The Justice Department confirmed that the department has created an office to strip citizenship rights from naturalized immigrants and foreigners who failed to disclose their criminal past or otherwise lied in the naturalization process.

It’s the latest move to give the Trump administration broad efforts to remove immigrants from the country who have committed crimes. 

The DOJ said it created the section in anticipation of “a growing number of referrals” from law enforcement agencies.

“This move underscores the department’s commitment to bring justice to terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders and other fraudsters who illegally obtained naturalization,”  Joseph Hunt, the head of the Justice Department’s civil division, said in a statement.

But critics argue that the administration’s desire to prioritize denaturalization underscores the idea that naturalized citizens have fewer rights than those born in the United States. They also argue that immigrants should not assume that they cannot be deported even if they go through the naturalization process.

Denaturalization is not a new concept.  The DOJ pursued them under the Obama Administration by targeting people who lied on their applications and committed other crimes.

But the numbers have increased under the Trump Administration, as reported in the New York Times.  Of the 228 denaturalization cases that the department has filed since 2008, about 40 percent of them were filed since 2017, according to official department numbers.