Trump Comes for Documented Immigrants

As you may have noticed, I have spent the better part of a year warning that the Trump administration was signalling their intent to come after documented immigrants.

Naturally, I've been accused of alarmism, hyperbole, paranoia, and the usual chorus of insults, and once again I am left wishing that everyone who spent a second telling me to STFU had instead used that energy to resist this administration and its ugly nativist agenda.

Because here is where we are now: Tina Vasquez at Rewire reports on "Operation Janus," a joint operation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which may revoke the citizenship of thousands of people, many of whom have been naturalized U.S. citizens for decades.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that it canceled a person's naturalization certificate, revoking his citizenship and reverting him to a lawful permanent resident. The move potentially makes him subject to deportation.

Baljinder Singh, also known as Davinder Singh, is the first casualty of "Operation Janus," a joint operation by the DOJ and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It appears that because USCIS failed to use fingerprint records effectively, those who have been granted citizenship without proper fingerprint records, meaning before fingerprints were digitized, may now be subject to having their citizenship revoked.

...Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claims to have identified nearly 150,000 older fingerprint records "of aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives" that have not been digitized. The FBI repository is missing records because "not all records taken during immigration encounters were forwarded to the FBI," DHS reported. The DOJ is investigating 315,000 cases in which people were granted citizenship without the proper fingerprint data available, and USCIS intends "to refer approximately an additional 1,600 for prosecution," the DOJ reported.

The DOJ is asserting, according to its Tuesday statement, that cases in which proper fingerprint data is missing may suggest that those affected by USCIS' oversight "sought to circumvent criminal record and other background checks in the naturalization process."

...DHS has warned that "as long as the older fingerprint records have not been digitized and included in the repositories, USCIS risks making naturalization decisions without complete information and, as a result, naturalizing additional individuals who may be ineligible for citizenship or who may be trying to obtain U.S. citizenship fraudulently."

Operation Janus does not bode well for the thousands of immigrants who have had to navigate the U.S.' complicated, lengthy, and costly immigration system.
I have a number of serious concerns about this, not least of which is that it seems to be setting a precedent in which mistakes made by the INS/DHS, resulting in noncompliance or inconsistencies, can subsequently be used to justify revoking people's citizenship.

And mistakes are, frankly, very common. Trust that a multitude of citizens have paperwork under multiple names, and not because they filed the paperwork that way.

Humans process immigration paperwork. At a high volume. Humans who make mistakes.

If human error is going to be ignored in order to suggest that any discrepancies are evidence of "individuals who may have tried to obtain U.S. citizenship fraudulently," a whole lot of people are going to be fucked.

Which, of course, is not a bug, but a feature.

[H/T to Eastsidekate.]

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