The Trump administration announced they would start investigating naturalized citizens to search for potential fraudulent applications. Many law abiding American citizens will be investigated and possibly stripped of their naturalized status for allegedly lying on their applications.

Approximately 10 years ago the Federal Government began to look into potentially fraudulent naturalization cases. This was after they found almost 200 people who used false identities to get permanent residency status and later naturalization. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna said his agency is in the process of hiring several dozen lawyers and immigration officers to review cases of suspected fraud. According to him, “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.” 

Those who are investigated will be required to sit for an in-person interview with immigration officers. If it is determined the individual being investigated had intentionally committed fraud, the case will be referred to the Justice Department (DOJ). The final decision on whether someone will be stripped of their naturalized citizenship status will be left for a federal judge to determine. According to the Examiner, 95 of the more than 2,500 cases have been sent to the Justice Department so far. 

Now even naturalized citizens of the US have to worry about their legal status, including those having completed the rigorous, stressful, and expensive process of obtaining citizenship. It leaves one to wonder if this is truly just seeking fraudulent cases or if it is being used to frighten those who have been vetted and gained naturalization status. The former chief counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Ur Jaddou, seems to think it is the latter. He said he found the issue “troubling” and suspected it was to scare naturalized citizens who obtained their status legitimately.

The goal of the Trump administration is not to produce a more just immigration system, but to scare people into not following the American Dream. Such a policy has a potential chilling effect on people even considering applying for naturalization.

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