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Can a naturalized citizen be deported?

Naturalized citizenship is a remarkable achievement granting individuals the same rights and privileges as those who are born citizens of a country. It is a process through which foreign nationals become citizens of a different country by fulfilling specific requirements and going through legal procedures. Once naturalized, these individuals are generally considered permanent residents, entitled to live and work in the adopted country indefinitely.

However, despite the security that comes with naturalization, there is an underlying question that often arises: can a naturalized citizen be deported?

If an alien goes through the process of obtaining lawful permanent resident status and then becomes a US citizen through the naturalization process, the new citizen is protected from deportation.  The only way such a new citizen could be deported is if the government first denaturalized the citizen.

Key Takeaways:

  • Deportation generally applies only to naturalized citizens who violate specific immigration laws.
  • Even for a naturalized United States citizen, deportation requires due process and specific legal grounds like immigration fraud.
  • If facing deportation proceedings, individuals have significant legal rights and access to representation.

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Understanding the Legal Process of Denaturalization

Denaturalization is very rare and the government has to meet a very high burden in order to obtain denaturalization.  Almost always, an attempt by the government to denaturalize someone is based upon the government's claim that a new fact has been discovered, which, if known at the time of naturalization, would have prevented the alien from ever being naturalized.  This means that the naturalized citizens used a false identity or perpetrated some other kind of fraud on the immigration service.

An attempt to denaturalize someone usually involves litigation brought by the US government in federal court.  The Department of Homeland Security takes the position that they can denaturalize someone in an administrative proceeding, but at least one court has held that the regulations that purport to allow DHS to denaturalize someone lack statutory authorization and are, therefore, void. 

Once denaturalization proceedings are initiated, the case is brought before an immigration court. The burden of proof lies with the government, which must provide clear and convincing evidence that the individual obtained their United States citizenship through fraud or misrepresentation. The individual facing denaturalization has the right to present evidence and mount a defense against the allegations.

If the court finds in favor of the government, the individual's U.S. citizenship is revoked, and they are stripped of their rights as a naturalized citizen. This can have severe consequences, as it opens the door for potential deportation and separation from their families and communities.

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The Role of Immigration Lawyers in Denaturalization Cases

A naturalized U.S. citizen can have their citizenship revoked for several reasons. Given the serious consequences of denaturalization and potential deportation, individuals facing these challenges often turn to immigration lawyers for assistance.

Our immigration lawyers can help individuals gather evidence to refute the government's allegations of fraud or willful misrepresentation. They can also argue that the government's evidence is insufficient or that the alleged fraud is not material to the decision to change immigration status from being a lawful permanent resident to a naturalized US citizen. 

Additionally, a St. Louis immigration attorney can explore other avenues to protect their clients from deportation

If you have questions about denaturalization or if someone is claiming that you or a loved one committed fraud in the immigration context or anything related to immigration law and citizenship and immigration services, you should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.  Please call us at (314) 961-8200 or visit our contact page.

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