Still, denaturalizations are rare and can only occur in federal court
. The Justice Department has filed 228 civil denaturalization cases since 2008, according to a DOJ official. Of the 228 cases, 94 were filed over roughly the last three years, indicating a recent jump in filings, the official said.
Historically, the US revoked citizenship for a range of reasons, including lying about date of arrival, age or marital status to political reasons, according to Patrick Weil, a professor at Yale Law School who focuses on immigration and citizenship.
During World War II, for example, the US reviewed naturalization cases of German Americans who were pro-Nazi. “They were targeting people working for the Nazis, so they went after many German Americans,” Weil said.
But, Weil noted, it’s become increasingly difficult for the US to strip someone of their citizenship, because of Supreme Court decisions
that have curtailed the government’s power.
A 2016 Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report
found that at least 858 individuals were granted US citizenship despite having been ordered deported under a different identity, because of incomplete fingerprint records.