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U.S. Chief Justice Alarmed At Trump Stance In Balkan Immigrant's Case

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts attends a memorial at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., last month.

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has questioned the stance of President Donald Trump's administration in an immigration case, saying it could make it too easy for the government to strip people of citizenship for lying about minor infractions.

Deported ethnic Serb immigrant Divna Maslenjak is trying to regain her U.S. citizenship, which she obtained as a refugee in 2007, and subsequently lost because she falsely stated her husband had not served in a Bosnian Serb Army brigade that participated in the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

She and her husband were deported to Serbia in October 2016.

Roberts and other Supreme Court justices indicated support for Maslenjak's case. Roberts indicated on April 26 he was concerned that the government was asserting it could revoke citizenship through criminal prosecution for trivial lies or omissions.

Roberts described the administration's interpretation as inviting "prosecutorial abuse" because the government could likely find a reason for stripping citizenship from most naturalized citizens.

"That to me is troublesome to give that extraordinary power, which, essentially, is unlimited power, at least in most cases, to the government," Roberts added.

Trump has sought to restrict immigration and deport people who have entered the United States illegally.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP