Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced in March that a citizenship question would be included on the upcoming census.
She took the oath of citizenship in 2007, a step she felt would secure her status in her adopted homeland. But hers, it turns out, is not a feel-good immigrant story: The Justice Department has moved to revoke Ms. Borgoño’s citizenship, an action that could eventually force her to return to Peru.
She has been fighting for that right since she was thrown off the ballot in May, first by an administrative law judge, then by the Georgia secretary of state, Brian Kemp. Her legal battle comes against the backdrop of a state whose population is rapidly changing, a governor’s race with illegal immigration as a white-hot issue among conservatives, and a nationwide fear among liberals that their opponents are rigging the system to keep people of color out of the voting booths — and out of office.
Norma Borgono is a 63-year-old grandmother in Miami, scrambling to make ends meet while living with a rare kidney disease. The 28 years she’s spent in the US since arriving from Peru haven’t been easy or perfect: In 2011, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for her role in a scheme to defraud the Export-Import Bank.
Now a federal lawsuit seeking to block the question has cast doubt on the department’s explanation and the veracity of the man who offered it, Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. And it has given the plaintiffs in the suit — attorneys general for 17 states, the District of Columbia and a host of cities and counties — broad leeway to search for evidence that the critics are correct.
The Tuesday ceremony was one of about 175 events the agency planned across the country to naturalize more than 14,000 people around the Fourth of July.
Attorneys representing at least 40 people recruited through a program meant to attract talented enlistees — those with special language or medical skills — say their clients have been discharged or had their military status put into doubt in recent days.
The sound heralded the pageantry that was moments away, when nearly 70 people would ascend the stairs of Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop plantation in one of the country’s largest outdoor naturalization ceremonies.
The National Partnership for New Americans found that there has been an 87 percent increase in pending naturalization applications as of the end of 2017 compared to 2015 (when Barack Obama was president), according to a report by NBC News.
Southern District of New York Judge Jesse Furman also granted Underwood’s request for discovery, the statement said.