Trump's War on Immigrants Doesn't Stop At Citizenship

How Trump Could Muzzle Naturalized Citizens

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

[This post was coauthored with John Langford, Counsel at Protect Democracy.]

President Trump's campaign to restrict access to citizenship continues to make headline news. On August 28, USCIS announced that the children of some U.S. military personnel and other government employees stationed overseas will no longer automatically become citizens. Three weeks ago, the President indicated that he's seriously considering an attempt to end all birthright citizenship. Last month, the Trump Administration announced a new rule that could cut legal immigration in half by denying visas and permanent residency to people for being too poor

But Trump's war on immigrants doesn't stop at citizenship. In a new law review article, one of us and Professor Cassandra Burke Robertson of Case Western Reserve University's School of Law explain how the Trump Administration is weaponizing the government's power to  strip naturalized citizens of their citizenship through civil denaturalization proceedings. Since the late '60s, that power has been used exceedingly rarely, reserved primarily for denaturalizing Nazi officials and war criminals. Until recently, that is. 

This Administration obtained its first-ever successful civil denaturalization in 2018. Since then, USCIS has begun to form a new office in California to pursue civil denaturalizations in an effort called "Operation Second Look." Earlier this year, the Trump Administration asked for $207.6 million to review 887 new leads. By some accounts, that brings the total number of files USCIS and ICE are currently reviewing for possible denaturalization proceedings to over one million

Trump's weaponization of the government's civil denaturalization powers is bad enough in its own right. But taken together with Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and propensity to retaliate against critics, his effort to ramp up civil denaturalizations poses a far more immediate threat: silencing immigrant dissenters. 

As president, "Trump has used the words 'predator,' 'invasion,' 'alien,' 'killer,' 'criminal' and 'animal' at his rallies while discussing immigration more than 500 times." Trump's re-election campaign is already inundating voters with warnings of an immigrant "invasion." A month ago, Trump suggested that four Representatives of color, including one who is a naturalized citizen, "go back" to their countries, invoking a "taunt that has long, deeply entrenched roots in American history." Trump's rhetoric mirrors the language that fueled the deadly anti-Irish riots of the 1830s and the post-World War I resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. It is just as potent today

Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric cannot be dismissed as empty words, given his propensity to use the powers of government to suppress criticism. Trump's willingness to punish critics among the institutional press, for example, is well documented. He has revoked press passes and security clearances; directed or asked others to direct the Department of Justice, the Postmaster General, and the Department of Defense to punish the owners of CNN and The Washington Post; and threatened to revoke NBC's broadcasting license, all in response to coverage Trump didn't like. 

Taken together, Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, propensity to retaliate against critics, and efforts to denaturalize citizens—each harmful and/or illegal in its own right—will silence dissent among naturalized citizens. In the context of an administration that is actively seeking to denaturalize citizens, Trump's nativist tweets are threats. His rhetoric will chill dissent among immigrants unless and until Congress, courts, and others take this threat seriously and respond accordingly.

Congress should act to defang Trump's threats by stripping or limiting the government's ability to pursue civil denaturalizations. Those denaturalizations lack the procedural safeguards necessary to prevent abuse and violate naturalized individuals' right to be free from the arbitrary deprivation of their citizenship. There is no good reason for Congress to arm any President with the power to strip critics of their citizenship, and removing that power would go a long way towards hollowing Trump's threats. 

Further, courts must check Trump's threats and retaliatory acts by making clear that using government power to censor critics violates the First Amendment. To do so, courts will need to recognize that victims of Trump's censorship efforts are not likely to risk filing their own lawsuits and must allow those who can sue to challenge Trump's First Amendment violations. 

Last fall, for example, one of us helped file a First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of PEN America, challenging Trump's threats and retaliatory acts towards critics among the press. The government has moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that each individual victim of Trump's threats and retaliatory acts must bring their own lawsuit. If courts are to act as a meaningful check on the President's repeated violations of the First Amendment, they must recognize, as the Supreme Court did long ago, that a victim of First Amendment violations may fall silent rather than risk challenging the government, and courts must allow organizations like PEN to vindicate the First Amendment. 

In addition to Congress and the courts checking the president, government officials who become aware that they are being asked to use their power to carry out Trump's threats should sound the alarm. And journalists should continue the work of unearthing any connection between Trump's penchant for vengeance and potentially related government actions. The concerted efforts of Congress, the courts, and civil society will be necessary to protect immigrants' ability to dissent–as well as everyone else's.

NEXT: Why did "sources familiar with the private Supreme Court deliberations" talk to CNN about the Census Case?

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  1. We just need something short enough for a bumper sticker.
    “Immigrants = Nazis. Vote Trump: 2020!” [Not strictly accurate. But subtext gets lost–or is impossible–in messages short enough for bumper stickers, t-shirts, baseball caps, etc.]

    1. Not going to work because Trump is already Hitler, and the Republicans supporting him, his Nazis.

      1. The only thing you do by calling Trump Hitler is to expose your ignorance about Hitler.

    2. Vote Warren, a true native American

    3. Vote Biden, for an Indian in every 7/11

    4. Vote Sanders, a true friend to the USSR

    5. Vote Democrat, a welfare check is better than a paycheck

    6. Wow. Godwin in the first post.

  2. What she doesn’t explain are the grounds for denaturalization, which pretty much have to be for fraudulently acquiring citizenship, likely for having lied on their applications for residency, asylum, and/or citizenship.

    1. Well, you can also lose it if you decide to be a terrorist within a certain number of years. Or if you’re getting your citizenship by military service, and are dishonorably discharged.

      So, lie on your application to join the military, and get dishonorably discharged because you join a terrorist group while serving, and Manta says, “Welcome, new American!”.

    2. Yep, the reason why the Government might pursue de- naturalization are left blank.

      Full disclosure: I am a naturalized citizen and can inform worried readers that citizenship, once granted cannot be taken away except if it was obtained fraudulently. Perhaps Ms. Manta could have a chat with Prof. Volokh who could tell her the same thing.

      1. Not quite. From Findlaw:

        “Grounds for Denaturalization

        Falsification or Concealment of Relevant Facts: You must be absolutely truthful when filling out paperwork and answering interview questions related to the naturalization application process. Even if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) fails to recognize any lies or omissions at first, the agency may file a denaturalization action against you after citizenship has been granted. Examples include failure to disclose criminal activities or lying about one’s real name or identity.

        Refusal to Testify Before Congress: You may not refuse to testify before a U.S. congressional committee whose job it is to investigate your alleged involvement in subversive acts, such as those intended to harm U.S. officials or overthrow the U.S. government. This requirement to testify in order to maintain citizenship status expires after 10 years.

        Membership in Subversive Groups: Your citizenship may be revoked if the U.S. government can prove that you joined a subversive organization within five years of becoming a naturalized citizen. Membership in such organizations is considered a violation of the oath of U.S. allegiance. Examples include the Nazi Party and Al Qaeda.

        Dishonorable Military Discharge: Since you may become a naturalized U.S. citizen by virtue of serving in the U.S. military, your citizenship may be revoked if you are dishonorably discharged before serving five years. Reasons for dishonorable discharge, which must follow a general court-martial, include desertion and sexual assault.”

        1. “lying about one’s real name or identity”

          Ilhan Omar could be denaturalized on that basis. That would be delicious.

        2. True, but there are a only a handful of people who meet these obscure criteria. The vast majority of those de-naturalized lied on their applications.

        3. Membership in Subversive Groups: Your citizenship may be revoked if the U.S. government can prove that you joined a subversive organization within five years of becoming a naturalized citizen. Membership in such organizations is considered a violation of the oath of U.S. allegiance. Examples include the Nazi Party and Al Qaeda.

          I’d like a more precise definition of “subversive organization,” rather than just, “here are two examples.”

          That leaves a lot of scope for abuse, something I would have thought a libertarian like you would be concerned about.

          1. Here ya go…

            “Subversive Organizations”

            “(3) who, although not within any of the other provisions of this section, advocates the economic, international, and governmental doctrines of world communism or the establishment in the United States of a totalitarian dictatorship, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization that advocates the economic, international, and governmental doctrines of world communism or the establishment in the United States of a totalitarian dictatorship, either through its own utterances or through any written or printed publications issued or published by or with the permission or consent of or under authority of such organization or paid for by the funds of such organization; or

            (4) who advocates or teaches or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization that advocates or teaches (A) the overthrow by force or violence or other unconstitutional means of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law; or (B) the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers (either of specific individuals or of officers generally) of the Government of the United States or of any other organized government because of his or their official character; or (C) the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property; or (D) sabotage;”

            1. Thanks, A.L.

              The business about the “doctrines of world communism” seems awfully vague to me, given how freely that accusation is tossed around, not to mention that at some level this could be advocacy of a purely theoretical idea, however stupid. I don’t think that particular ideology, in itself, ought to be grounds for denaturalization.

              Maybe some of those who get all worked up about the First Amendment whenever some idiots shout down a speaker they don’t like could express an opinion here.

              The second paragraph sounds a lot like a description of the behavior of various right-wing groups, and the attitudes of some of the commenters here.

              1. 1. The first part, “world communism”, has a real reason. It’s based in the 1950’s, but it was VERY common for the USSR and other communist groups to plant subversives in countries they were looking to overthrow. Communism (as practiced by the Soviet bloc and Red China) has massive detriments to the people it rules, including the crushing of freedoms (of the press, religion, speech, etc), mass deaths, mass shortages, and more. A little extra caution here wasn’t unwarranted.

                2. As for the second part, it’s related to the first. Organizations and people who would come into the country, be nationalized, but have the intent of overthrowing the existing government and organizations. It demonstrates dishonestly towards the oath they took. You know, for example, if a recently nationalized extremist decided to firebomb an ICE facility (like that would happen). That would be grounds for denaturalization.

                1. Well, it wasn’t a communist who blew up the Oklahoma City federal building.

                  Still, I do remember the Cold War quite well. I don’t think McCarthyism, blacklisting, etc. was a particularly good idea.

                  The trouble with the wording is there is no distinction made between speech and action. Would writing an article supporting some of Marx’s views be “advocating for the doctrines of world communism?”

                  What is meant by being “affiliated” with an organization that does that?

                  Sounds lot like, “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” to me.

                  1. Well, yes, I have severe misgivings about all of this except the fraud and dishonorable discharge aspects.

                    I guess this could be considered a species of fraud, because you DO have to swear allegiance to the US to be naturalized, and joining a group hostile to the US shortly after naturalization could be considered evidence that you swore falsely.

                    Natural born citizens, of course, don’t have to swear such allegiance, and are free to be hostile to their own country.

                    1. The trouble is with definition of “hostile.”

                      Deliberately aiding a foreign country in its efforts to harm the US is hostile, I suppose.

                      Joining an organization that advocates for changes in the US economic system, such changes to be made by legal means, isn’t.

                      I happen to think that adopting an extreme libertarian system would be very harmful, for example, but I wouldn’t call those who advocate that hostile to the country.

                    2. How often do you think the areas you’re not concerned about occur? Do you think it’s worth this level of effort?

                    3. Objectively, I think you’d be hard put to advocate something more harmful to a country than communism. Maybe nuclear bombardment?

                    4. Mmm, that’s some good red-baiting.

                      Communism sucks, but the most harmful thing? No more so than anything authoritarian – dictatorship, theocracy, etc.

                      Anyhow, advocating for communism isn’t the same as making our country communist.

                    5. Objectively, I think you’d be hard put to advocate something more harmful to a country than communism.

                      It’s usually not wise to call an opinion an objective statement. My opinion is that white supremacy and extreme right-wing nuttery have in fact caused more harm in the US than domestic communism, but that’s just me.

                      Even if you’re right, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other harmful things one could advocate. Do we just argue about what the worst one is, and bar only advocacy for that?

                      Also, we are talking about advocacy here, not blowing up buildings, or shooting people in a church or synagogue (or, just to anticipate, on a baseball field), or driving a car into a crowd.

                      Are you saying we should bar that, or just making a general statement of what you consider harmful?

              2. The business about the “doctrines of world communism” . . . . I don’t think that particular ideology, in itself, ought to be grounds for denaturalization.”

                LOL. Of course not, because that is exactly the doctrine of the hardcore extreme left. Globalist totalitarians.

                1. This message straight from the HUAC.

                  And you wonder why no one takes you seriously.

                2. You’re a moron. Go back to waving your Confederate flag.

          2. You’re right; the definition should also include “the Democrat Party” as an example.

          3. No, I actually agree that has considerable scope for abuse if “subversive organization” isn’t very narrowly defined. See the push to have the NRA declared a “terrorist” organization, for instance. And I’m not too happy with #2 stripping you of your 5th amendment right against self-incrimination, either.

            But I was just correcting Bruce and Kevin about it not just being fraud.

          4. Maintenance of the list will be delegated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

        4. Brett, thanks once more for the re-warmed McCarthyism. Do you plan to use it again and again forever?

          1. Do you not understand the difference between getting the law right, and approving of the law? Apparently you don’t.

            1. Brett, I understand that a lot of McCarthyism as practiced would be bad law today.

      2. “Fraud” can cover a lot. Can you lose your citizenship if they find out that you got paid $10 to cut somebody’s grass when you were here on visa that didn’t allow work?

        1. Not if you confessed it, certainly.

        2. Fraud during the application process. If you fessed up about it, then you would likely be OK. Most are targeted because they lied about criminal history.

          1. I think the point here is that with Trump doing the enforcing, what you can rely on is simply that all bets are off.

            1. I’m more concerned about the Left enforcing any laws. For example, how would the tolerant and inclusive folks in San Francisco enforce “red flag” laws?

              Defending ‘Reasoned Debate About Public Safety,’ San Francisco Supervisors Declare the NRA a ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’

            2. No, you can’t. This is just a fevered kind response. If you can give me a single example of anyone who was removed from the country during Trump’s tenure that didn’t break a law, I’ll eat my hat. Until then, all you’ve done is drawn a low-quality caricature.

    3. Yes. The lack of specificity in this article, scream baseless politicking. My question after scanning the first couple paragraphs, were, when is proper, if ever, to revoke naturalization? Absent quoting from applicable statutes, I dismiss the entire basis of the article

  3. “Last month, the Trump Administration announced a new rule that could cut legal immigration in half by denying visas and permanent residency to people for being too poor. ”

    I thought you told us that immigrants were a net contribution to society. Now you’re complaining because the law that requires it be true might be enforced?

    1. You can be poor when you arrive and still be a net contributor.

      1. “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet.”

        Likewise, if you’re poor when you arrive, the best bet is that you’re going to stay that way.

        Though the criteria is not whether or not you’re poor, but whether or not you seem likely to remain so; If you’ve just graduated with a degree in petrochemical engineering, you stand a good chance of being poor and in debt, but you aren’t likely to run afoul of this criteria.

        1. Likewise, if you’re poor when you arrive, the best bet is that you’re going to stay that way.

          I doubt that. My bet would be that you’re going to get richer than you were, with only the extent of the improvement in doubt. For immigrants applying for naturalized citizenship, I would give odds.

          1. But of course you’ll get richer. I mean, the welfare and food stamps alone will make most people richer than they were.

        2. There is a great local story about a refugee from Bosnia coming to Des Moines IA. He had no English skills, little money. He got a job doing laundry in a local Hotel. After 5 years he was the manager of that hotel. He worked hard, double shifts if they were offered, managed a small crew, took night classes, and the last story had him as a regional director of guest services for this particular chain. Of course he was doing work that Americans wont do, so there’s that.

          1. Yeah, and what could be the difference between a refugee from say, Bosnia, and a refugee from Haiti? A difference that would likely account for 15 IQ points?

          2. “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet.”

            1. Exactly. I’d much prefer to just administer IQ tests to potential immigrants, but barring that, our immigration system should take race into account, and give preference to whites and East Asians.

      2. When my grandfather came here from Ireland in 1910, he was required to find a sponsor who would care for him if he became indigent, so he would not become a burden on the state. I believe the same rules are on the books now, but are not enforced. I want Trump to enforce them.

        1. Yes, the rules are still on the books for student visas, work visas, & immigration visas. The only ones guaranteed by the US government are asylum & refugee visas although many of those also have a sponsor in order to hasten the approval.

          My mother had to have a sponsor in the 1950s and my ex-wife & stepsons had to have a sponsor in the 2000s.

      3. The rule doesn’t care how much wealth an immigrant has – that’s Manta’s misrepresentation.
        The rule is that the immigrant must be unlikely to be a public burden in the future.

        If someone arrives legally and poor, but is a net contributor, they’ve got nothing to worry about.

  4. I like the hysteria- especially right there in the title- and the continued insistence on conflating anti-immigrant with anti-illegal immigrant remains as satisfying as always, but wouldn’t a brief discussion of the actual issues allow for people who are reflexively anti-Trump to at least pretend to have an informed judgment on this issue?

    Or is that not the idea?

    1. I thought that this article was by Shika Dalmia, Reason’s resident loon.

    2. Your party has moved well beyond conflation.

      Commenters here discuss getting rid of birthright citizenship, approve of greatly lowering legal, immigration, talk about a plot by the Dems to replace the current voters with immigrants. dabbles in racial IQ eugenics pseudoscience.

      1. I know you just post to agitate, but how are we as citizens supposed to govern ourselves if ideas you deem without merit, removed from the realm of debate? Yes people have ideas. To pre determine the worth of those ideas is tyranny.

        1. I post because it’s fun, as I would presume you do as well. If it’s not fun, I’d advice you to stop.

          Where do you get the idea I’m being a tyrant? I have no power.

          Though I do think that ‘all ideas have merit’ is just not true. That’s not how the Overton window works. Holocaust denial will get no engagement from me; do you disagree with that policy? Should I engage, and thus give some respect to, all ideas?

        2. How this works, iowantwo, is that people get to advance ideas, and other people respond to those ideas. You seem to object when bigoted ideas are described as bigoted, and when those advancing those ideas are described as bigots or white supremacists or ideal candidates for replacement.

          Bigots have rights, too . . . but not the right to be exempt from being labeled bigots.

          May the better ideas win.

      2. Damn Sarcastro,

        I never thought I would see the day that you actually believed the Progressive propaganda. Seriously, y’all are now opening calling for suppression of speech, confiscating firearms, denying the economy especially for POC is better than it has been for decades, etc.

        If I didn’t know better, I would swear the Royal Arse Kisser had hacked your account with that “racial IQ eugenics psuedoscience” comment.

        1. All I know is on this blog when there is a post on the GOP being anti-immgirant, you see people protesting it’s only about illegals and rule of law right alongside people calling for an end to the dusk hordes.

          1. I don’t claim it’s only about illegals. Low IQ non-whites are a problem whether they’re legal or not.

            1. One of the ‘how dare you accuse conservatives and Trump supporters of being bigots (or appeasers of bigotry’ regulars needs to jump in here.

              1. Anyone who denies that IQ deficit among blacks and Amerindians is either dishonest or delusional.

      3. You know full well that birthright citizenship is relevant to illegal immigration because of the nontrivial phenomenon of anchor babies, and it’s hardly a stretch to believe that the party willing to pander to illegal immigration is acting in its own electoral self-interest to increase the size of its “coalition of the ascendant.”

        A merit based immigration system would put the lie to much of the IQ-obsessed alt-right because it would mean a brain rather than a brawn drain on the those other countries.

        1. Why do you think that would “put the lie” to the factual IQ claims?

        2. Considering that the current admin has been solving the anchor baby problem by just separating families, that isn’t really part of it.

          But if birthright citizenship is part of the illegal alien debate, then the terms of debate have expended, and it’s not actually about illegal aliens.
          By that logic we should include legal immigration since the ease of that process is related to the incentives for illegal immigration. And labor laws, since that’s why businesses bring over illegals. And our education system.

          And yet the main discussions even in digressions on immigration threads are about all of the topics that constrain residency and citizenship, whether legal or illegal. Well, that and white supremacy.

          Once again, the correlation seems very strong from where I sit.

        3. nontrivial phenomenon of anchor babies,

          Non-trivial because Trump says so? That’s not much to go on.

        4. You know full well that birthright citizenship is relevant to illegal immigration because of the nontrivial phenomenon of anchor babies,

          And by “nontrivial” you mean “nonexistent.”

  5. war on…
    weaponize…
    on immigrants…

    It’s “illegal immigrants”

    I fully support what Trump is doing in this regard.

    Fuck you!

    1. To what do you ascribe your xenophobia and bigotry, ThePublius?

      Childhood indoctrination? Personal failures that cause you to fear or resent others? A bad experience that you have generalized? Just basic lousy character? Poor education? Fear that a diverse population will be less interested in right-wing political positions?

      1. If you ascribe opposition to illegal immigration to bigotry and racism, without any other context, then you are bigot and racist.

        1. The context in this case includes your enthusiastic embrace of a bigoted Pres. Donald Trump and of the bigot-appeasing (if no -embracing) Republican Party.

          Don’t like being called a bigot? Stop being a bigot.

  6. There are so many lies in this post, some blatant, some more subtle, that it is truly sickening, and completely out of character for a VC post. Certainly a person with TDS. Can we just dispense with the Trump hate nonsense? Why is she a contributor?

    1. Well, Ilya is a radical open borders advocate, and Manta is a radical open borders advocate, so I’d assume that was her chief qualification.

      Certainly no other qualifications have surfaced.

      1. “Well, Ilya is a radical open borders advocate”

        The radical open borders advocates against the stale-thinking, retreating bigots.

        Always a great debate.

    2. The first sentence is a biased opinion.
      The second sentence is a lie.
      The third sentence tries to make what almost the entire world does sound like something horrid.
      The fourth sentence is a lie.

      That pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the article.

      Of course, she’s still better than Somin because she doesn’t cite herself 10-20 times an article, or link to her book repeatedly.

      1. Citing herself will be coming soon. She needs at least a couple more articles before referring back to her previous lies like Somin.

      2. Oh, wow, a “biased opinion”! We should only have unbiased opinions! In opinion pieces!

        Also, the second statement is entirely true. And the third, well, if all your friends — I know that it’s a stretch that you have any, but let’s pretend — jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?

  7. Should the Second Look office review Melania’s case before it is closed in early 2021?

    1. Care to list an example of her running afoul of immigration laws?

      1. Working as a model while on a tourist visa is the allegation, I think.

        1. That’s the allegation, yes. Her then employer claims she was on a H1-B visa, which permitted employment. I think it hasn’t been settled one way or the other, she *might* have done a modeling gig in the US while here on a tourist visa, in ’95, but I’ve never seen proof she was on a tourist visa at the time. It’s just assumed on the basis of her having traveled home periodically.

  8. Do you need some Windex to wipe the spittle off your computer monitor after posting this?

    Take a walk or have a drink. Getting Trump is not worth losing your sanity.

  9. On August 28, USCIS announced that the children of some U.S. military personnel and other government employees stationed overseas will no longer automatically become citizens.”

    I opened the link and it went to the NYT. I was expecting the link to be a substantive link from .gov to verify her statement.
    Using the NYT to verify facts shows deep bias, and is more circular than true. It’s the dirty little trick the FBI executed when it was trying to invent verification for its FISA applications.

    Oh how times have changed over recent years. It makes me feel old and past my prime. I’ve come to expect this kind of parsed propaganda from certain cable celebrities, but not from Volokh.
    Volokh is supposed to at least keep the delusion going that it’s clinging to the law and the discussion of it

    1. It was also a link to the version of the NYT column that presented the WRONG interpretation of the new rules. I also see the ‘article’ hasn’t been corrected.

      The entire statement, and the linked column, are a lie. It’s based on one Twitterati blue-check that can’t read and made the false claim. I’ll bet the NYT writer never even looked at the announcement herself before lying about it. Manta certainly didn’t do any research before lying about it, because the truth has been publicly known since about an hour after the claim was first made.

      But hey – when they’ve got nothing else, you can always count on Manta and Somin to lie for their cause.

      1. The announcement was followed by a clarification that if a parent is a citizen the child is born a citizen.

        the children of some U.S. military personnel and other government employees stationed overseas will no longer automatically become citizens is still true.

        1. Yes, but, as the State Department pointed out, all this meant was that they’d hand you a different form to file. It didn’t mean they wouldn’t end up citizens.

          1. It didn’t mean they wouldn’t end up citizens

            It means they might not. It creates extra paperwork for some people in order to become citizens, for no conceivable reason.

        2. Any child born to a US citizen in a foreign country must be registered with the Embassy/Consulate in order to ensure US citizenship attaches. Unlike a child born in the US which is reported and receives a birth certificate; a child born in a foreign country is not automatically reported to the US government.

          Then again, what would I know. I only had a child born in a foreign country in 1987 while I was stationed there with the military.

          1. Any child born to a US citizen in a foreign country must be registered with the Embassy/Consulate in order to ensure US citizenship attaches.

            That is not correct. For those who meet the statutory requirements, citizenship attaches by operation of law. One can (and should) apply for a CRBA, but that’s not what determines citizenship; that just evidences it.

        3. No, it isn’t “still true”. It was never true – and the person that posted the false claim on Twitter admitted it.

          It’s only the most ignorant TDS-inflicted that still try to claim the status of children born to US citizens overseas is changing. The original announcement (which none of the above seem to have read) made this clear.

          1. I read the clarification after the announcement, which admitted that two noncitizen military members overseas lose their kid having birthright citizenship.
            Fill out another form, wait a while, be ineligible to run for President.

            1. Yeah, but the point is, the children of two non-citizens born overseas have NEVER been qualified for birthright citizenship. That hasn’t changed. The kid can’t have lost what he never had to begin with. If you’re born overseas and neither of your parents is an American, you don’t have birthright citizenship, period, and never have had it.

              Here is the actual law, which has not changed. See any provision in there for children of two non-citizens born abroad?

                1. That’s not true for military families. I can’t cite the law, but I know from anecdote.

              1. Yeah, but the point is, the children of two non-citizens born overseas have NEVER been qualified for birthright citizenship.

                That’s true, but since that doesn’t contradict the post, I don’t understand why you’re mentioning it. The post says “automatically become citizens,” not “birthright citizenship.”

    2. Using the NYT to verify facts shows deep bias

      Oh how times have changed over recent years

      It’s a real story, Google it and pick a source you approve of. Rejecting the NYT as a source says more about how you have changed during the years.

      1. Yes, it’s a real lying story. She went straight to the secondary source that got it wrong, instead of the primary source that had it right.

        1. No, there really was a change of policy, and it really will effect some servicemen having children overseas.

          1. No comment on the general drama level, but it’s not an untrue story as printed.

            1. Yes, it was an untrue story as printed.
              It made claims that were false, had no basis in reality, and did not match the actual rule announced.

              What the hell else do you call it?

              1. I explained why the story is correct. You just saying nuh-uh doesn’t address any of that

                1. And several people have pointed out how the story was wrong. Upthread, you yourself switched from claiming the story was right to claiming there was some other change that was almost similar to what was written the that column. If you closed your eyes, plugged your ears, and screamed “OrangeManBad!”

                  In all cases, what was written in the column was not correct. It was not true. It never was. You’ve admitted it yourself upthread. Stop defending the NYT writer that wrote a bad article.

                  1. No, Toranth.

                    Once again, the column in question’s lede is: ‘the children of some U.S. military personnel and other government employees stationed overseas will no longer automatically become citizens is still true.’

                    You may deny it, but no one has yet to provide evidence that that is not the change wrought by the new policy – that the children of some soldier will no longer automatically be citizens; those soldiers being noncitizens having kids with noncitizens.

                    The headline is correct. And if you click through, it correctly describes the policy, even given the later clarification the administration released.

                    Which I think you must suspect given your continued empty ‘you’re wrong and just hate Trump’ responses.

  10. I don’t think people understand that we are in the middle of an ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CRISIS!!!!! YES I SAID CRISIS AND USED ALL CAPS!!! THERE ARE LITERALLY ILLEGALS UNDER YOUR BED RIGHT NOW WE HAVE SO MANY!!! WE MUST DO SOMETHING!!!!

    What is wrong about whipping the mob into a frenzy with fake moral outrage? The Left does it all the time. Just look at their argument for gun control – LOOK AT ALL THE DEAD CHILDREN!!!!!

    1. No. We aren’t. Not in any way.

  11. I read this post twice to see if the author was giving a reason why the Trump administration was pursuing denaturalization. Unfortunately, there was none.

    Maybe Prof. Volokh should look for more honest professors to guest post. Prof. Somin is providing sufficient OrangeManBad content.

  12. This contributor is not up to this blog’s standards.

    1. Didn’t make fun of conservatives.
      Didn’t use the term ‘c*p s*ccor.’
      Didn’t use the term ‘sl*ck-j*w.’

      Seems to be in compliance with this blog’s stated standards.

  13. I don’t always agree with the position taken by Volokh Conspiracy bloggers but, until now, I’ve never seen a post that fails so completely at meeting minimum standards of integrity and truth. How did such a blatant piece of propaganda based on distortions and lies make it past even the most rudimentary editorial checks. Please don’t let this be a sign of future posts; it would be tremendously disappointing to have to quit reading this one.

    1. Anything for anti-Trump agitprop.

      Oh and if you didn’t think the Dems wanted to take your guns just go listen in on the debate. Yes they want to take your guns and not even pay your fair compensation for doing it.

    2. Excellent reply, thank you.

    3. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  14. I have never seen anything as bad, Manta and her dim-witted sidekick Langford are wrong — dead wrong — on so many points it is difficult to believe they are lawyers, let alone law professors, much less contributors to VC.

    I won’t repeat the many flaws already noted. Instead, I will focus on these two sentences: “Congress should act to defang Trump’s threats by stripping or limiting the government’s ability to pursue civil denaturalizations. Those denaturalizations lack the procedural safeguards necessary to prevent abuse and violate naturalized individuals’ right to be free from the arbitrary deprivation of their citizenship.”

    Nonsense. As a former attorney with the Office of Special Investigations, I can tell you that it was an arduous process to de-natz a concentration camp guard who committed war crimes and/or participated in genocide. The litigation could drag on for decades. Unless a naturalized citizen is convicted of a criminal offense that automatically strips him of citizenship upon conviction (eg 18 USC 1425), the government must prove citizenship was obtained fraudulently or procured through material misstatements of fact (or omissions).

    The standard of proof is the same as in a criminal case: proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, defendants are entitled to Brady material. Although technically only required in the 6th Circuit but the law nationwide under DOJ policy, the government is required to disclose any favorable evidence it possesses. Both the heightened standard of proof and the Brady requirement are due to the severity of “remedy” — loss of citizenship.

    “Those [civil] denaturalizations lack the procedural safeguards.” Embarrassingly wrong professors,

    1. Manta is just mad that they’re doing it at all, and since she knows that most people wouldn’t be upset about it if they got an honest account of what is being done, she lied about it.

      You see that behavior a lot in extremists who know the public doesn’t agree with them, but are certain they are right, and that justifies anything they do to advance the cause.

    2. Great reply, thank you.

    3. it is difficult to believe they are lawyers, let alone law professors

      You must not know very many lawyers or law professors. The industry is full of idiots and know-nothings that think a J.D. means they’re a genius.

      Langford and/or Manta may or may not be in this group.

    4. As a former attorney

      I can see why. The standard for civil denaturalization is clear & convincing, not beyond a reasonable doubt. Only if the person is being criminally prosecuted for immigration fraud is the beyond a reasonable doubt standard applied.

      Further, defendants are entitled to Brady material. Although technically only required in the 6th Circuit

      So, “technically” the previous sentence isn’t correct. Moreover, you are misstating even the 6th circuit’s position, which is that the denaturalization target is entitled to Brady material only if denaturalization is based on proof of criminal activities. If it is based on misrepresentations in the application process, then the 6th does not apply Brady.

  15. Are you seriously objecting to the President’s use of the words “invasion” and “criminals” in reference to the hundreds of thousands of people illegally pushing across our southern border? Which definitions of either of these words make them inappropriate in this context?

    1. Invasion seems reasonable historically, though mass migraion might be more politically correct. There is archaeological evidence from pre-history (pre-written) where there is one culture, and a century later a completely different one, and no one knows what really happened.

      Hiwever, while an illegal alien might technically be a criminal for coming in, rhetorically it is in the context of thieves, rapists, and murderers coming in, so suggesting most or all are “criminals” carries very unfair weight in that context.

      1. “Invasion” is not remotely accurate. It’s chosen simply to be incendiary.

        1. ““Invasion” is not remotely accurate. ”

          How did Texas become part of the US?

          Economic migrants peacefully moved into the Texas Province of the Republic of Mexico. 20 years later it was no longer the Texas Province of the Republic of Mexico.

          Invasions don’t always start with soldiers in uniform.

        2. If you claimed “invasion” is only technically accurate, you might have a point. But it IS accurate, because the term isn’t restricted to military invasions.

        3. Invasion is accurate. It isn’t limited to military. It is the same as mass migration. Large numbers of people are deliberately moving to a new area. This is on the scale of previous changes discovered from past millenia around the world.

          This is a good thing, as the more people in a free economy, the better. The only question is if they vote for politicians who tout policies that lessen economic freedom, making moving here for economic benefit self-defeating.

          1. Here are good reasons for liberal immigration policies:

            1. Because America, warts and all, is the shining city on the hill, city of freedom. Come and be free from dictatorship and corruption and make a better life.

            2. Because in an economically free society, the more, the better.

            And this is a lame, utilitarian reason, used unofficially by both parties for 20 years:

            3. We need lots more workers to support the tax base of social security.

            This is a terrible reason:

            4. So we can win more elections and pass more laws and taxes and regulations to depress and crush the economic freedom that powers the shining part of the shining city on the hill.

            1. Krayt, “city upon a hill” (no “shining” in the original) is a reference to a sermon preached by John Winthrop. The right-wing re-purposing of it, was mostly a product of Ronald Reagan speech writers, who flipped Winthrop’s meaning 180 degrees. What had been a pre-socialist message from Winthrop, rooted in the Bible, and admonishing modesty, became in Regan’s version a blustering, anti-biblical monstrosity.

              Here is the quote from the original, in a bit more context,

              For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.

              See the difference?

  16. I’m curious why a supposed distinguished professor would openly lie & obfuscate right at the beginning of her article?

    “…children of some U.S. military personnel and other government employees stationed overseas will no longer automatically become citizens.”

    This has been the law since 1987 specifically and even earlier. Children born overseas to an American citizen, or in my case two American citizens with one being military, still had to register the birth with the US Embassy or Consulate because the birth occurred outside the USA. The child receives from the State Department a certificate of US Birth Abroad thereby ensuring US citizenship, passport, etc.

    Depending on the country and parents (i.e. one US & one foreign,) the child might be considered to have dual citizenship. Some countries require said child to declare which citizenship chosen at the age of majority.

    I would also note that many US citizens of Irish descent (children & grandchildren of Ireland/N. Ireland citizens) may also legally obtain Irish and/or British citizenship based on accords between the UK and Ireland over Northern Ireland. The same occurs with other countries.

    It is truly sad that Irina chose to not present the facts, instead pushing partial truths and some outright lies in the article.

    1. What, in your understanding, are the immigration or citizenship changes (if any) regarding which the current administration published the relevant announcement a couple of weeks ago? If there were no changes, why did the administration issue the document?

      Thank you.

      1. Trying to argue that the announced change didn’t actually change anything is a tell about how they think this kind of marginal nativism will play.

        1. There was no change in the law, which I linked to above. All that happened is that the USCIS brought its policies into conformance with the law where in very specialized circumstances they’d been screwing it up. They had been treating military service as residency even if it was taking place outside the US, and that wasn’t the law.

          It doesn’t effect birthright citizenship AT ALL, but it does change which form the relevant parents have to file, not whether their kids end up citizens.

          1. the USCIS brought its policies into conformance with the law

            Man, that’s some good bureaucrat-speak. Formalism is a pretty weak try to hide behind.

            There was no problem driving this. No one was asking for this other than a nativist adminsitration.

            1. Well . . . a nativist administration and the white supremacists and all-round bigots who support that administration.

  17. I read the first few paragraphs, and it sounded like a reelection campaign advertisement. Go Trump!

    Here’s the thing. There is a political disagreement about the optimal levels of immigration. Polls show the solid majority of Americans favor a lower level of immigration compared to the current record high levels. This preference is more pronounced among black and Hispanic Americans, who are more likely to be working class and therefore affected by the artificial depression of wages in certain sectors through massive government-subsidized influxes of labor oversupply.

    Some others favor drastically higher levels of immigration, and even open borders. Only a small minority of people hold this view, but a large majority of special interests, the big business lobby, the media, and the political establishments fervently advocate for this. Trump became elected as President by running with immigration as his signature issue.

    So, it would seem that those who favor higher levels of immigration should stop being hysterical and unhinged. Instead, they should make their case. First, state the numerical level of immigration you believe would be optimal, and the type and method, and support your case with sound facts and data, making sure to acknowledge the distributional effects of your policy proposals and who it would benefit most and who it would not benefit.

    1. You know they’re not going to do that because the moment you start quantifying and qualifying immigration, you open yourself to the insidious question “why?” Once that happens, there won’t be anything left to stand on. Leftists keep it vague because it’s easy to hide demographic replacement schemes behind virtue signaling. They constantly tell us why we shouldn’t deny immigrants but never why we should accept them. It’s implicit because they don’t want to be explicit.

  18. Can folks still reading this please help me collect a succinct list of lies you detect in the blog entry? Thank you.

  19. You know you dun goofed when you cite WaPo. Sorry, but denying entry to aliens because they’re a drain on our resources isn’t unreasonable, unethical or immoral. #mybordersmychoice

  20. Trying to argue that the announced change didn’t actually change anything is a tell about how they think this kind of marginal nativism will play. Daftar Bandar

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