Alabama ISIS Bride wants to come home... [UPDATED - Citizenship?]

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Alabama ISIS Bride wants to come home...  [UPDATED - Citizenship?]

I'll start with the two videos I saw first, and then go into some of the rest.  

First, from NBC:

This video from ABC is the real winner...

She thinks she should have to face counselling?  Um.  Really?  That's it?  

The Guardian has more about her, and the efforts to bring her home:

The lawyer for Hoda Muthana, the US woman who fled Islamic State and now wants to return home, has called for her to be a voice of a deradicalisation programme that dissuades others from joining the terror group and counters online manipulation.

Hassan Shibly, an attorney who has represented Muthana’s family in the four years since she left her home in Alabama for Syria, says Muthana, 24, is prepared to face the US justice system.

“She wants to come back to the United States to be accountable for her mistakes and then be a powerful voice to make sure others don’t repeat those same mistakes,” Shibly said in response to an interview Muthana gave to the Guardian on Monday from a detention camp in Syria.

“Hoda Muthana was a vulnerable young woman who was taken advantage of by these terrorist criminal masterminds who ultimately brainwashed her and led her to make some horrible choices that she deeply regrets.”

If she left 4 years ago it means she was 19 when she went.  I'll grant you that's young, but it's not young enough to escape culpability.

And she was 20 when she was sending out tweets encouraging people to attack Americans as the New York Post details:

For four years, Hoda Muthana was a member of the Islamic State. She fled her Alabama home to Syria, where she married and supported three ISIS fighters. She bore one of their children. All around her, women were raped, the innocent were slaughtered, those deemed “unfaithful” were thrown from roofs or set on fire.

Muthana cheered.

“Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping!” she tweeted in 2015.

“Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades..go on drive by’s + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them.”

Another New York Post notes what she may be looking at in terms of punishment:

“If I were advising her, I’d tell her coming back to the United States may be risky for her,” former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said.

Muthana could be charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization, Dershowitz said, but he described it as a “close call” if all she did was talk, tweet and send emails.

Manhattan defense lawyer Michael Bachrach, who helped represent the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian court, said Muthana “can certainly be charged with attempted material support of terrorism, material support of terrorism, as well as a conspiracy count.”

“With each count it could be a 15- to 20-year max, which could run consecutively,” he added, referring to her potential prison sentence.

Manhattan defense lawyer Jeffrey Hoffman said Muthana’s “exhortations to drive into crowds to kill people” could also lead the feds to charge her with inciting to riot.

I'm sure someone will have sympathy for her, but it's not me.  We've had soldiers younger than her killed trying to stop these people, and she willingly ran off and joined them.  Her thinking she deserves only mental health counseling is bananas.



So this case gets curiouser.  According to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:

Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria.

This was followed by a statement from President Trump:

I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!

But, not so fast my friends…..

Ms. Muthana’s father was a Yemeni diplomat, and children born in the United States to active diplomats are not bestowed birthright citizenship, since diplomats are under the jurisdiction of their home countries.

That law does not apply in Ms. Muthana’s case, said Charlie Swift, the director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, who is representing her family. Ms. Muthana, he said, was born a month after her father was discharged from his position as a United Nations diplomat.

After she joined the Islamic State, Mr. Swift said, Ms. Muthana’s family received a letter indicating that her passport had been revoked. Her father sent the government evidence of his nondiplomatic status at the time of his daughter’s birth, but did not receive a response.

Mr. Swift said Ms. Muthana had in fact been issued two American passports: one when she was a child, and a renewal she applied for herself just before leaving for Syria. In the case of the first, he says that her father provided a letter from the United Nations proving that he had been discharged, to overcome the jurisdictional challenge.

ABC briefly covered the debate:

A website entitled Just Security has a great piece on the legal aspect, which boils down to three questions:

Is Muthana an American Citizen?

…when Muthana previously applied for (and received) a US passport, “her father was asked to produce proof that he had been discharged from his diplomatic post.” Thus, not only does it appear that she was entitled to citizenship at the time of her birth, but that the State Department itself so concluded as recently as 2014. To be sure, the State Department’s prior determination is not necessarily conclusive. But it is deeply suggestive of the conclusion that Muthana’s father was, as a matter of law, no longer entitled to diplomatic immunity at the time of her birth, and so her birth on U.S. soil entitled her to birthright citizenship. 

Can Muthana’s Citizenship Be Revoked?

Even if Muthana was lawfully a citizen, that would not necessarily mean the government lacks the power to revoke her citizenship. But expatriation is limited to a hyper-specific set of cases spelled out at 8 U.S.C. § 1481(a), and none of those categories seem to apply here. Even 8 U.S.C. § 1481(a)(7), which allows expatriation of those who commit treason or other hostile acts against the U.S. government, requires that they be “convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction” before they can be expatriated. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened here.

If Muthana Is a Citizen, Does She Have a Right To Return to the United States?

The Supreme Court has held that the government is allowed to revoke passports for national security or foreign policy reasons, so long as it provides due process. But revoking a passport (to deny a right to travel abroad) is not the same thing as refusing the right of a citizen to return home. Although the Supreme Court has never squarely been presented with such a case, it seems likely that, in an appropriate case, the Court would recognize that someone who is lawfully a citizen has the right to return to the United States. At the very least, it should have to follow from the passport cases that, even if the government has the right to prevent a citizen from returning to the United States, it must provide a significant amount of process in such cases.

And that leads to the most important point here: Although the State Department’s own Manual and regulations clearly outline a process for resolving disputes over citizenship, there is no indication that any of those procedures have been followed here. Wish though they might, neither the Secretary of State nor even the President of the United States have the power to determine an individual’s citizenship by fiat. (Imagine if it were otherwise.)

Andrew McCarthy of the New York Post pretty much seconds the analysis above, although he believes she should be tried immediately when she returns:

It is entirely reasonable to posit that, because she has committed treason, Muthana should be deemed to have renounced her American citizenship by making war on our country. But that is not the law.

A person who is an American citizen by birth may not have that citizenship revoked without her consent. In its 1973 Afroyim v. Rusk decision, the Supreme Court reasoned that the Constitution does not grant Congress the power to strip an American of citizenship because, in our system, the people are sovereign -- the government serves us, it is not the source of our citizenship.

I think this is ill-considered. Citizenship implies obligations of fealty as well as benefits. Traitorous acts should be construed as renouncing those obligations, and thus renouncing citizenship itself.

Moreover, there are situations in which the power of government to revoke citizenship is recognized. Granted, these involve naturalized citizens who procure citizenship by fraud. But a section of our immigration law permits revocation if a naturalized citizen joins a subversive organization within five years of becoming a citizen. The legalistic theory is that this is a form of fraud: You can’t have taken the oath of citizenship seriously if, so soon after being naturalized, you’ve joined such a group -- e.g., al Qaeda. But the more salient point, I believe, is that you have renounced the obligations of citizenship; it should not matter if you are a born or a naturalized American if you make war against America.

Alas, that is not how the law is interpreted. Muthana will be permitted re-entry into our country. She should be prosecuted for treason and terrorism offenses. Indeed, the Justice Department should indict her now, so that she has fair notice of what she faces if she chooses to return.

As much as I hate it, it does appear to me that she must be allowed to return and then face the charges.  And I hope those charges are fairly serious, since she clearly betrayed her country.  But that’s just the problem, according to the laws and previous Supreme Court precedent, this is her country.  I get not wanting her back, but due process will probably require that she come back before any revocation occurs.

Posted in the burner | 12 comments
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Not deserving to return to OUR country. She gave it up and now it's gone.

I think she should return and face charges. She should serve prison time, if found guilty; she should be under "probation" for at least 10 years to be sure she has recanted of the evil of joining a terror group; she should help the FBI and Homeland security to understand terrorist organisations; she should do supervised speaking engagements to tell others first hand of the horrors of cults/ terrorist groups. She is a very young person who did a really stupid thing and lived to tell about it and escape its horrors. Yes, she should face punishment but humans have the capacity to grow and change and do better. Which of us, upon becoming a parent didn't re-think many life choices? It's complex, but I think every human being has value.

Should Hoda Muthana return to the U.S. with her child, I would sincerely hope the mother and child would not receive any welfare benefits.

They didn't put to trial Jane Fonda what makes anyone think that she would come to justice in today's liberal court system. She wanted to be there, revoke her citizenship ( which I understand she does not have) and let her rot over there.

I agree that (if ) she committed a crime spending time with ISIS, and was a participant in the atrocities causing our kids from never coming home, then she deserves the fullest punishment our laws allow. Hopefully,( if) she does, she most probably welcome prison here rather wandering through out the s%^t hole she came from. Personally, I hope she pays for the deaths of our boys and girls who never made it home.

She made video flashing her US passport saying no need for this will be burning later, is that an overt act regarding renouncing US Citizenship? She obviously gave comfort and support to the enemy, if she is allowed to renter the country she should be arrested at customs and tried (and hopefully convicted) for her actions; the problem with jail is she might act as ISIS recruiter.

Operation Paperclip allowed thousands of avowed Nazi supporters in to the US with little or no repercussions - one high ranking Nazi was put in charge of NASA! This person should be allowed to return to to the US.

Just carve a swastika on her forhead first

How is it that she is still alive after disavowing ISIS?
It could be a plot to get her back into the US to help them. They see our forgiving tendency’s and our freedom as a weakness and exploit them all the time.
I would not trust her.

I understand what people feel about her and that she is a traitor. We need to remember that we are in an unending war against a ideology and we have young people who can be influenced by this ideology. We need to use her in the fight against this ideology. Let her come back, jail time but she must work for the U.S. government in the field of communicate to influence people against this ideology.

I am a retired Immigration Officer. Citizenship can ONLY be lost in 1 of 2 ways under US laws. ONE is materially lying on a naturalization application. Key is a material lie. TWO is going abroad and voluntarily renouncing citizenship in writing at a US embassy. Your passport is taken from you. NO law permits removing citizenship for any reason other than these two. As a practical matter renunciation cannot be done inside the US because there is no way to deport or even voluntarily enter another nation without any passport at all.

Did you notice also that I am a US citizen and a long time member of the American Legion. I will also no doubt return and die in the United States. I am also a USA voter. And I sure as hell aam not a liberal.

Absolutely not

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.