Integrity Legal

7th June 2010

In previous postings on this blog, we have discussed the naturalization process and the various ways in which individuals can become Citizens of the United States of America. Many believe, erroneously, that once a person is naturalized to US Citizenship, they cannot lose their citizenship. Unfortunately for some, this is not necessarily the case. US law provides for denaturalization under certain circumstances. Generally, denaturalization only occurs in siutuations where the applicant for naturalization was dishonest in their application for US Citizenship. The following is a quote from a recent presss release promulgated by the American Justice Department:

A former member of the Bosnian Serb Army has left the United States to return to Serbia after a federal judge ordered his denaturalization based on concealment during his application for U.S. citizenship that he served in the military during the Bosnian war, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Brian Albritton of the Middle District of Florida and Assistant Secretary John Morton of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Jadranko Gostic, 47 , a former resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., departed the United States on June 1 , 2010. U.S. District Court Judge James Moody in Tampa, Fla., ordered his denaturalization on May 26, 2010. Gostic was indicted in December 2006 on one count of unlawful procurement of citizenship and one count of making false statements. In January 2010, a civil complaint was filed against Gostic alleging illegal procurement of U.S. citizenship and requesting his denaturalization. Court documents allege that Gostic served in the Zvornik Infantry Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army from April 1992 until December 1995. According to court documents, international tribunals have found that some units of the Zvornik Brigade engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity , and that they participated in the July 1995 action against the Srebrenica enclave during which some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed.


Gostic entered the United States in 1999, received lawful permanent residence status in 2002 and was naturalized in 2004. According to court documents, at each stage of the immigration and naturalization process Gostic concealed his service in the Zvornik Brigade, even when specifically asked about his prior military service.


Gostic agreed to admit to the allegations against him, to be denaturalized, to surrender his lawful permanent resident status and to depart the United States. Gostic fulfilled the requirements of this agreement and departed the United States. As a result of his cooperation, the criminal charges against Gostic will be dismissed.


This case was investigated by the ICE Tampa Special-Agent-in-Charge Office and was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney William Kenety in the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Hansen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.


The Criminal Division announced the formation of HRSP on March 30, 2010, as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to bring human rights violators to justice and deny those violators safe haven in the United States. The new section represents a merger of the Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section (DSS) and the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

As can be gathered from the above press release, Denaturalization proceedings are not taken lightly by the American government nor is it a matter that is taken lightly by the US Courts. That said, in certain situations, denaturalization is warranted if the naturalized American’s actions require the implementation of such a measure. This is one more prime example of why honesty is the best policy when it comes to US Immigration as dishonesty can “unravel” one’s lawful status in the United States, even if that status is US Citizenship.

For related information please see:  US Visa Thailand or Child Citizenship Act.


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