“De-naturalization” is a term popping up more in the news in regard to the rhetoric and policies surrounding immigration. This term refers to the process of stripping someone of U.S. citizenship. The reason this word is becoming more common is the Trump administration is ramping up efforts to de-naturalize foreign-born citizens.

This brings up a lot of questions for naturalized citizens and causes fear among the immigrant population as a whole. Here are a few important things to know about de-naturalization.

Legal grounds for revoking citizenship

 Just because someone becomes a citizen does not necessarily mean the rights and protections of citizenship come with the guarantee to last forever. The government has the authority to take this status away under three main circumstances:

  1. When citizenship is obtained illegally
  2. When the citizen is guilty of concealing or lying about something relevant to the case during the citizenship process
  3. When there is fraud in naturalization

The Department of Justice can file lawsuits against naturalized citizens for these legal grounds.

What happens after de-naturalization

 If the Department of Justice is successful in a de-naturalization lawsuit, the immigrant changes status from being a citizen to a permanent resident, often called a green card holder. Green card holders may face deportation if they violate the terms of their residence. Therefore, de-naturalization does not automatically result in deportation, but it can pave the way for it.

There is now a de-naturalization task force

The main reason it is crucial to know about these things is the fact that the Trump administration is creating a task force dedicated to revoking citizenship. This task force has origins from the Bush era, but the Trump administration is accelerating these efforts. The USCIS is hiring more attorneys to investigate naturalized citizens and make referrals to the Justice Department.

It is important to remember that everyone facing de-naturalization deserves legal protection and representation. Plus, no one can become denaturalized without a decision from a jury or judge.