Unmaking Americans: Insecure Citizenship in the United States

Publication date: 
September 2019
The report cover of Unmaking Americans, by Open Society Justice Initiative

In the United States, citizenship is a unifying force built around a core set of commonly agreed ideals, including the inherent equality of all people. Yet U.S. citizenship law and practice are marked by gaps, weaknesses, and opportunities for arbitrary decision-making. Today, those gaps and weaknesses are being exploited to take U.S. citizenship away from members of marginalized groups. 

This report and corresponding fact sheet document three techniques currently being used to attack the identity and sense of belonging of U.S. citizens: 

  • denaturalizations, which is the stripping of U.S. citizenship from naturalized Americans
  • denial and revocation of U.S. passports, which is the discretionary deprivation of Americans' proof of citizenship
  • political attacks on citizenship by birth, which has normalized policy proposals that would fundamentally alter American society by denying U.S. citizenship to children born in the U.S. to non-citizens

Unmaking Americans looks at the costs of these initiatives, providing first-hand accounts from affected U.S. citizens. The report also shows how current efforts to destabilize the security of citizenship for certain groups fit within historical patterns of politicians seeking to manipulate xenophobia for political gain, and offers recommendations for reform that would prevent further abuse. 

Find More By

Related Organizations: 
Resource type: