It doesn’t happen very often, but on Monday, U.S. authorities revoked U.S. citizenship from the would-be al-Qaeda terrorist convicted of planning to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge in 2003.
“The Justice Department filed a civil suit to revoke the naturalization of Iyman Faris, a Pakistan native, who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for providing material support to the terrorist organization,” the Washington Times reported.
Faris’ terrorism-related conviction was reportedly the reason he lost his citizenship. However, authorities noted that the civil action “was based on evidence that he lied during the course of the naturalization process — including fraudulently using another man’s passport when he initially entered the United States in 1994 and lying about the circumstances under which he entered the United States.”
According to acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler, known or suspected terrorists who have used fraud to obtain U.S. citizenship will face the same treatment.
“The Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation will continue to pursue denaturalization proceedings against known or suspected terrorists who procured their citizenship by fraud,” said Readler. “The U.S. government is dedicated to strengthening the security of our nation and preventing the exploitation of our nation’s immigration system by those who would do harm to our country.”
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Obtaining citizenship through fraud is a valid reason for revocation of an immigrant’s U.S. citizenship, according to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The would-be terrorist admitted to having “traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in late 2000 to meet with Osama bin Laden and other senior Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,” according to the report.
It was noted that upon his return to the U.S. in 2002, Faris began looking into ways in which “blowtorches could be used to sever the Brooklyn Bridge suspension cables and sent updates back to al-Qaeda operatives about the plan, finally telling them security was too tight around the bridge to carry out the attack.”
According to the Bureau of Prisons, Faris could be released from prison in 2020.
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