Monday, October 18, 2021

DHS Drafts Plan to Allow Fraudsters to Keep Citizenship: Memo Would Constrain Ability to Pursue Denaturalization Cases

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File
The Homeland Security Department is circulating a draft proposal that would severely curtail its attempts to strip citizenship from people who were naturalized based on fraud.
The Washington Times saw a draft of the memo, from Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the heads of the three immigration agencies. The memo says people might not apply for citizenship because they worry about losing it in the future.
“Naturalized citizens deserve finality and security in their rights as citizens,” the memo says. “Department policies should not cause a chilling effect or barriers for lawful permanent residents seeking to naturalize.”
Denaturalization is a part of federal law. It requires a court order and can be filed either as the result of a criminal case or a civil lawsuit.
The memo says the department should limit its denaturalization cases to instances of national security threats, major felons such as sex crime convicts or human rights violators, or cases of fraud “with aggravating factors.”
Cases the department is currently pursuing could be canceled under the draft memo.
The memo seems aimed at unwinding a Trump-era push to discover and cancel citizenship for people who were wrongly approved, in some cases because of agency errors but in many cases because they had criminal records or obtained citizenship by fraudulent means.
Robert Law, a policy chief at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Trump administration, said the memo’s language is so restrictive that “no one will be pursuing civil denaturalization cases.”
“By this policy, Mayorkas is saying that citizenship really is meaningless and that immigration fraud is rewarded,” said Mr. Law, now the director of regulatory affairs and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Homeland Security didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.
The undated memo is marked “DRAFT” and “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” Mr. Law said it has been circulated and is awaiting a decision from Mr. Mayorkas.
It is directed at USCIS, Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which combine to form the backbone of the country’s immigration service.
Read the rest of the story HERE

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