By Jon Dougherty
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted a lawsuit filed on behalf of the wife of an Islamic State fighter during a segment on “Fox News Sunday,” forcefully noting that she’s a “non-citizen terrorist” who “is not coming back” into the United States.
The suit, filed against the Trump administration last week by Ahmed Ali Muthana, father of Hoda Muthana, 24, of Alabama, argues that she’s an American citizen by birth and as such, the government must recognize that and “accept Ms. Muthana and her son back into the United States and to use all available means to do so.”
But Pompeo said that Muthana intentionally left the United States to join ISIS and that in doing so she deliberately endangered American soldiers, adding that the suit won’t prevail in court.
“She’s a non-citizen terrorist; she has no legal basis for a claim of U.S. citizenship,” Pompeo told anchor Chris Wallace.
“She’s not coming back to the United States to create the risk that someday she’d return to the battlefield and continue to put at risk American people, American kids, American boys and girls that were sent to help defeat ISIS — she put them at risk, she’s not a U.S. citizen, she’s not coming back,” Pompeo insisted.
Muthana has been pleading with American officials to allow her back into the U.S. after she recently escaped ISIS and capture by Kurdish forces. According to records, she was born in Hackensack, N.J., in 1994, Fox News reports, adding:
Muthana’s father was a diplomat, something her legal representative, Hassan Shibly, acknowledged Wednesday. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, children born in the United States to accredited foreign diplomatic officers do not acquire citizenship under the 14th Amendment since they are not born subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. at the time.
However, Shibly says Muthana’s father stopped being a diplomat months before Hoda was born in New Jersey.
Pressed by Wallace regarding a claim of birthright citizenship and whether her father’s former diplomatic status was being factored into the government’s decision, Pompeo said, “There’s litigation ongoing. Here’s what I can tell you: We have a strong legal basis for our claim she’s not a citizen, and she’s not coming back.”
Earlier in the week, Pompeo said in a statement that Muthana had “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.”
POTUS Donald Trump also weighed in on the issue earlier in the week, noting he had ordered Pompeo to keep the woman out of the country.
I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
The birthright citizenship issue aside, federal law — specifically 18 U.S. Code § 2339A — makes it a crime to provide “material support to terrorists,” which includes the provision of “service” and/or “personnel.” A conviction for said offense is 15 years to life, depending on whether there were any deaths involved.
NBC News reports that Muthana is now staying in a refugee camp with her 18-month-old son after fleeing the remnants of the caliphate.
“I know in fact that I was a citizen,” she told NBC News. “When I tried filing for a passport it was very easy. It came in 10 days. So, I thought I didn’t have a problem, and I’m sure there is no problem and I know my lawyer hopefully is working on it and he will win the case.”
When asked what she expects will happen if she is allowed to return to the U.S., Muthana replied, “Of course I’ll be given jail time.”
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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