Number of People Wrongfully Given American Citizenship Much Higher Than Originally Reported

Homeland Security Department headquarters
Homeland Security Department headquarters / AP

CNN’s Jake Tapper reported on Tuesday that the number of people who were wrongly granted American citizenship when they were supposed to be deported is much higher than originally reported.

The number of individuals who were supposed to have been deported but were instead granted citizenship is far higher than was initially reported by media covering the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's office report on the matter.

On Monday, the Inspector General reported that 858 individuals from "special interest countries" — meaning countries that are considered to be "of concern to the national security" of the US — were supposed to have been deported but were instead granted US citizenship.

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The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's office said in a footnote that 1,811 people had been granted citizenship wrongly.

But the truth is the report is even worse than reported, with more than 1,800 individuals naturalized who should have been deported from the country.

[…]

That amounts to a total of 1,811 individuals granted citizenship who should not have been.

The new number is an increase of 953 people from the original number reported.

Tapper speculated that the original number had been erroneously reported because of the report’s narrow focus on individuals who were wrongly granted citizenship because their digital fingerprint records could not be found during the naturalization process.

A reason for the underplaying of the number may have been the report's focus, which was whether the US Citizenship and Immigration Services was using digital fingerprints effectively.

The other 953 people were disclosed in one of the report’s footnotes, which said the inspector general could not determine if there had been issues with the individuals' fingerprint records, but that they should have been deported nevertheless.

Some of the individuals who were wrongly granted citizenship hailed from "countries of concern" and "neighboring countries where there is a history of fraud."

This other group consisted of members of a slightly broader classification, from countries of concern as well as from neighboring countries where there is a history of fraud.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying it will look into the 1,811 individuals wrongly granted citizenship.