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Can the Government Take Away Your Citizenship?

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Am I going to lose my citizenship? Hi. I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States, at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today, we were talking about the process of de-naturalization. This is where the federal government is trying to take away someone's citizenship.

Now, in the vast, vast majority of these cases, these are people who are not born in the United States. They were naturalized U.S. citizen. These are people who went through the process of getting a Green Card and then obtaining citizenship through the naturalization process.

They did that by filing an N-400 application for naturalization, having an interview, and then receiving their citizenship either at an administrative ceremony at the local USCIS office or in federal court where a federal judge is ordering you naturalized.

Now, in this video, we're talking about de-naturalization. That's where the federal government wants to take away your citizenship. What we're talking about are actual actions filed by the Department of Justice, the Office of Immigration Litigation and USCIS against an individual where they say, "We're coming after your citizenship."

The main reason that they do this is because they believe that someone lied during the naturalization process or during the immigration process. The current administration has hired many more agents and devoted many more resources to going back and trying to undo grants of naturalization.

They actually have a department that is going back and looking at people who received their citizenship for reasons that USCIS now says they should not have. That there was something in their past they did not disclose.

Now typically, this is criminal activity. There's a question on the N-400 that asks, "Have you ever committed a crime or offense for what you've not been arrested?" That question, if you answered no during your interview, and they can prove that you were engaged in criminal activity at the time that you naturalized, or even before you naturalized, that they didn't know about at your interview, then the failure to disclose that crime could lead to them trying to de-naturalize you.

Now, they have to bring a action in federal court and they have to convince the judge by clear and convincing evidence that, if you had not made the misrepresentations that you made about your criminal behavior or about whatever misrepresentation they're claiming, that you would have not been granted your citizenship.

It's a high burden for them, but they are doing this more and more. We're seeing more actions in federal court to take away people's citizenship. Criminal activity is one area. Another is certainly lying or not being truthful. Another one is where people's immigration lawyers get in criminal trouble and they figure out that many of the people who use this attorney either to get asylum or to get a Green Card or to get citizenship or all of the above, they are going back and looking at all those people who received citizenship that way.

So de-naturalization is a real thing. It used to be very rare, but we're seeing it more and more. So if you have questions about this, if you or someone you love is under attack by the Department of Justice that they want to try to take away their citizenship, you should give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]

Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social, and then you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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