Supreme Court rules citizenship cannot be revoked for minor untruths

The decision is a setback to the Trump administration, which argued that the government should be able to revoke citizenship even for irrelevant or minor misstatements.
By Cliff Mooneyham | Jun 24, 2017
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a naturalized U.S. citizen cannot have her citizenship revoked if a false statement or omission on immigration forms was merely minor.

The decision is a setback to the Trump administration, which argued that the government should be able to revoke citizenship even for irrelevant or minor misstatements.

"This decision will ensure that lawful permanent residents who take the next step by becoming U.S. citizens do not have to live in fear that their rights may be revoked at any time, " said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, in a Reuters report.

The case involved Divna Maslenjak, a Serbian woman who lied about her husband's military service. She concealed his participation in the Bosnian Serb Army brigade that helped massacre some 8,000 Muslims in Srebranica in 1995.

The question before the court was if the woman's false statements materially affected the government's decision to grant her refugee status.

The Trump administration argued just the fact that Maslenjak made a false statement was enough to strip her of citizenship.

The case now goes back to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide if Maslenjak's false statements were material to the decision to grant her entry to the U.S. The lower court could still find that Maslenjak's loss of citizenship was valid.

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