Is Hoda Muthana a US citizen & should she be allowed back in the US?

AP story here.

Basically, Hoda Muthana is a lady who left the US to join the Islamic State. She married twice; both husbands were killed while fighting. She had a son with one of the two men. She now says she regrets her decision (she was young, didn’t understand things the way she does now, etc.) and wishes to return to the US with her infant son.

This position apparently relies on whether or not her father was a diplomat when she was born.

So: is Hoda Muthana a US citizen & should she allowed back in the US? If she is a citizen and is denied re-entry, are any of her civil rights being violated? Is there any due process that she is entitled to?

If she has a US passport (and that should be easy to confirm) then baring some mistake at issuance, she must be either a citizen or a non-citizen national. The latter are people of Samoa or other outlying US possessions, and would hardly seem to apply. I don’t see how she can be denied reentry unless and until it is proved that a passport was issued in error.

If she does have or was issued a passport, are the President and Secretary of State violating any of her civil rights by saying she does not? Wouldn’t that be slander at the very least?

My very brief research seems to indicate that, yes, she’s a U S citizen. She was born in the U. S. at a time after her father was a diplomat. The government seemed to agree when it researched her status and granted her a passport.

Since she’s apparently a US citizen, she has her constitutional rights and should be afforded due process. Which simply declaring her not to be a citizen would not seem to meet the standard of due process.

I think she should be allowed back in, immediately taken into custody, and tried for any crimes, including treason and aiding terrorists, that she committed. But she should be allowed to argue to an actual judge that she doesnt deserve to rot in prison for her actions.

I’d be good with this. Let her back in so we can try her for treason.

Right. And as for the obvious next questions, an act of treason or sedition does *not *ipso facto render you a non-citizen; and a voluntary renunciation of US citizenship has to be affirmatively made before a US consular official, not just inferred.

She returns, then faces whatever consequences may actually entail under law.

So, unlike the UK, the US government cannot withdraw US citizenship?

Not really, no. The courts have clamped down on it to the point that it’s basically impossible except when a naturalized citizen is shown to have committed fraud in the naturalization process.

It’s still theoretically possible in certain circumstances, but one of the essential elements is that the person intended to give up their citizenship.

Yeah, the U.S. can’t just say that she’s not their problem - she’s a U.S. citizen, and anything she does, the U.S has to deal with.

Apparently it’s a violation of international law to withdraw citizenship if it leaves that person stateless.

The position of the Secretary of State appears to be that the USA isn’t withdrawing her citizenship, but that she was never a citizen at all and that her passports were issued in error.

What a fascinating test balloon for withdrawing citizenship from other individuals. Naturalized citizens, perhaps.

Purely pragmatically, she’s likely to have information that would be useful for US national security. Probably not actionable info for preventing terrorist attacks (i.e. “X bombing is planned for Y date”), but day-to-day insider knowledge of ISIS/allies culture, routine, hierarchy, etc. – all of which might be very useful for future operations like infiltration and undercover ops. It seems to be the height of foolishness (and thus par for this administration) to reject this potential benefit out of hand to make some sort of political point.

I was under the impression that joining the armed forces of another “country” cost you your American citizenship. Is this not accurate?

IANAL but as I understand it, the facts are she’s not only a US citizen, but a citizen by birth, which is the stronger type of citizen. The United States could rescind her citizenship if she were naturalized by claiming she violated her oath of loyalty to the United States.

A United States citizen can voluntarily give up their citizenship, but that is a lengthy legal process - you’re not relieved of your tax obligations in doing so, either.

On the other hand, a United States citizen can be stripped of their citizenship involuntarily, but that is a formal process and it’s not simply up to the president or his cabinet members to decide by decree. The strongest argument that Trump and Pompeo have is that she took up arms against the United States, but the key is that a person has to do so with, among other things, the intent to give up citizenship. Finding and capturing a US citizen who joined Al Qaeda doesn’t deprive him of citizenship - it has to be established that he did so for, among other reasons, the purpose of relinquishing his US nationality. The subject of intent has to be debated in court - the president can’t just declare ‘it is so.’

Of course what the president can do is hang the threat of a treason conviction and the most extreme legal remedies available over the head of the accused, and collaterally, the family who cares for her well-being.

But what Trump is doing is, once again, daring the courts to stop him. They probably will force him to give in at some point, but he could drag the process out and make it expensive for her family to bring her back home, only to find US prosecutors waiting to chew her up once she gets here. I don’t envy her or her family at all.

Wanted to add, there’s a good article on this from NOLO, who are more qualified to comment on the matter than I am:

It’s ironic, don’t ya think, that this all came to light a day after the Trump called for other nations to take back their foreign fighters and NOT leave them in Syria?

The problem will be if they are sent to trial (for aiding and abetting?), in their home countries, the evidence to convict will be impossible to attain/verify. They will walk free. If they are tried where they are, they will simply claim it’s politically motivated revenge, and not impartial justice. Unfair!

The problem really is that they’ve been radicalized once already. And could radicalize others quite simply by the attention and fame they will definitely receive. They will be in every headline, do every interview, be on every talk show. They’ll be writing books, becoming social media influencers, etc, etc. There is nothing to impede any of this from happening, and they most certainly know it!

The British girl has openly admitted severed heads in buckets were no big thing for her! They withdrew her citizenship saying she technically qualifies through her Bangladeshi mother for citizenship there. Which Bangladesh immediately denied. The rule about not being allowed to make one stateless is going to come into close examination in the days ahead I think.

Already there are issues with nations trying to deport foreign criminals back to countries that then refuse to take them, denying they are theirs! People living for months in airports caught transiting somewhere, unable to move forward or back. Something needs to change but no one seems to have any ideas how!

What a mess!

There are plenty of Americans, and others, who have extensive experience in deprogramming rescued cult members. This one seems to have already largely deprogrammed herself, and she’s willing to come face justice. Denying that, including fabricating excuses not to do it, is just fearmongering. And don’t we want to understand better what motivates a person to take such actions, so we can help prevent it among others? Let her come and tell us.

I think I would need more information to have an opinion. It is agreed (I think) that children born to certain diplomats do not get birthright citizenship. And it is agreed (I think) that at some point prior to her birth, her father was present here as a qualifying diplomat.

As I understand it that her family claims that the father was discharged (fired?) roughly a month prior to her birth thus bringing into question his status as a diplomatic official. As I read the USCIS guidance, the key question isn’t really whether he was a “diplomat” at the time of her birth, but whether he was listed on the State Department’s “Blue List” at the time of birth. cf. 8 CFR 101.3 (“Foreign diplomatic officer means a person listed in the State Department Diplomatic List, also known as the Blue List.”). So, I’d want to know if the father was still listed a month after his discharge (which seems possible, since the internet suggests that the Blue List is published every six months). And I’d want to know if there is a procedure for someone who is still on the list (which is the regulatory definition) but is no longer, in fact, a diplomat. (I suppose I’d also be curious about the status, if any, of a person who is in the country on a diplomatic visa, but has been discharged from office).

The US can revoke citizenship for treason, but it has to be proven first.

I was most assuredly NOT denying anything, nor fabricating anything, certainly not fear mongering.

For someone so into listening and investigating what they may have to teach us, you seem remarkably reticent to even acknowledge the complexities these countries are actually facing. These are the issues they will have to struggle with selling to their citizens.

These people WILL be famous when they get back. It’s already happening in Britain, that girl is doing an interview every day. That’s not a crime. But it’s a reality that will have impact. It seems foolish to just ignore all that.

I for one, think we’ll get to a better place by actually addressing ALL the realities, not refusing to talk about the uncomfortable parts.