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.
ILRC’s Policy Director, Sameera Hafiz, leads ILRC’s policy team, which engages in policy advocacy at the federal, state and local levels in DC, California and Texas. Sameera is also an active member of the Immigrant Justice Network (IJN). Sameera brings nearly two decades of experience supporting campaigns and coalitions focused on racial justice, fighting the criminalization of immigrants and ending violence against women. Prior to joining the ILRC, Sameera was the Advocacy Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance where she led the organization’s legal team, anti-trafficking campaign and immigration policy work. 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 for policies supporting the needs of immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. Prior to that, Sameera represented individuals in various immigration matters at the Immigration Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York and she began her legal career at Safe Horizon, representing survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.
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.