The Administration’s Systematic Denaturalization Efforts are Extreme and Deeply Troubling
Washington DC – Today, Muslim Advocates filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for its failure to provide meaningful transparency about its systematic efforts to pursue stripping naturalized Americans of their citizenship. The lawsuit comes after several federal agencies refused or ignored a January 11, 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for materials related to denaturalization efforts, including Operation Janus, led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “Operation Janus” refers to a program by which federal agencies reviews files of naturalized citizens to ferret out missing information in naturalization applications that could render American citizens eligible for denaturalization.
Muslim Advocates filed its FOIA request on January 11, 2018. DOJ wrongfully denied the request, while ICE outright refused to process it. ICE likewise refused to respond to a second, revised request sent by Muslim Advocates. To date, in clear violation of FOIA, neither agency has released a single document pertaining to Operation Janus or their broader denaturalization efforts.
“Pursuing a program to strip naturalized Americans of their citizenship is an abnormal tactic the Trump administration is using to create two tiers of citizenship between natural-born and naturalized citizens and to render immigrants second-class Americans,” said Nimra Azmi, staff attorney at Muslim Advocates. “It is imperative that the American people, including our naturalized citizens, have as much information as possible about the Administration’s systematic denaturalization efforts.”
The requested records would provide much-needed transparency with respect to the means, ends, and enforcement patterns of the government’s ongoing denaturalization efforts. Muslim Advocates calls on DOJ and ICE to release all responsive records they have unlawfully withheld.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.