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Can a Naturalized Citizen Be Deported?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2022 | Citizenship Law

Typically, naturalized citizens are protected from deportation, but that protection doesn’t apply to every situation. As a naturalized citizen, it’s important to understand the scenarios where you can face deportation. Talking to an immigration lawyer about deportation laws and what it means to be a natural citizen can help ensure you’re protected.

However, in some cases, the United States may denaturalize a citizen to strip them of their citizenship. While rare, denaturalization can occur, and in this article, we’ll answer questions, such as “Can a naturalized citizen be deported?” and “How does the deportation process work?” To help you understand more about naturalized citizens being deported, we’ll cover the basics of being a naturalized citizen in the United States and when a natural citizen can be deported.

  • What Is a Naturalized Citizen?
  • Can a Natural Born Citizen Be Deported?
  • How Does the Deportation Process Work?
  • Questions About Your U.S. Citizenship? Speak to a Consumer Law Group Deportation Attorney

What Is a Naturalized Citizen?

A naturalized U.S. citizen is an individual who has been granted citizenship through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. In order to become a naturalized citizen, an individual must meet one of four criteria as well as the basic requirements for United States citizenship. While there are other requirements you must fulfill, an individual can become a naturalized citizen if they’re a lawful permanent resident of at least five years, are serving in the U.S. Military, are the child of a U.S. citizen, or are married to a U.S. citizen.

Essentially, naturalization is a process through which foreigners can obtain United States citizenship. As long as you meet the requirements for citizenship through naturalization, you may be eligible to become a citizen of the United States.

Can a Natural Born Citizen Be Deported?

So, can a naturalized citizen be deported? Typically, a naturalized U.S. citizen cannot be deported because they are a citizen of the United States. However, there are certain circumstances where a U.S. citizen may be deported depending on the nature or severity of their crimes, so naturalized citizens being deported isn’t impossible. The process of a naturalized citizen being stripped of their citizenship is known as denaturalization, and it can occur, even though it’s rare.

As a naturalized U.S. citizen, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what can get you deported. If you want to remain a U.S. citizen and avoid deportation, here’s what you need to know.

Illegal or Fraudulent Naturalization Process

One reason a naturalized U.S. citizen may be deported is if they partook in an illegal or fraudulent naturalization process. During the naturalization process, you’re required to tell the truth when you’re filling out an application to be naturalized, so you may be deported for falsifying your application.

Even if you’ve already been granted U.S. citizenship, you can still face denaturalization at a later date if the information on your application is found to be false. This could be the case if you use a false name or identity, or if you fail to disclose criminal activities during the application process. If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) finds that you falsified any part of your naturalization application, they may file a denaturalization action against you and attempt to deport you.

Refusal to Testify Before Congress

As a naturalized citizen, there are certain rules you must follow in order to become a citizen and retain your citizenship. One requirement you have to do as a naturalized citizen is to testify before Congress if you’re being investigated for any subversive acts, including attempts to overthrow the government or cause harm to a U.S. government official. If you refuse to testify as a naturalized citizen, you may face deportation.

It’s important to note that you’re only required to testify before Congress during your first 10 years as a naturalized U.S. citizen. Once you’ve been a citizen for longer than 10 years, you’re no longer required to testify before Congress and cannot face deportation as a result of your refusal to testify. An immigration law attorney can help you understand more about your requirement to testify before Congress.

Conviction of Criminal Acts

You can also be deported as a result of being convicted of certain criminal acts. The biggest things to avoid as a naturalized U.S. citizen are aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude.

Aggravated felonies are essentially a category of crimes that are labeled by Congress. These crimes carry particularly harsh penalties for immigrants, including deportation. That being said, aggravated felonies can vary widely, and there are more than 30 offenses that are considered aggravated felonies. Some examples of lesser-known aggravated felonies include filing a false tax return and failing to appear in court.

Crimes of moral turpitude are crimes that typically involve deceit, fraud, or harm to others. These crimes carry additional penalties, including the potential penalty of deportation for naturalized U.S. citizens. If you’re a naturalized citizen, it’s a good idea to talk with a deportation defense lawyer to learn more about crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.

Member of Subversive Groups

Can a naturalized citizen be deported just for joining a group? If the government finds that you’ve joined a subversive group within your first five years of being a naturalized U.S. citizen, you may face deportation. A subversive group is any group formed with the purpose of overthrowing, seizing, or controlling the United States government or any of its subdivisions. Examples of subversive groups include Al Qaeda and the Nazi Party.

Membership of subversive groups isn’t a major concern for most naturalized citizens, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning on becoming a citizen.

Dishonorable Military Discharge

Serving the U.S. Military is one of your options if you want to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. That being said, you may also face deportation if you are dishonorably discharged before you serve five years in the military. You may be dishonorably discharged as a result of desertion, sexual assault, or manslaughter.

If you’re a U.S. citizen because of your military service, you need to make sure you serve five years in the military without receiving a dishonorable discharge.

Voluntarily Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

In some cases, a naturalized U.S. citizen may wish to voluntarily renounce their U.S. citizenship, which is an option you have. If you want to renounce your U.S. citizenship, you’ll need to appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a foreign country, where you must sign an oath of renunciation.

If you don’t follow the above process to renounce your citizenship, your renunciation will have no legal effect. Consider talking to a lawyer if you want to renounce your U.S. citizenship.

How Does the Deportation Process Work?

When you’re facing deportation as a naturalized U.S. citizen, there’s a step-by-step process you’ll have to go through. So, how can a naturalized citizen be deported? Here’s a breakdown of how deportation works:

  • Arrest and Detainment: If local law enforcement arrests you for a crime that may warrant deportation, that arrest information is shared with ICE. ICE can make a separate arrest or obtain custody from the local law enforcement agency within 48 hours of the arrest.
  • Issue of a Notice to Appear: Once the actual deportation proceedings have begun, you’ll receive a Notice to Appear. You should receive this notice at least 10 days before your hearing, and this is the time to start looking at testimonials and hiring an immigration lawyer.
  • Master Calendar Hearing: The master calendar hearing is a brief hearing where the defendant (you) will have a chance to admit to or deny charges, and a judge will decide which defenses you may use against deportation.
  • Merits Hearing: The merits hearing is where you present your defense against deportation. These cases can last a couple of hours in simple cases, or they can take place over several days. After the merits hearing, the judge will announce the court’s decision.
  • Order of Removal: If your arguments are denied and you’re facing deportation, the court will issue an order of removal to have you deported.
  • Appeals: If you don’t comply with the Order of Removal, you can choose to appeal your case. This begins with the Board of Immigration Appeals, but your appeal may be elevated to the Circuit Court of Appeals or even the Supreme Court.
  • Deportation: When all appeals have been exhausted, ICE will begin the deportation process. Deportation can take a few weeks or a few months, depending on the country you’re being deported to.

If you’re facing deportation, the best thing you can do is hire an immigration attorney to help you understand all your legal options.

Questions About Your U.S. Citizenship? Speak to a Consumer Law Group Deportation Attorney

So, can citizenship be revoked? Even if you’re a naturalized U.S. citizen, you can have your citizenship revoked for certain reasons. As a naturalized citizen, it’s important to understand the law and have an immigration lawyer you can call if you ever run into trouble.

If you have questions about your U.S. citizenship and what can lead to deportation, Consumer Law Group can help. Our immigration lawyers can help defend you against deportation and appeal your Order of Removal. Call Consumer Law Group to get in touch with an immigration lawyer today.