February 28, 2018
H.R. 5065, the Protecting Our Communities from Gang Violence Act, would revoke the citizenship of people who acquired citizenship through naturalization and became involved in gang activity either ten years prior or within ten years of becoming a citizen. As Congressman Zeldin stated upon introduction, “United States naturalization is a privilege not a right, and those who have had this privilege bestowed upon them must respect and uphold the laws of our land.”
one of the general requirements that an applicant for naturalization must demonstrate is good moral character. This character is measured against the standards of an average citizen in the community where the applicant resides. While some “character flaws,” such as being a drunkard or adulterer, can bar an applicant conditionally; others, such as being a murderer or a human trafficker, can bar an applicant permanently. Under H.R. 5065, an individual’s gang affiliation—either prior to or within ten years of naturalization—would serve as prima facie evidence that an individual is not attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and as such, be sufficient to not only prevent, but revoke naturalization.