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Supreme Court Limits Government’s Ability to Revoke Citizenship Over Minor Inaccurate Statements

June 23, 2017

Washington, DC – On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Trump Administration’s position that citizenship should be revoked for naturalized Americans who make minor inaccurate statements during their naturalization proceedings. This judgment marks a victory against the administration’s hardline anti-immigrant agenda.

During Supreme Court arguments in April, a government lawyer stated that not reporting a speeding violation should be sufficient grounds to revoke a person’s citizenship. Several justices were alarmed by the government’s extreme stance.

The court ruled that the law requires stronger evidence demonstrating that the lie had a direct impact on the acquisition of citizenship.

Justice Elena Kagan stated, “When the illegal act is a false statement, that means demonstrating that the defendant lied about facts that would have mattered to an immigration official, because they would have justified denying naturalization or would predictably have led to other facts warranting that result.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy agreed that granting the government authority to revoke citizenship on minor offenses would result in ludicrous and unreasonable outcomes.

In response, LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. issued the following statement:

“We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court on its ruling to protect the rights of naturalized Americans and reject the government’s extreme position to strip citizenship due to minor clerical errors. Under the government’s stance, a person’s citizenship can be revoked for not reporting an old traffic ticket or even on more trivial grounds, such as lying about their weight. This interpretation of the law would put the vast majority of naturalized Americans at risk of losing their citizenship. The government does not and should not be granted the right to denaturalize any person they so choose. Their position on the case is yet another example of government’s continued attack on the immigrant community. We will not stand for it. Today marks a victory for the rights of all citizens.”

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

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