- Doubling down on an earlier decision by the Department of State, the Department of Justice said in a Monday court filing that the “ISIS bride” Hoda Muthana “is not and has never been a US citizen,” CNN reported.
- The decision was in response to a lawsuit brought against the US government by Muthana’s father, who said his US-born daughter is a US citizen.
- The Department of Justice said Muthana’s father, a former Yemeni diplomat, had an active diplomatic status at the time of Muthana’s birth, thus preventing her from obtaining US citizenship by birth – even though she was born in New Jersey.
- Her father said he stepped down from his diplomatic post one month before her birth, but the department said the American mission was not officially notified until the following year.
- Muthana, 24, ran away more than four years ago to join ISIS in Syria, where she married ISIS militants and advocated for violent attacks on Americans online. She has since said she regrets her actions and is trying to come back to the US.
Muthana, 24, ran away more than four years ago to join ISIS in Syria, where she married multiple ISIS militants and became an outspoken advocate online for attacks on Americans.
As the ISIS caliphate crumbled, Muthana deserted the terrorist group with her infant son. She was later picked up by Kurdish forces, and she is being held in detention at a refugee camp in northern Syria.
For weeks she has been begging to return to the US, saying she is a US citizen. Both the Department of Justice and the Department of State have rejected this assertion.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement in late February that Muthana “is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” adding she “does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”
The Department of Justice’s statement on Monday came in response to a lawsuit brought against the federal government last month by Muthana’s father, who said his daughter is a US citizen. Justice Department prosecutors said in the filing that because her father, a former Yemeni diplomat, was under the diplomatic protections of his home country at the time of her birth, she did not obtain US citizenship by birth, CNN reported.
But Muthana’s lawyer showed INSIDER a letter from the United Nations that he said shows Muthana’s father’s diplomatic status ended a month before his daughter was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, in October 1994.
Prosecutors said while Muthana’s father stepped down from his post in September 1994, the UN did not notify the American mission until the following year, suggesting that he was a diplomat until February 1995.
Under the provisions of the 14th Amendment, anyone born in the US is entitled to citizenship; however, this does not apply to children of individuals under the diplomatic protections of a foreign country.
The earlier decision from the Department of State was apparently directed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted about it after Pompeo’s statement was released. “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Trump wrote.
Muthana, who said she made a “big stupid mistake” because of her youth, lashed out at the president in a recent interview with CBS News. Asked what she would like to say to the president, she said, “I would tell him to study the legal system, because apparently I am allowed back. I have papers. I have citizenship.”
Muthana previously held a US passport, but that was issued to her “in error,” Monday’s court filing said. The Department of State notified her in 2016 that her passport was no longer valid.
A federal judge rejected the family’s request to expedite the lawsuit on Monday, dismissing the family’s claims that Muthana faces an imminent threat if she remains in Syria.
In the UK, the government faced a similar situation with the teen ISIS bride Shamima Begum, who wanted to return home. Unlike Muthana, who has expressed remorse, Begum reportedly said she had no regrets. The UK stripped her of her citizenship last month, effectively banning her from the country.
Germany is also preparing to do the same to ISIS fighters who have dual citizenship, Reuters reported Monday.
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