CARTERET, N.J. (AP) — Officials stripped a New Jersey resident of his citizenship because they said he used a false name when he entered the United States more than 25 years ago.
Baljinder Singh became the first person to be denaturalized under Operation Janus, a Homeland Security Department initiative that revokes the citizenship of those who circumvented background checks during the naturalization process. A judge revoked his citizenship Friday, according to the U.S. Justice Department, which announced the ruling Tuesday.
Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said Singh "exploited" the U.S. immigration system, "which undermines both the nation's security and our lawful immigration system."
Federal authorities accused the Carteret resident of using an alias to avoid deportation. Prosecutors said Singh, who was born in India, arrived in the U.S. in 1991 with no proof of identity and gave authorities the name Davinder Singh.
A judge ordered him to be deported in January 1992 after he failed to appear in immigration court. Singh filed an application for asylum under the name Baljinder the following month, and he married a U.S. citizen, according to prosecutors.
Singh's application for permanent residency was approved in 1996, and he became a naturalized citizen in 2006. He didn't include his former deportation order in the application, according to prosecutors.
The Justice Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services filed the civil denaturalization complaint against Singh in September.
An additional 1,600 cases similar to Singh's will be recommended for prosecution, according to the Justice Department.
Singh is now characterized as a lawful permanent resident, a change the means he could face deportation.