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Immigration Law

DOJ Creates Denaturalization Section

DOJ, Feb. 26, 2020

"The Department of Justice today announced the creation of a section dedicated to investigating and litigating revocation of naturalization.  The Denaturalization Section will join the existing sections within the Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation—the District Court Section and the Appellate Section.  This move underscores the Department’s commitment to bring justice to terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders, and other fraudsters who illegally obtained naturalization. 

While the Office of Immigration Litigation already has achieved great success in the denaturalization cases it has brought, winning 95 percent of the time, the growing number of referrals anticipated from law enforcement agencies motivated the creation of a standalone section dedicated to this important work.

“When a terrorist or sex offender becomes a U.S. citizen under false pretenses, it is an affront to our system—and it is especially offensive to those who fall victim to these criminals,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt.  “The Denaturalization Section will further the Department’s efforts to pursue those who unlawfully obtained citizenship status and ensure that they are held accountable for their fraudulent conduct.”

Denaturalization cases require the government to show that a defendant’s naturalization was “illegally procured” or “procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation . . . .”  8 U.S.C. § 1451.  Civil denaturalization cases have no statute of limitations, and the Department has successfully denaturalized numerous categories of individuals who have illegally obtained citizenship, including terrorists and other national security threats, war criminals, human rights violators, sex offenders, and other fraudsters."