President Donald Trump has used the powerful Justice Department for two things: to settle political feuds for his own personal gain, and to impose draconian anti-immigration policies.
The latter of the two reared its ugly and xenophobic head after the U.S. Department of Justice recently revealed a task force devoted to “denaturalization”—the process by which the government strips citizenship from foreign-born Americans or naturalized citizens.
The Justice Department is officially justifying the existence of the task force as a means of stripping citizenship from terrorists or sex offenders whose citizenship was “illegally procured” by lying about past crimes:
“When a terrorist or sex offender becomes a U.S. citizen under false pretenses, it is an affront to our system — and it is especially offensive to those who fall victim to these criminals,” Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement.
Hunt added that the unit, officially called the Denaturalization Section, “will further the Department’s efforts to pursue those who unlawfully obtained citizenship status and ensure that they are held accountable for their fraudulent conduct.”
Democratic Rep. Chuyu Garcia (D-IL) is dubious of their motivations and expressed concern over the new policy, tweeting that it evoked historical U.S. mistreatments of ethnic minorities and calling it “a nightmare.”
Exclusion laws prevented Chinese immigrants from naturalizing until 1943.
SCOTUS’s U.S. v. Thind decision prevented Indian immigrants from becoming citizens until 1946.
Today in 2020, Trump’s DOJ launched an entire section dedicated to #denaturalization.
This is a nightmare. https://t.co/5QM3nC5SPo
— Congressman Chuy García (@RepChuyGarcia) February 26, 2020
But it’s not just Congressman Garcia who’s taking notice.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), for instance, issued a statement that outright rejected the formation of the new department as an example of another attempt by President Donald Trump to attack immigrant families and communities.
“We reject any denaturalization task force that destroys citizenship as we know it and keeps every naturalized immigrant living in fear,” said CHIRLA. “Trump is weaponizing the DOJ to make naturalized immigrants look like second-class citizens.”
Even members of Trump’s own Justice Department are expressing dismay over the task force.
Via The NY Times:
Some Justice Department immigration lawyers have expressed worries that denaturalizations could be broadly used to strip citizenship, according to two lawyers who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
They cite the fact that the department can pursue denaturalization lawsuits against people who commit fraud, as it did against four people who lied about being related to become U.S. citizens. Fraud can be broadly
Given this administrations’ sickeningly inhumane immigration policies of child separation and caging children, there’s no doubt that this task force is looking for any cover to continue said policies.
Featured image credit: Molly Adams/Flickr