The Immigration and Naturalization Service has authority to institute either administrative or judicial proceedings to denaturalize citizens whose criminal convictions disqualified them from citizenship as a matter of law. Whether the proceedings are administrative or judicial, the INS must establish the allegations in its complaint by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence.
The INS has no authority to seek denaturalization if the INS examiner had discretion to find that an applicant was of good moral character, and in fact did exercise that discretion so as to find that the applicant was of good moral character, unless the INS establishes in its complaint by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence either that the applicant gave false testimony with the intention of obtaining an immigration benefit or that the examiner’s decision resulted from the applicant's willful misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact.
The INS may seek denaturalization if the applicant made a false oral statement under oath (regardless of whether the testimony is material) with the subjective intent of obtaining immigration benefits. Alternatively, the INS may seek denaturalization if the applicant procured naturalization by concealment or willful misrepresentation of a material fact. In either case, the INS must prove its complaint by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence.