Can a Citizen be Deported?

Assuming that you didn’t lie on your citizenship application; were never a Nazi; didn’t do anything wrong before taking the oath of citizenship, etc. . . .

In other words, can a naturalized US citizen be deported for misconduct that takes place after he or she takes the oath of citizenship?

My feeling is that the answer is NO, but I need a statute or a court case to point to in order to win a bet.

Wouldn’t that be the same thing as being exiled?

I presume that what you really mean is that you didn’t do anything to cause you to lose your citizenship, so you are still a US citizen.

No, the burden of proof is on the other guy. He needs to find a crime for which the penalty is deportation or (as RandMcnally suggested) exile.

You might find this case interesting (deportee stripped of citizenship for crimes committed before, but not charged, naturalization).

I can’t open it, but is that the Lionel Baptiste case?

Canadian Immigrant to the US here.

Yes. A naturalized citizen can be deported if he commits certain types of felonies, including murder. A naturalized citizen can be stripped of his or her citizenship and deported to his or her country of origin.

In some cases, this poses a problem if the country of origin no longer recognizes the citizen as one of theirs after they have taken on American citizenship. Look up the concept online – search for the “Denaturalization” process. There are lots of examples out there.

Thank you. I found this:


Depriving a U.S. citizen of their citizenship is "the total destruction of the individual’s status in organized society” and “is offensive to cardinal principle for which the constitution stands.” according to the U.S. Supreme Court in *Trop v. Dulles * 356 U.S. 86 at 99 (1958).

Trop was a native born citizen of the U.S., serving in the U.S. military, who lost his citizenship for the crime of Desertion in time of war. (Yes, the maximum authorized punishment is Death, don’t get me started, I could talk for hours.)

The Supremes said that Death was an authorized punishment, but denaturalization was not. Go figure. BTW “Deprivation of citizenship” is no longer listed as an authorized punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Some caveats:
The current standard for “cruel and unusual punishment” is from Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972), which obviously ante-dates Trop. Extremely short version of the current standard for C&UP: no unnecessary and wonton infliction of pain, and nothing grossly out of proportion to the crime .

Obviously Elenfair has more recent, personal experience in this area, I’m just another soldier in the fight against ignorance. But to me, “Denaturalization & deportation” sounds like a scary big brother punishment (You’ll never go home again :eek: !!!) to keep the new voters and military recruits in line. Whether it has been used, I don’t know.

The Baptiste case made me wonder: Are there ANY circumstances under which a native born (not naturalized) citizen could be stripped of his citizenship?

The Cable Act had the side effect that a natural born white American woman who married a foreign born Asian man would lose her US citizenship.

What an obscure and yet very interesting reference…

Technically speaking, a dual citizen (born in Country A, naturalized in the US) could be extradited back to his home country for crimes he committed there after being naturalized. But it would presumably not matter whether he was a naturalized or natural-born citizen, and he wouldn’t be stripped of his U.S. citizenship over this. I can’t think of a case in which this has occurred, though.

Ah, Google to the rescue: Gregory Despres. He was born in Canada, naturalized in the U.S., went back to Canada and killed an elderly couple, fled to the U.S., and was then captured in Massachusetts and deported back to Canada to stand trial. He’s now scheduled to stand trial late this year or early next. It’s worth noting that the border guards couldn’t legally detain him at the U.S. border, despite the bloody chainsaw (!) and other weapons in his car, since he was a U.S. citizen and was not (at the time) wanted on any criminal charges that they knew about.

I learned that in an Asian American history class back in college. What’s worse, if instead of a natural born white American woman you had a natural born Asian American woman, she still lost her citizenship but was also ineligible to get it back. I couldn’t find an online cite, but that was one of the reasons the Cable Act was later repealed.

Lengthy thread from two years ago on the Gregory Depres case: Keeping US borders safe.

Earlier this year, I remember seeing a news item that Mr. Depres had been found fit to stand trial.

This appears to be a simple matter of extradition, and there’s no reason to think his US citizenship is in jeopardy.

Hasn’t there been some instances of Mafia figures stripped of citizenship and deported back to Italy? I’m thinking 1930s gangster era, but maybe since then, too. I mean for activity after they became citizens.

I beleive you can repudiate your citizenship. It’s diificult. Also, AFAIK, if you are born in the USA of foriegn partents, you have dual citizenship until age 18, and then if you choose your parents nation, you are no longer a US citizen. Both require a choice on your part, however.

Yes, certainly. As I said in my first post, while it technically fits the bill of a naturalized U.S. citizen being forced to return to the country of his birth, his U.S. naturalization is not in question. It just goes to show that naturalized U.S. citizens are not automatically immune from being forcibly returned to their place of birth.