The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is beefing up resources to be used to probe cases of naturalization suspected to have been obtained through fraud, including submitting incorrect information on applications or being convicted of certain crimes.
Those found guilty could have their U.S. citizenship revoked and some may be subject to possible deportation.
The Trump administration reportedly asked, in a fiscal year 2019 budget, for more than $207 million to investigate more than 880 cases of suspected fraud in obtaining U.S. citizenship and may be subject to denaturalization. Another 700,000 cases are said to be up for review.
The government is opening at least one additional office and, according to Francis Cissna, USCIS director, hiring numerous experts in law and immigration matters. The aim is to review hundreds of cases where there is suspicion of cheating on applications for permanent residence and citizenship.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in 2016 reported that more than 850 persons, who had been ordered deported while using a another identity, were granted citizenship by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The report noted that at the time of their naturalization process, digital fingerprint records for the applicants were unavailable to the USCIS. Those cases will be reviewed because some of those applicants may have been ineligible for U.S. citizenship.
The OIG also reported that records of fingerprints of hundreds of thousands of citizenship applicants could not be located.
According to a report by the New York Times the U.S. government has revoked an average of 46 naturalizations between 2004 and 2016. Prosecutors have filed double that number of cases in the last two years.
There are several reasons under U.S. law to revoke citizenship. Among them are if a citizenship was obtained illegally, including submitting incorrect information during application for permanent residence or citizenship. If a citizenship applicant is later found to be a member of a communist organization, that could be grounds for revocation. A person who has been found to commit certain crimes, but did not disclose that during the citizenship application process, may also be denaturalized.