Alabama Woman Who Joined Islamic State Sues To Return To US

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The father of an Alabama woman who joined the Islamic State in Syria filed suit against the Trump administration Thursday in an effort to allow her return to the United States.

Ahmed Ali Muthana argues in the suit filed in federal court in Washington that his 24-year-old daughter, Hoda Muthana, is an American citizen by birth and should be allowed to come back to the U.S. with her toddler son.

Hoda Muthana is now in a Syrian refugee camp with the 18-month-old boy after fleeing the remnants of the Islamic State.

Her lawyers said in a statement that she expects to be charged with providing material support to terrorism if she is allowed to return to the U.S.

“Ms. Muthana has publicly acknowledged her actions and accepted full responsibility for those actions,” the lawyers said. “In Ms. Muthana’s words, she recognizes that she has ‘ruined’ her own life, but she does not want to ruin the life of her young child.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the young woman is not a citizen and will not be admitted to the country.

The family and their lawyers say they were told that the U.S. determined she did not qualify for citizenship because her father was a Yemeni diplomat at the time of her birth.

But the family argues that is incorrect. They say that her father ceased to be a diplomat before she was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, and that she had a legitimate passport when she left the U.S. to join the Islamic State in Syria in 2014.

The Obama administration initially determined she was not a citizen and notified her family that it was revoking her passport in January 2016.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person born in the U.S. to an accredited foreign diplomatic officer is not subject to U.S. law and is not automatically considered a U.S. citizen at birth.

(AP)




3 COMMENTS

  1. A fascinating question on a very obsure legal issue – that has nothing to do with terrorism or racism or immigration policy. Her parents came to the US as diplomats, but he lost his job a few weeks before the baby was born. Was he still a diplomat (presumably he had a diplomatic passport, and diplomatic immunity, even if he had lost his job – but no one would expect them to travel so close to when the baby was due). At some point in time he applied for a greencard (perhaps as a refugee after a change in government back home, something that is very common for third world diplomatcs). If had already applied for asylum he would clearly be “subject” to American law rather than a diplomat. At what point does an ex-diplomat who doesn’t go home cease being a diplomat and become an illegal alien?

    BUT THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE POLITICAL ISSUES. IT IS A GREAT TOPIC FOR A THEORETICAL LAW REVIEW ARTICLE BUT I SIRRELEVANT TO ONGOING DEBATES ON IMMIGRATION LAW AND TERRORISM.