Can You Lose Your U.S. Citizenship Through Denaturalization?

On January 5, 2018,  United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted the U.S. government request to denaturalize Defendant Baljinder Singh a/k/a Davinder Singh. [Civil Action No. 17-7214 (SRC)]. Defendant had an in absentia deportation order from the United States under a different name than the one he used to secure his green card. He also failed to disclose his immigration records and alias on his N-400 naturalization application.

Recently, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identified a large amount of missing fingerprints in its centralized database, and some had undisclosed criminal records. DHS will continue to seek denaturalization of U.S. citizens who obtain citizenship unlawfully. The agency has stated its intention to refer approximately an additional 1,600 cases for prosecution. Natural-born U.S. citizens may not have their citizenship revoked against their will. However, it is different for naturalized citizens. It is rare for a naturalized U.S. citizen to have his or her citizenship revoked, but it does happen.

U.S. citizenship carries its value and importance and taking it away is never treated lightly. So how can the government take away your U.S. citizenship? In a denaturalization proceeding, the U.S. Government has a heavy burden of proof . The law provides for the denaturalization of U.S. citizens whose citizenship orders and certificates of naturalization were “illegally procured or were procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.” The U.S. government must present “clear, unequivocal, and convincing” evidence justifying revocation of citizenship. The Supreme Court has enumerated four independent requirements for denaturalized:

  • The naturalized citizen must have misrepresented or concealed some fact;
  • The misrepresentation or concealment must have been willful;
  • The fact must have been material, and
  • The naturalized citizen must have procured citizenship as a result of the misrepresentation or concealment.

In short, citizenship could be taken away if the government can prove by clear and convincing evidence that Defendant procured citizenship through illegal means and willful misrepresentation.