Citizenship denied and green card cancelled? Hi, everyone, I'm Katherine Karam, founder of Karam Immigration law, a board certified, and practicing immigration attorney in Houston, Texas. I want to talk about a problem that I've been seeing a lot lately in the United States immigration system.
Citizenship denied and green card cancelled?
At my Immigration Law Firm in Houston, I am seeing this scenario happen a lot:
Green card holders apply for citizenship, then they receive a denial for that citizen application, often with no reason for the denial, and, on top of that, Immigration attempts to take away their green card.
I want to make sure you understand this scenario doesn't doesn't happen all of the time and you shouldn't be afraid of applying for your citizenship. However, it is an issue I see from time to time in my caseload and I want to be sure people know they have options when this happens. First, let's dig into the painful details.
US Immigration denied citizenship and threatening to cancel green card
If somebody has a green card, they're a permanent resident in this country. They're allowed to live here long term legally. But, that's not the same thing as being a citizen and a lot of people who get their green cards want to then apply for citizenship. If done properly, the process of citizenship can often be a success, although it is not a guarantee.
When I denial of citizenship happens, sometimes it includes a statement that says something like, "Not only are you denied citizenship, we don't even think you should have gotten your green card in the first place and we're going to see if we can take that away from you."
You can imagine how upsetting it is when you have a green card, you're thinking you're going to get citizenship, but then you find out that not only are you not getting citizenship, the U.S. government wants to take your green card away.
What to do if your citizenship has been denied and green card is cancelled
- Don't lose hope. Don't assume there's nothing you can do. I have resolved this kind of case successfully, with clients obtaining their citizenship!
- Take Action ASAP - don't wait. Talk to an experienced immigration lawyer about the decision you received to see if there's a chance to appeal or refile your case.
- Get your documents together - Bring a copy of your citizenship application and the documents you provided to USCIS and the denial decision for the attorney to review.
- Don't rely on your memory of what happened in your green card case. Prepare for an appointment with a lawyer by gathering any immigration documents you have, including old notices from USCIS or INS, copies of your green card application and any petitions filed for you, any criminal records you have, and your citizenship application and the documents you submitted with it. Without this information, an attorney can only guess as to what to do in your case, so you'll need to get these items together.
- Dig into your immigration history: You'll need to have a copy of your immigration file so an attorney can review it to see what really happened when you applied for your green card. If you don't have the records from your green card application, an attorney can help you file a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of your file and review it to figure out what happened and if there's a chance for you to keep your green card and possibly reapply for citizenship.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, get help at a local nonprofit organization or legal clinic. Here are a few organizations in the Houston area: Catholic Charities or YMCA International Services.
Immigration Lawyer in Houston
There are different ways to deal with this kind of case and to challenge it, and I think everybody needs to be aware of that. As an Immigration Lawyer in Houston, I would be happy to hear about everybody's experiences with this. I think this is a really fascinating issue and it's one that we really have to push hard and challenge and fight for your right as a resident. If you have that type of situation going on, you have questions, and you want to talk to me, the best way for you to contact me is to schedule a consultation on this page (click the orange button to fill out a form):