Indian-origin man is first American to lose naturalised citizenship


He was placed in exclusion proceedings, but failed to appear for his immigration court hearing and was ordered excluded and deported on January 7, 1992, federal prosecutors said.

Photograph of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo. The man, from Carteret, New Jersey, was found to be living under fraudulent identity and was held guilty for practising deceptively artful ways to gain the green card.

In a landmark decision previous year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that U.S. authorities could not revoke the citizenship of naturalized citizens for minor reasons.

Singh was one of three people against whom civil complaints were filed in federal court in September, which alleged they had obtained naturalized US citizenship through fraud, according to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department, in an official statement, said, "Singh's denaturalisation is the first arising out of a growing body of cases referred to the Department of Justice by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of Operation Janus".

Operation Janus began because USCIS granted citizenship to "at least 858 individuals ordered deported or removed under another identity when, during the naturalization process, their digital fingerprint records were not available", according to a document released by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General, in September 2016.

The initiative identified around 315,000 cases in which some fingerprint data was missing from the centralized digital fingerprint repository.

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The U.S. immigration agency plans to refer about 1,600 additional cases under Operation Janus for possible denaturalization. "This opened the possibility of him being subject to removal proceedings". On Feb. 6, 1992, he filed an asylum application under the name "Baljinder Singh", according to the DOJ, and "claimed to be an Indian who entered the United States without inspection".

Under U.S. law, naturalization can be revoked only if it was obtained fraudulently.

The then Immigration and Naturalization Services granted Singh's permanent residency application in September 1998; six years later, he applied to become a naturalized citizen, according to court papers.

He was granted citizenship in 2004 after he submitted an application for naturalization, but the application omitted information about the deportation order and his use of the name Davinder Singh.

The Department of Justice, which moved a petition in this regard before a United States court last September, said that Singh in his citizenship application concealed prior orders of exclusion and his deportation under different identities than the identity under which they naturalised.

The report concluded that the fingerprints were a match and belonged to the same person, a finding whose scientific credibility Singh did not challenge, according to the judge's ruling.