Nora Graham


This Note will examine the rise and fall of denationalization in the United States and argue that Section 501 of Patriot Act II, which seeks to revive denationalization by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act, will be unconstitutional if passed by Congress in its present form. Part II of this Note will examine the history of denationalization in the United States. Part Ill explores in detail the proposed amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act in Section 501 of Patriot Act II that provide for a revival of denationalization. This section also discusses the potential for abuses that may result if this legislation is enacted, as suggested by several critics of Patriot Act II, including the use of denationalization against citizens who are members of groups that express unpopular political views or even using denationalization as a way to detain individuals indefinitely once they have lost their rights as citizens. Part IV discusses why Patriot Act II is an unconstitutional attempt to strip Americans of their citizenship, rather than a way to protect our country from terrorism. This section focuses on the constitutional protections provided for citizenship by the Fourteenth Amendment, and emphasizes Patriot Act II's attempt to overcome these protections through eliminating the government's burden to prove a citizen's intent to renounce citizenship by a preponderance of evidence. Part IV also analyzes Section 501 of Patriot Act II's use of denationalization as a punishment which has been held unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. In conclusion, this Note recommends that if presented with Patriot Act II, Congress should reject this proposed legislation because of its unconstitutional attempt to revive denationalization.