Scanning Immigrants’ Old Fingerprints, U.S. Threatens to Strip Thousands of Citizenship
by Nick Miroff, Washington Post
The Trump administration is analyzing decades-old fingerprints in an unprecedented effort to rescind American citizenship from immigrants who may have lied or falsified information on their naturalization forms.
Revoking citizenship, a process known as denaturalization, has long been treated as a rare and relatively drastic measure by immigration authorities, reserved for foreigners who commit egregious crimes or acts of fraud, or pose a threat to national security.
But under a new policy memo issued by L. Francis Cissna, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency is investigating thousands of old fingerprint records and files to determine whether foreigners made false or fraudulent statements in their attempts to obtain legal residency in the United States.
According to USCIS officials and documents reviewed by The Washington Post, Homeland Security investigators are digitizing fingerprints collected in the 1990s and comparing them with more recent prints provided by foreigners who apply for legal residency and U.S. citizenship. If decades-old fingerprints gathered during a deportation match those of someone who did not disclose that deportation on their naturalization application or used a different name, that individual could be targeted by a new Los Angeles-based investigative division