the government has reason to believe that a person is or was involved with a terrorist group, then that person must testify in court if the USCIS granted them citizenship less than 10 years ago. If the person refuses to testify in court, then they could face denaturalization.

Being Dishonorably Discharged From the Military

One way that someone could become an American citizen is by serving in the military. If an immigrant wants to take this route, they could become a U.S citizen in about five years. But if they happened to be dishonorably discharged before hitting this five-year mark because of some illegal act, then the USCIS could begin the denaturalization process.
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Defenses Against Denaturalization

If you’re facing denaturalization and possible deportation, you need an experienced immigration attorney on your side because they can come up with several defenses. The best and most effective defenses depend on the reasons why the USCIS insists that denaturalization is necessary as well as the current stage of denaturalization someone is enduring. These are the defenses that Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group could consider for your case:
  • You didn’t lie on your application. The allegations about you making false statements are completely incorrect.
  • The claim that you are or may have been a part of a terrorist group is false. Maybe the USCIS accused you of this because you have the same or similar name as someone who is in a terrorist group. Or maybe one of your family members is a part of a terrorist group.
  • If the military dishonorably discharged you for some illegal act that you didn’t commit, then we can uncover all the facts and prove your innocence.
  • There is simply not enough evidence to warrant denaturalization. Therefore, you deserve to keep your American citizenship.
  • The USCIS’s proof that supports denaturalization is completely false or based on a mistaken identity.

How Many Denaturalization Cases Have There Been in the U.S.?

According to the National Immigration Forum, the DOJ filed approximately 305 denaturalization cases between 1990 and 2017. Since 2017, the USCIS has been examining approximately 2,500 cases for possible denaturalization. Revoking U.S. citizenship has been historically reserved for those convicted of the most terrible crimes. For example, the U.S. used to reserve this termination of naturalization for war criminals. Since 1979, the federal government denaturalized 107 people because they were war criminals during World War II.

Call Immigration Attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group

If the federal government is threatening to strip you of your hard-earned citizenship, you deserve justice. An attorney at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group will examine all the proof in your case and fight for you to maintain your American nationality, especially if you’ve been wrongfully convicted. Call 602-910-4040 and tell us your story today.

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