Supreme Court Ruling
Issued on June 22, 2017

Policy Summary

On June 22nd the Supreme Court unanimously ruled 9-0 that one’s citizenship can be stripped, only if the false statements made on the citizenship application were relevant to the granting of the citizenship. This ruling served as a rebuke to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled that false statements did not need to be material to the granting of the citizenship, in order for one’s citizenship to be revoked. Writing for the majority Justice Elena Kagan stated: “We hold that the government must establish that an illegal act by the defendant played some role in her acquisition of citizenship”.

Policy Analysis

This ruling strengthens the value of American citizenship making it harder for that citizenship to be revoked.  The unanimous ruling comes on the heels of yet another unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court in a case regarding whether offensive names are covered under free speech. This pattern points to the fact that while the country remains divided on a wide range of issues, on other issues such as citizenship and free speech there is rare bipartisan agreement.

Engagement Resources

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Resources: This site contains resources such as ESL and citizenship prep classes  for those seeking a US citizenship
  • Get involved with The New Americans Campaign – The New Americans Campaign is a non-profit organization that helps legal immigrants obtain citizenship. To date, they have helped 250,000 immigrants obtain citizenship.
  • Donate to the NALEO – the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund is dedicated to increasing Latino involvement in electoral politics. You can donate to them through their website

This brief was compiled by William Lucier. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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