The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), under the Trump administration, has launched a new section designed to handle the process of removing citizenship granted to foreign-born individuals who concealed their terrorist or criminal ties in order to fraudulently obtain their citizenship.
Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said when immigrants obtain citizenship under false pretenses, “it is an affront to our system—and it is especially offensive to those who fall victim to these criminals.”
Denaturalization cases require the DOJ to demonstrate that a defendant illegally procured their citizenship or “procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.”
In its press release, the DOJ noted several denaturalization cases it has already won. Cases have included those who concealed convictions for fraud and sex crimes, as well as war criminals, human rights violators and terrorists. The denaturalization process is designed for those who concealed criminal activity they committed prior to obtaining citizenship.
In February, federal immigration officials arrested Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri, the suspected leader of an Al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq wanted in connection with the 2006 murders of two Iraqi police officers. Al-Nouri may have been living in Arizona since 2008 and currently faces extradition to Iraq where he would then be tried.
In August, ICE arrested 39 known and suspected criminals, including several wanted on war crimes charges that include recruiting child soldiers, as well as killing and maiming civilians. According to an ICE statement at the time, more than 415 individuals have been arrested in connection to human rights abuses, since 2003.