Jus­tices make it harder to strip cit­i­zen­ship

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — Alex Swoyer

The gov­ern­ment can­not strip cit­i­zen­ship from some­one who lied in the ap­pli­ca­tion process if the false­hood wasn’t cen­tral to claims for im­mi­gra­tion ben­e­fits, the Supreme Court ruled Thurs­day.

The de­ci­sion could make it tougher for the gov­ern­ment to oust peo­ple it deems to have mis­led im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.

Jus­tice Elena Ka­gan, writ­ing for the court in the unan­i­mous de­ci­sion, said the gov­ern­ment must prove in cit­i­zen­ship-strip­ping tri­als that the lie was se­ri­ous enough that if of­fi­cials had known the truth at the time, they would have de­nied cit­i­zen­ship.

“So the is­sue a jury must de­cide in a case like this one is whether a false state­ment suf­fi­ciently al­tered those pro­cesses as to have in­flu­enced an award of cit­i­zen­ship,” Jus­tice Ka­gan wrote.

The case be­fore the court in­volved Divna Maslen­jak, a Bos­nian Serb who sought refugee sta­tus in the U.S. in 1998 af­ter Bos­nia’s civil war.

She told au­thor­i­ties her fam­ily fled be­cause of fear of per­se­cu­tion and abuse af­ter her hus­band evaded ser­vice in the Bos­nian Serb Army.

Later, though, it was re­vealed Ms. Maslen­jack’s hus­band had served as an of­fi­cer in the Bos­nian Serb Army and par­tic­i­pated in the Sre­brenica mas­sacre of 8,000 Mus­lims.

The gov­ern­ment charged her with ly­ing to the gov­ern­ment and tried to strip her cit­i­zen­ship based on the lie.

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