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I know to some extent the US watches everyone, but what I am thinking of is whether newly naturalized citizens are watched to see if their naturalization process seems insincere in hindsight. For example:

  1. If a newly naturalized citizen immediately emigrates from the US back to their country of origin (although continues to file and pay relevant expat taxes).
  2. If a newly naturalized citizen, who became a citizen after 3 years of residency because they're married to a citizen (rather than the usual 5 years, src) immediately gets divorced. (Obviously you have to present evidence of a bona fide marriage - which mine is - to even get citizenship, this is hypothetical)
  3. If a newly naturalized citizen, who took an amended oath NOT swearing to serve in the US military, due to 'deeply held religious or moral code' (src), then joins the military, gets a concealed carry permit, gets an FFL or similarly seems to not be very pacifisty.
  4. If a newly naturalized citizen immediately joins the Communist Party, which although not illegal (src) would have disqualified them from citizenship if they'd joined the CP before applying.

I know there are certain things where the US can revoke citizenship, like serving in a foreign military who's at war with the US, but none of my list are illegal activities in themselves.

Does the US watch for and/or revoke the citizenship of new citizens for this kind of stuff?

(1) could happen if my parents get sick or injured and I need to become their carer, for example. Also, I do intend to modify my citizenship oath/affirmation (3): I have religious conviction against bearing arms for any worldly nation, but I am willing to use force in private-individual self-defense, and I feel like the nuanced distinction between those may be lost on any watchdogs.

I would also be curious whether misdemeanors or felonies shortly after citizenship can result in revocation.

4 Answers 4

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Naturalization can be revoked per 8 USC 1451

on the ground that such order and certificate of naturalization were illegally procured or were procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation

and furthermore

refusal on the part of a naturalized citizen within a period of ten years following his naturalization to testify as a witness in any proceeding before a congressional committee concerning his subversive activities, in a case where such person has been convicted of contempt for such refusal, shall be held to constitute a ground for revocation of such person’s naturalization under this subsection as having been procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.

This revocation is retroactive, and essentially means "you never were a US citizen".

Under 8 USC 1481, anyone can lose their citizenship for certain acts which have "the intention of relinquishing United States nationality".

W.r.t. (1): no, there is no requirement for a citizen to live in the US. (2) No, there is no oath where they promise to stay married for 5 years, and anybody is entitled to change their mind about a marriage (the requirement is that you be married for at least 3 years, which is true). (3) There is no life-long commitment to being a pacifist or holding any particular philosophy, it just has to be true at the time you take the vow. (4) There is no vow that you don't have communistical leanings. The only legal restriction is that you are deemed inadmissible by USCIS if you have been a member of the CP. But you are allowed to change your viewpoint. Committing crimes is also not grounds for revoking citizenship

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  • "refusal on the part of a naturalized citizen within a period of ten years following his naturalization to testify as a witness in any proceeding before a congressional committee concerning his subversive activities, in a case where such person has been convicted of contempt for such refusal, shall be held to constitute a ground for revocation of such person’s naturalization under this subsection as having been procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation." This seems like a blatant violation of the Fifth Amendment?
    – Someone
    Jul 10, 2022 at 6:01
  • @Someone you have to go testify, but you can invoke your right under the fifth amendment not to answer questions.
    – phoog
    Jul 10, 2022 at 6:19
  • @phoog so the person would have to go to DC and "testify" but wouldn't have to say anything other than "I refuse to answer any questions"?
    – Someone
    Jul 10, 2022 at 15:09
  • @Someone that's generally how it works, yes.
    – phoog
    Jul 10, 2022 at 16:10
  • 1
    It's true that "you are allowed to change your viewpoint". Nonetheless, if you immediately turn around and do something inconsistent with the requirements (e.g. get divorced), it may not be proof of fraud in itself, but it could certainly trigger an investigation where the government would try to dig up more evidence of fraud. Jul 11, 2022 at 18:41
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Does the US watch for and/or revoke the citizenship of new citizens for this kind of stuff?

There has historically been no mechanism in place to systemically monitor naturalized citizens for grounds for revocation of citizenship.

These cases have historically been brought to the attention of the government on a case by case complaint driven basis.

As the linked source recounts:

  • For many years, the DOJ focused its efforts to strip immigrants of their citizenship on suspected war criminals who lied on their immigration paperwork, most notably former Nazis. And, USCIS and DOJ pursued cases as they arose, but not through a coordinated effort.

  • In February 2020, DOJ announced the creation of a section dedicated to denaturalization cases. Noting that, “While the Office of Immigration Litigation already has achieved great success in the denaturalization cases it has brought, winning 95 percent of the time, the growing number of referrals anticipated from law enforcement agencies motivated the creation of a standalone section dedicated to this important work.”

  • According to the New York Times, “denaturalizations have ramped up under the Trump administration: Of the 228 denaturalization cases that the department has filed since 2008, about 40 percent of them were filed since 2017, according to official department numbers. And over the past three years, denaturalization case referrals to the department have increased 600 percent.”

  • In a budget request for FY2019, the administration asked for $207.6 million to investigate 887 additional leads it expects to get into American citizens who may be vulnerable to denaturalization, and to review another 700,000 immigrant files.

  • The Trump administration launched an office that focuses on identifying immigrants who are suspected of cheating to get their green cards or citizenship and seek to denaturalize these individuals.

  • In 2018, USCIS Director Cissna stated that “he hopes the agency’s new office in Los Angeles will be running by next year but added that investigating and referring cases for prosecution will likely take longer.”

  • In September 2016, the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report finding that USCIS granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals ordered deported or removed under another identity when, during the naturalization process, their digital fingerprint records were not available. OIG recommends that ICE finish uploading into the digital repository the fingerprints it identified, and that DHS resolve these cases of naturalized citizens who may have been ineligible. Further, the report found that fingerprint records were missing from hundreds of thousands of cases for a variety of reasons.

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If a newly naturalized citizen immediately emigrates from the US back to their country of origin (although continues to file and pay relevant expat taxes).

This used to be grounds for expatriation but in 1964, in Schneider v. Rusk, the supreme court ruled that it was impermissible. The law was subsequently amended to remove the relevant provision.

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  • @MarkJohnson thanks. I've fixed it.
    – phoog
    Jul 12, 2022 at 5:01
  • 1
    Interestingly, INA 338 originally required that the court find that "the petitioner intends to reside permanently in the United States" in order to naturalize, but that phrase was removed by section 104 of the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994.
    – user102008
    Jul 12, 2022 at 20:24
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Does the US Government monitor and/or revoke newly naturalized citizens?

It may well monitor, but it won't revoke citizenship merely because you don't keep your promises (if they can be even labeled so).

What is important is that you don't provide false information to the government when applying for citizenship. Giving promises to keep your mind in a certain state (e.g. not intending to bear arms, divorce or move abroad) and then changing your mind is not giving false information.

But if it can be proven that you in fact lied about your intentions (e.g. you knew that you will leave the country as soon as citizenship is granted, or divorce etc.), then that will perfectly count as providing false information, and so your citizenship could be revoked.

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  • I figured it was something like that. I was hoping perhaps there was a case precedent which had ruled "changing your mind afterwards isn't evidence of fraudulent application" that explicitly, or conversely, where a citizenship was revoked after a divorce (or whatever), which would make things clear either way. For the record I have no intent to divorce or emigrate etc., just as a former law student I'm just curious about how it works, and with my parent's health I'd want to know if there was any hard rules especially on emigrating back. Jul 11, 2022 at 2:37

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