By Lalit K Jha
Washington: The US has revoked the American citizenship of an Indian-origin man who reportedly defrauded the authorities, making it the first denaturalisation case under a government initiative designed to clamp down on fraudulent immigration, the Justice Department said.
Baljinder Singh alias Davinder Singh, 43, who married a US citizen, has now been reverted to the Green Card status which leaves him potentially subject to removal proceedings at the Department of Homeland Security's discretion, the Justice Department said.
The Department of Justice, which moved a petition in this regard before a US 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.
"Singh's denaturalisation is the first arising out of a growing body of cases referred to the Department of Justice by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of Operation Janus," the Department of Justice said in a statement.
The action against Singh was filed contemporaneously with two other Operation Janus cases, as announced by the Justice Department on September 19, 2017
A US District Court in New Jersey on January 5 had entered an order revoking his naturalised US citizenship and cancelling his Certificate of Naturalisation.
Under Operation Janus, the Department of Homeland Security has identified about 315,000 cases where some fingerprint data was missing from the centralised digital fingerprint repository.
Among those cases, some may have sought to circumvent criminal record and other background checks in the naturalisation process, said the Department of Homeland Security.
According to the Justice Department, these cases are the result of an ongoing collaboration between the two departments to investigate and seek denaturalisation proceedings against those who obtained citizenship unlawfully.
Singh, a native of India, arrived at San Francisco International Airport on September 25, 1991, without any travel documents or proof of identity. He claimed that his name was Singh.
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.
Four weeks later, on February 6, 1992, he filed an asylum application under the name Baljinder Singh.
He claimed to be an Indian who entered the US without inspection.
Singh abandoned that application after he married a US citizen, who filed a visa petition on his behalf.
Singh naturalised under the name Baljinder Singh on July 28, 2006, prosecutors alleged.
"The defendant exploited our immigration system and unlawfully secured the ultimate immigration benefit of naturalisation, which undermines both the nation's security and our lawful immigration system," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler of the Justice Department's Civil Division.
In September, the Department of Justice made a similar move against two persons from Pakistan: Parvez Manzoor Khan and Rashid Mahmood. No decision has been taken yet in their case. (PTI)