In February, [Reaz H. Jafri, a partner at Withers Bergman] received an e-mail that State’s Foreign Affairs Manual had been revised to instruct diplomats that a U.S. passport can be returned to the “intended expatriate” if she or he needs to travel to the United States before the “loss of nationality case is approved.”
Of course, if a person has already lost U.S. citizenship, it is illegal both for the State Department to give the person a U.S. passport (22 USC § 212), and for the person to use that passport enter the United States as a citizen — such usage is not only a federal crime (18 USC § 911), but makes you inadmissible to the United States in the future (8 USC § 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii)). So, according to a Wednesday article by Mr. Jafri himself, the State Department takes the legally-dubious position that you are still a citizen until they say you aren’t:
[The Department of State's] long-standing position has been that while the CLN was pending, the renunciant remained a U.S. citizen and thus was ineligible to be issued a visa to visit the U.S. for business, pleasure or other purposes (U.S. citizens are not eligible for visas).
The Second Circuit might be rather surprised to hear that, considering what they wrote in United States ex rel. Marks v. Esperdy, 315 F.2d 673 (1963):
It is equally clear that Congress sought by the enactment of Section 356 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C. 1488, to have loss of nationality occur immediately upon the commission of expatriating acts: ‘The loss of nationality under this Part shall result solely from the performance by a national of the acts or fulfillment of the conditions specified in this Part.’