New Federal Office Established to Strip Citizenship

[Content Note: Nativism.]

Donald Trump did not invent terrible immigration policy. U.S. immigration policy has been broken for a very long time. But he has empowered and institutionalized a nativist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant agenda that I have long been warning will underwrite a targeting of U.S. citizens.

In January, the administration did the previously unthinkable: Revoked a naturalized citizen's citizenship, reverting him to a lawful permanent resident and potentially making him subject to deportation. Last month, a border patrol agent detained two women who are citizens and demanded to see ID because they were speaking Spanish in public. Recently, the president suggested that that people who protest state violence (police killings) should be removed from the country.

Today, Amy Taxin at the AP reports that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services "is launching an office that will focus on identifying Americans who are suspected of cheating to get their citizenship and seek to strip them of it."
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna told The Associated Press in an interview that his agency is hiring several dozen lawyers and immigration officers to review cases of immigrants who were ordered deported and are suspected of using fake identities to later get green cards and citizenship through naturalization.

Cissna said the cases would be referred to the Department of Justice, whose attorneys could then seek to remove the immigrants' citizenship in civil court proceedings. In some cases, government attorneys could bring criminal charges related to fraud.

Until now, the agency has pursued cases as they arose but not through a coordinated effort, Cissna said.
It's important to understand that many immigrants — especially those with naming traditions that don't strictly match U.S. immigration forms — could easily be accused of "fraud" because of cultural nuances that get lost in the complexity and rigidity of the immigration process.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that the Trump administration will approach "immigration fraud" in good faith, and every reason to believe that it will approach "immigration fraud" with the same aggressive mendacity that it approached "voter fraud."

And lest we imagine that those are two separate issues, remember that only U.S. citizens can vote in U.S. elections. If someone has their citizenship revoked, they also lose their right to vote.

The entire reason for establishing this office is abuse of documented immigrants. Let us not pretend that it could ever exist for any other reason.

And the scope of that abuse will expand exponentially, as long as this office is allowed to operate.

I am very fucking worried about this. And you should be, too.


* * *

[CN: Domestic violence; gang violence] In related news, care of Katie Benner and Caitlin Dickerson at the New York Times: Sessions Says Domestic and Gang Violence Are Not Grounds for Asylum. I mentioned yesterday that Sessions had complained asylum-seekers were "abusing the system." To prevent that "abuse," he's decided to deny asylum to women and children fleeing domestic violence and/or gang violence, to which he referred as "private violence."
His ruling drew immediate condemnation from immigrants' rights groups. Some viewed it as a return to a time when domestic violence was considered a private matter, not the responsibility of the government to intervene, said Karen Musalo, a defense lawyer on the case who directs the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

"What this decision does is yank us all back to the Dark Ages of human rights and women's human rights and the conceptualization of it," she said.
Precisely so.

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