It appears thousands of citizens and legal residents living in the country should now be concerned about facing deportation and denaturalization for past offenses that might be of a very trivial nature or were committed years ago.
Case in point: A grandmother living in Florida received a letter from the U.S. government stating the Department of Justice (DoJ) was suing to "denaturalize" her as part of an unprecedented effort by the Trump administration to revoke the citizenship of people who committed criminal offenses before becoming American citizens.
The 63-year-old woman, identified as Norma Borgono, who immigrated from Peru in 1989 and raised two children on a $500-a-week salary, is now reportedly being targeted by the federal government because of her link to a $24 million fraud scheme more than a decade ago, Miami Herald reported.
Borgono, a Miami resident for 28 years, worked as a secretary at Texon Inc., an export company where her boss pocketed money from doctored loan applications filed with the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
According to the report, Borgono just helped with the paperwork and didn’t benefit from the fraud money whatsoever. Moreover, when the authorities caught wind of the incident, she helped the feds to get to the real culprit and it was due to her assistance the FBI put her former boss behind bars for four years.
In May 2012, she took a plea deal and was sentenced to one year of house arrest, four years of probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution.
In order to pay off the restitution money, she even reportedly picked up an extra job and was able to get an early relieve from her sentence.
Things were finally beginning to settle down for Borgono until just recently she received a letter notifying she might lose her citizenship.
The DoJ claimed the woman lied on her application for citizenship as she didn’t divulge her involvement in some criminal activity. According to the 63-year-old’s family, Borgono wasn’t charged when she applied for the citizenship.
“Had the threat to her citizenship been brought up," during the original case, said her daughter Urpi Ríos who gave birth to her first child just days before Borgono got her legal notice, "we would have gone to trial or found some way to fight it.”
Moreover, the fact Borgono suffers from rare kidney disease further worries her family in case she’s sent back to Peru.
“For everything that she did wrong, that she cooperated on, that she paid her debt to society for, now they want to send her away to die over there?" Rios asked.
A Kansas City immigration attorney, Matthew Hoppock, feared the denuclearization policy will cost many longtime residents their citizenship.
“I’m worried that people who have been citizens for a long time will now be targeted for denaturalization, and that the effort to defend against a federal denaturalization claim is so expensive that people will just give up,” he said.
Regardless, the administration’s relentless pursuit of immigrants, even of those who have acquired a legal status continues. As the Herald reported, the Department of Homeland Security plans to devote more than $207.6 million to look for cases of possible citizenship fraud.
Also, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in accordance to its proposed 2019 budget, will hire 300 new investigators – apparently in an effort to catch people who might have skirted immigration rules.
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