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Lies may not be grounds to revoke citizenship

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Those looking to immigrate to Maryland or elsewhere in the United States might not necessarily have their citizenship revoked because of a lie. This was the basis of a Supreme Court ruling made on June 22. In order to be protected from revocation, the lie cannot lead to someone ultimately being denied citizenship. The case in question involved a woman who said that her husband fled to the United States to avoid serving in the Bosnian Serb army.

It was later discovered that the man had indeed served in a brigade responsible for the deaths of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims. Her citizenship was revoked under a federal law that made it illegal to knowingly acquire naturalized citizenship in a manner that is contrary to the law. However, the court majority noted that this is only true if the lie plays a role in obtaining citizenship.

The conviction was ultimately overturned on grounds that jurors in the original trial had been given improper instructions. They had been told that the lie didn't need to be material to be grounds for a conviction. Concurring Justice Neil Gorsuch believed that the majority opinion could have stopped after mentioning the improper jury instructions and that there are other issues best left for lower courts to resolve.

An individual looking to become a U.S. citizen generally has to complete several steps before the process is completed. Those who have questions about the process may benefit from talking to legal counsel. An attorney may be helpful for anyone who seeks assistance with any type of naturalization or immigration matter.

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