The process by which a person’s citizenship may be revoked is called denaturalization. It is an action based on federal law; in Florida, proceedings take place in federal courts. Cases begin with the filing of a complaint naming a defendant, who has 60 days to answer. The defendant may raise defenses to the charges as part of his or her answer. There are four grounds for denaturalization: falsification of relevant facts, membership in a subversive group, refusal to testify and dishonorable discharge.
A naturalized U.S. citizen may be denaturalized for falsifying or concealing information in communications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or other communications related to the naturalization process. Members of subversive groups, such as Al Qaeda and the Nazi Party, may have their citizenship revoked if the government proves they joined within five years of naturalization.
Naturalized citizens may also lose their status if they refuse to provide congressional testimony regarding involvement in subversive acts unless they have been citizens for at least 10 years. Those who gained citizenship via service in the U.S. military may be denaturalized if they are dishonorably discharged before five years have passed.
The government must meet a higher burden of proof in denaturalization cases than in other civil cases. Natural born citizens cannot lose their citizenship involuntarily, but the children of denaturalized individuals may lose their U.S. citizenship if they had originally gained it through their parents. An attorney with experience in immigration law may be able to provide advice or assistance to an individual whose citizenship may be revoked. An attorney may be able to gather evidence in preparation for trial or represent the defendant at denaturalization proceedings or other interactions with U.S. government officials and agencies.