How Did Shahzad Become U.S. Citizen; Will He Remain One?


How did would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad become a U.S. citizen a year ago? The New York Times says that question is under fresh scrutiny. A key issue is when Shahzad turned against his adopted country. The answer could determine whether the unraveling of his immigrant success story ends with the revocation of his U.S. citizenship.

The typical grounds for denaturalization are fraud or misrepresentation in the reams of immigration forms that Shahzad filled out over the years. Even if he never lied, an obscure anti-Communist statute enacted half a century ago could be used to revoke his citizenship, said Donald Kerwin of the Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute. The law says that within five years of naturalization, any affiliation that would have precluded citizenship – like membership in a terrorist organization – is prima facie evidence that the person “was not attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and was not well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States at the time of naturalization.” In the absence of countervailing evidence, that affiliation is enough to authorize revocation.

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