Denaturalization proceedings are rare, however, under the current administration there has been an increased emphasis and dedication of resources towards these cases. While the absolute number of denaturalization cases per year remains low, there is a fear that these efforts will have a chilling effect on the number of legal permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship. During this session, learn more about recent efforts to increase denaturalization cases, the legal grounds and process for denaturalizing a citizen, the consequences of denaturalization, and how to reduce the risk of denaturalization through red flag screening during the naturalization process.
Eric Cohen has been with the ILRC since 1988, and has been its Executive Director since 2007. He has extensive experience training attorneys, paralegals, community advocates, and organizers on a variety of immigration law, immigrants’ rights, and leadership development topics. Eric is a national expert on naturalization and citizenship law and is the primary author of the ILRC’s manual entitled, Naturalization and U.S. Citizenship: The Essential Legal Guide. Eric helped develop ILRC's community model for naturalization workshops. Additionally, Eric has worked on voter outreach and education programs for naturalized citizens.
Prior to working at the ILRC, Eric worked with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Labor Immigrant Assistance Project where he worked on legalization and union organizing campaigns.
Eric obtained a B.A. degree in History from Colorado College and a J.D. degree from Stanford Law School. He is conversant in Spanish and is a member of the State Bar of California.
Nikki joined the ILRC in October of 2015. Nikki focuses on immigration enforcement issues, including efforts to limit local law enforcement's cooperation with federal immigration agencies. She contributes to ILRC's work with schools and develops know-your-rights resources. Nikki also works on ILRC's manuals, practice advisories, webinars, and other resources. Nikki has co-authored several publications including Hardship in Immigration Law: How to Prepare Winning Applications for Hardship Waivers and Cancellation of Removal (ILRC), Know Your Rights: A Train the Trainer Toolkit, Arming the Community with Education (ILRC), The Rise of Sanctuary: Getting Local Officers out of the Business of Deportations in the Trump Era (ILRC), Searching for Sanctuary: An Analysis of America's Counties & Their Voluntary Assistance with Deportations (ILRC), and Local Options for Protecting Immigrants: A Collection of City and County Policies to Protect Immigrants from Discrimination and Deportation (ILRC).
In law school, Nikki participated in the Immigrants' Rights Clinic and worked at the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. Prior to law school, Nikki worked at Polaris, an anti-human trafficking organization, where she focused on state policy and worked on their National Human Trafficking Hotline. Nikki has also worked on issues related to economic security for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Nikki earned her law degree from Stanford Law School. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, where she majored in public policy and economics. Nikki also received a master’s degree in international relations and international economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She is admitted to the California bar. She is conversant in Spanish.
Sameera Hafiz is the ILRC’s Senior Policy Strategist based in Washington, DC. Sameera, who began working at the ILRC in 2017, leads ILRC’s advocacy and engagement on federal immigration policy. Sameera brings nearly two decades of experience supporting campaigns and coalitions focused on racial justice, fighting harsh immigration enforcement policies and ending violence against women. Prior to joining the ILRC, Sameera was the Advocacy Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance where she led the organization’s anti-trafficking and immigration policy work, as well as the legal team. Previously Sameera served as the Director of Policy and Campaigns at Rights Working Group, a national coalition addressing racial profiling and other human rights violations affecting communities of color in the US. Sameera was also a Senior Staff Attorney with the Legal Momentum Immigrant Women Program, where she advocated with legislators and executive agencies for policies supporting the needs of immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. Prior to that, Sameera represented individuals before Citizenship and Immigration Services, immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals with the Legal Aid Society of New York and she began her legal career at Safe Horizon, representing survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence in family and immigration matters.
Sameera earned her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center where she participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania where she double-majored in English and sociology. Sameera is admitted to the bar in New York and Washington, DC and is fluent in Bengali.