Trump’s Denaturalization Squads

Trump’s Denaturalization Squads

This is some gestapo crap, just not the way you think


Photo by Wellington Rodrigues

The headline in The Root is pretty scary. “Trump Creates ‘Denaturalization’ Task Force to Pursue Deportation Against Thousands of U.S. Citizens.” Yikes. Between that and the President’s demand to deport people without due process, this sounds like something straight of of Nazi Germany.

And it is… just not in that way.

To be clear, doing anything without due process is terrifying. If ICE can deport someone without due process then anyone can be deported — immigrants, legal residents, citizens, you name it. Sure, you can prove you’re supposed to be here, but who do you prove that to?

The denaturalization task force is worrisome, but for a different reason. It represents a process — so that’s good news — but its goal is, “to find U.S. citizens they say should not have been naturalized, to revoke their citizenship, and then eventually deport them.”

And that sounds, on its face, reasonable — anti-immigrant, to be sure, but not evil. Mistakes get made in any process and nowhere is it written that those mistakes have to be in the favor of the applicant. But there is another, deeply troubling wrinkle here.

When naturalized U.S. citizens take the oath of allegiance they declare that they will, “renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.” True, that’s just a formality. Just taking the oath has no legal ramifications, but a lot of people don’t know that and many, many new citizens renounce their former citizenship, even if their former-home country does not require it. And some countries require it.

That’s the problem. A lot of these targets for “denaturalization” have no citizenship other than U.S. citizenship. Like a natural-born citizen, there is no where to deport them to because, legally speaking, there is no where else they are from**.**

Denaturalizing people in this situation creates “stateless people” and rendering people stateless is among the last things necessary to undertake a genocide. With no country officially responsible for them, no government to protect them, and no system of laws for them to appeal to, a stateless people are at the whims and mercy of whatever jackbooted thugs stand before them.

That never ends well.

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