The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new office dedicated to rooting out applicants who are suspected of lying or cheating to obtain citizenship, and they've already referred 95 cases to the Justice Department.
The DOJ will strip immigrants of citizenship and possibly bring criminal charges after the new office identifies people who created fake identities or lied during the application process, The Associated Press reports. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Michael Bars told the Washington Examiner that dozens of lawyers and immigration officers will be tasked with "the civil denaturalization process" in a more coordinated effort. DHS has stripped immigrants of citizenship before, but on a rare basis and only as a small portion of agency duties.
Bars said that 95 cases have already been sent to the DOJ, where a judge will determine whether to denaturalize each immigrant after an in-person interview with immigration officers. More than 2,500 cases have been identified, reports the Examiner. Another official told AP that "a few thousand cases" would be handled to "start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place."
The office will be paid for by the agency's existing budget, which is funded by immigration application fees, but officials declined to say how much the new effort would cost in total. Only about 300 people have been denaturalized since 1990, said an immigration attorney who worried that immigrants who made innocent mistakes on paperwork could be targeted and wrongfully denaturalized and deported. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza