January 14, 2021
Issues: Muslim Ban, Stopping Discrimination
Civil Rights Groups Ask Biden to Stop the Stripping of Americans of Their Citizenship
Last Resort Tool Against Nazis Now Regularly Used to Strip Black and Brown Immigrants of Citizenship
Washington, DC — Today, Muslim Advocates and a coalition of nearly 50 civil rights organizations sent a letter demanding that the Biden-Harris administration dismantle the government’s denaturalization regime weaponized by the Trump administration to strip naturalized Americans of their citizenship. Muslim Advocates and a coalition of civil rights groups are also launching a petition asking Americans to demand that the denaturalization process be dismantled.
For much of the past half century, denaturalization was used as a last resort measure to target Nazis and other war criminals. However, the Trump administration turbocharged this process, nearly doubling the number of denaturalizations filed by the government and establishing specific denaturalization offices in the Justice and Homeland Security Departments—all with the goal of punishing immigrants for innocent mistakes and allegations and kicking them out of the country. In the letter, sent on Thursday to incoming Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, the groups demanded that the Biden-Harris administration:
- Enact a day one moratorium on all denaturalizations until safeguards for the process are put in place
- Dismantle the Trump administration’s denaturalization offices and programs as well as disclose data related to individual denaturalization cases since 2008
- Remake this process into one that reinstates citizenship and saves denaturalization as a measure of last resort
- Limit the use of technologies designed to surveil immigrants and communities of color
“The Trump administration has drastically expanded the scope of activities that the government is willing to allege as grounds for denaturalization to include innocent mistakes, allegations of minor unlawful acts, or even mistakes made by the government,” stated the letter. “The current denaturalization regime reflects the racialized and criminalized narratives about who belongs in America and reinforces a kind of second-class citizenship for Americans who were not born in the U.S.”
If you would like to speak to the Muslim Advocates attorney who authored the letter, please contact [email protected].
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.