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The director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Lee Francis Cissna. Photo: AP / Alex Brandon.
The director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Lee Francis Cissna. Photo: AP / Alex Brandon.

U.S. government launches effort to 'denaturalize' immigrants

The U.S. government has created a new office that will thoroughly investigate immigration applications to identify people who may be lying to obtain…

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Institutionalizing persecution is not an easy task. That’s why the government agency of immigration and citizenship, known as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has decided to hire "several dozen lawyers and immigration officials to review cases of immigrants who were ordered deported and who are suspected of using false identities to later obtain residency and citizenship through naturalization," according to NBC News.

As explained by Lee Francis Cissna, the director of the agency, cases will be referred to the Department of Justice who will be responsible for removing citizenship and, in cases where it deems appropriate, prosecute individuals on charges of fraud.

"We finally have a process in place to get to the bottom of all these bad cases and start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place," Cissna said. "What we’re looking at, when you boil it all down, is potentially a few thousand cases.”

This process of "denaturalization" is quite rare, according to the Associated Press, and the main objective in this situation could be reducing the number of immigrants who have access to voting, serving on juries or possessing security clearances.

"For many years, most U.S. efforts to strip immigrants of their citizenship focused largely on suspected war criminals who lied on their immigration paperwork,” the report continues. "Most notably former Nazis.”

On this occasion, the efforts of the Trump administration are part of a whole structure to prosecute and deport immigrants, mostly from Latin America.

Although the Justice Department has only introduced 305 cases of civil denaturation since 1990, new government measures could significantly accelerate this number, especially with the opening of this new office.

One should only remember the words of President Donald Trump days after winning the presidency in 2016 when he said, "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” a statement he wrote on Twitter on November 26.

Since the new government came into effect, the USCIS has changed its mission statement to align itself with the new prevailing ideology.

Previously, the agency's website described itself as an entity that "secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants.” Currently, its website makes things more clear: "the office administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise, by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits."

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