U.S. Accused of Trying to Unconstitutionally Strip Citizenship of U.S.-Born Woman Who Joined ISIS

U.S. Accused of Trying to Unconstitutionally Strip Citizenship of U.S.-Born Woman Who Joined ISIS


With the self-proclaimed Islamic State on
the verge of losing its last area of control in Syria, nations around the world are debating
what do with the men and women who joined ISIS but now want to return home. Here in the United States, the debate centers
on a 24-year-old U.S.-born woman who left her family in Alabama in 2014 and moved to
Syria, where she lived in the ISIS-controlled caliphate. While in Syria, Hoda Muthana married a series
of ISIS fighters, all of whom died in battle. Now she’s living in a refugee camp in Syria
with her 18-month-old son. Last week, she spoke to ABC about how she
first came to be a supporter of ISIS. HODA MUTHANA: When I was 17, I had an account
on Twitter. And we were all just normal Muslims speaking
together, and like we were just learning off of each other, feeding off of each other. We heard the caliphate was announced, and
then we interpreted ourselves that it was obligatory upon us to go. AMY GOODMAN: Hoda Muthana is now seeking to
return to the United States with her son, but it’s set off a debate that has gone
all the way to the White House. Last week, President Trump tweeted, quote,
“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow
Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” The Trump administration is claiming Muthana
is not a U.S. citizen, even though she was born in the United States, has been issued
U.S. passports. This is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking
on Fox Business. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO: This is a
woman who inflicted enormous risk on American soldiers, on American citizens. She’s a terrorist. She’s not coming back. President Trump made clear that she wasn’t
coming back. She’s not a U.S. citizen. She is not entitled to U.S. citizenship. And she’s not coming back to our country
to pose a threat. AMY GOODMAN: The dispute over Hoda Muthana’s
citizenship centers on her father, who was a Yemeni diplomat based in the United states,
and whether he still had diplomatic status in the U.S. at the time of her birth in October
of 1994. According to the Constitution, everyone born
in the U.S. is granted citizenship with the exception of children of diplomats, as they
don’t fall under U.S. jurisdiction. Muthana’s attorneys insist she does hold
U.S. citizenship. She was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, October
28th, 1994, after her father had relinquished his diplomatic status more than a month before. The United States issued her a passport in
2005, renewed it in 2014. But in 2016, the Obama administration sent
her a letter saying her passport was no longer valid. On Thursday, Muthana’s family filed a lawsuit
against the Trump administration to allow her and her son to come back to the U.S. To find out more about the implications of
Hoda’s case, we go to Dallas, Texas, to speak with Charlie Swift, the director of
the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, an attorney for Hoda Muthana’s
father. Swift is a retired Navy officer who retired
in 2007 as a lieutenant commander in the JAG Corps—that’s the Judge Advocate General’s
Corps. He is best known for winning the U.S. Supreme
Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld for his client, Guantánamo prisoner Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Charlie Swift, welcome to Democracy Now! Explain the case of Hoda Muthana. Is she a U.S. citizen? CHARLES SWIFT: Well, first, thank you for
having me. And second, yes, she is. You’ve hit on the pertinent facts. The 14th Amendment gives anyone born in the
United States or naturalized, who are subject to jurisdiction of the courts, citizenship. Now, “subject to jurisdiction” was a phrase
that was used for diplomats. In other words, diplomats, who have diplomatic
immunity, are not subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. However, Hoda Muthana’s father was discharged
from that position. And diplomatic immunity isn’t personal. It follows the—it is part of the position
you hold. If you’re a diplomat in a foreign country,
you have it by virtue of the position that you hold having been recognized by that country,
or in this country by the United States. In Hoda Muthana’s case, Ali Muthana, her
father, had been discharged on 1 September. And she wasn’t born until the 23rd of October. And I want you to think about it this way,
if you have any question. Let’s say instead of Hoda Muthana being
born on October 23rd, Ali Muthana had walked into a convenience store, held it up and shot
the clerk—something he’d never do; he’s an incredibly law-abiding citizen. But for purposes of this, let’s use that
hypothetical. Now, let’s seriously consider. He’s out of his position. He’s been discharged for more—almost 53
days. Are we going to say he has diplomatic immunity? Not a chance. It’s not a close question. The courts have looked at this. He’d have a reasonable period of time to
leave the country, but if he had—which is generally defined as 30 days, but he hadn’t
left the country, didn’t have any intent to leave the country. He’s now subject to the jurisdiction of
the courts, and therefore his daughter, his family, is subject to jurisdiction of the
courts, and she is a citizen. And everybody thought she was a citizen. She was issued not one, but two passports. The State Department recognized that he had
been—that Ali Muthana had been discharged. It wasn’t until after she made an incredibly
bad decision, one that her family has urged her against from the beginning—they didn’t
know she was leaving, but they have cooperated with authorities to try and get her back since
she left—that this even came up. So, if you look at the facts, you look at
the text of the Constitution, what you have here is simply ignoring the Constitution,
ignoring the steps on it. AMY GOODMAN: And what are the implications
of this? How could this expand? Explain what could happen in other cases if
someone’s outside the country. Does this mean, at this point, since they’ve
pulled her passport, she cannot return to the United States? CHARLES SWIFT: It does mean that. She doesn’t have the ability to travel. So, one of the reasons we’re going to court
is to get the—is to seek the court to aid her in her return. The Supreme Court said that any U.S. citizen
has the right to re-enter. That’s an absolute. And citizenship can only be lost under very
limited circumstances, and it’s always a judicial matter. It can’t be done by the executive simply
saying, “You’re not a citizen anymore.” And the implications are tremendous. First part, if you’re comfortable with what’s
happened to her, imagine another U.S. citizen is outside the country saying and doing things
that the United States doesn’t like, so they to say, “You know what? We don’t believe her birth certificate,
or his birth certificate. We question it. We’re sending you a letter saying I don’t
think your birth certificate was valid, you’re revoked, you can’t come back. And by the way, you can’t come to a court
here because your passport has been revoked. You can’t come back into the United States. We’ve closed the door.” The implications are significant. And in fact, we’ve been hearing at the center
about these very same letters being used for persons who were born in the United States
to midwives, but we’re now revoking their citizenship by letter. AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to Hoda Muthana
speaking to ABC’s James Longman earlier this month. JAMES LONGMAN: Do you feel shame when you
hear that back? HODA MUTHANA: Very much, yeah. JAMES LONGMAN: What you think would be a kind
of a normal thing— HODA MUTHANA: Maybe therapy lessons. Maybe a process that will ensure us that we’ll
never do this again. Jail time? I don’t know if that has an effect on people. JAMES LONGMAN: I don’t know if you’ve
quite grasped how awful ISIS was to the communities, the Yazidi women that were enslaved, the men
and women who were accused of being homosexual who were pushed off buildings. Do you feel regret and sorrow and remorse
for being part of an organization like ISIS? HODA MUTHANA: Definitely. It’s not Islamic at all. I believe that 100 percent. AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Hoda Muthana speaking
on ABC. CHARLES SWIFT: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: Charles Swift, talk about her
story. Talk about why Hoda left this country, about
her wanting to join ISIS, going to Syria, marrying three different ISIS fighters, as
they died, having this son. Why did she join ISIS? CHARLES SWIFT: You know, I don’t have an
answer to that. Her parents don’t have an answer to that,
in the process in it. For me, the issues here are constitutional—the
revocation of citizenship, which the Supreme Court has said is never a valid punishment. So I look at that part. I think it’s noteworthy, though. Hoda Muthana may hope that she doesn’t get
punished or get jail time. I’ve been a criminal defense attorney for
most of my life, as well as working on civil rights, and all of my clients hope they won’t
go to jail. I would say, though, that one of the things
that she’s doing by pursuing to come back here is making herself eligible to go to jail. She puts herself in—by filing the suit,
the defense to her actions—the best defense on going over is that she wasn’t a U.S.
citizen. Almost all the statutes under which—I think
all of the statutes under which she could be charged all require, for extraterritoriality,
that the crime either originate in the United States or that she be a U.S. citizen. And since the crime didn’t occur ’til she
got over there, and if she’s not a U.S. citizen, there would be no jurisdiction to try her
for the criminal offenses. By establishing her citizenship, she actually
makes herself eligible for trial and punishment, something—you know, her parents are fully
aware of that. Her father is fully aware of it. And he thinks that she should face justice. And if she’s convicted of something, she
should serve the time for it. But he also believes that his grandson and
she are still citizens and should be able to return. AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to read one of her inflammatory
tweets, when she was in Syria. She wrote, “Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our
greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! 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 … Kill
them.” CHARLES SWIFT: Yep. And a question is whether that’s criminal
or not. But my concern is if you strip your citizenship
for it. See, there’s a very strong idea, this is—that
plays in over time, that if you’re disloyal to the country, then you should lose your
citizenship. That’s how the British approach it. It’s not how the United States approaches
it, because we’ve had this absolute belief in free speech. Speech can become criminal. You can be punished for it. But we’ve never stripped citizenship. So, I’d like to change that a little. What if the administration later on says that
anyone who does not support the current administration is creating treason, that their speech is
hurting America, and we’re going to strip you of citizenship for it? The 14th Amendment is absolute. If you’re going to strip somebody based
on their words, where’s your line, Amy? Where’s your line? AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s turn— CHARLES SWIFT: See, this issues here—this
is the problem. The issues are always bigger than the person. The issues weren’t Miranda’s guilt. The issues here are the constitutional—our
constitutional foundations. And how we treat Hoda Muthana says a great
deal about who we are as a nation. We don’t strip citizenship. No one, at least in her family and whatnot,
is saying it doesn’t deserve criminal prosecution. And I think we’re conflating the two, as
somehow she comes back and doesn’t get prosecuted. She may hope that she’s not prosecuted. Again, I have yet to meet a criminal defendant
who was extraordinarily excited about that prospect. But in choosing to return, she chooses prosecution. AMY GOODMAN: Well, I’d like to turn to Hoda
Muthana again, responding to Mike Pompeo’s claim that she’s not a U.S. citizen. She was interviewed in Syria by NBC’s Richard
Engel. HODA MUTHANA: I read the papers, and I know,
in fact, that I was a citizen. And 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’s no problem. And I know my lawyer, hopefully, is working
on it, and he will win the case. RICHARD ENGEL: Do you think you’ll be able
to go back to the United States? Do you want to go to the United States? HODA MUTHANA: I’d prefer America other than
anywhere else, yeah. RICHARD ENGEL: And what do you—what do you
want to do, if you went back to the States? What do you think will happen to you, if you
were allowed to go back? HODA MUTHANA: Of course, I’ll be given jail
time. AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Hoda Muthana, who
is saying she does expect she would be given jail time. CHARLES SWIFT: Yeah, yeah. I would think it’s very important to separate
hopes and expectations in this process, Amy, is that—you know, as I said, everybody hopes
that they’re not going to go to jail for very long. Her expectation is that she will go to jail. And the reason, among all things, both the
family and for Hoda, is the 18-month-old son, who is a U.S. citizen by virtue of birth to
her. Hoda has used the words, to her family, that
she has ruined her life, she doesn’t want to ruin his. AMY GOODMAN: Shamima Begum is in a similar
situation. Her citizenship was revoked by the U.K. She
fled to Syria from London when she was 15. Your response to the two? CHARLES SWIFT: Well, she’s in a similar
situation until we get to what country she’s from—the British and the Americans. Now, I’m very, very—I like the British,
but I’m very proud to be an American. And at the time of our founding and afterwards,
we put in place a Constitution because of the very types of abuses that we thought were
wrong in Britain. Britain threw around the word “treason”
too easily. It stripped citizenship. It banished people. That’s what it did. That was part of its government’s system. The Founding Fathers of the United States
were having none of that. We set up a constitutional republic under
the Constitution. We don’t swear allegiance to a queen. We swear allegiance to the Constitution of
the United States of America. And the Constitution here is clear. The Constitution is not for bright, sunny
days. It’s for rainy ones. It’s for the unpopular. The popular don’t need it. AMY GOODMAN: Well, Charlie Swift, we want
to thank you for being with us, the attorney for Hoda Muthana’s family. He is the director of the Constitutional Law
Center for Muslims in America. CHARLES SWIFT: Thank you. AMY GOODMAN: He happens to be speaking to
us today from Dallas, Texas. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, Life and Death in Rikers
Island. We look at the—well, the story of thousands
of people who die in American jails every year. Stay with us.

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    shrish trivedi

    I thought We Indians are dumb but you Americans are much dumber than Us .
    I mean you guys are still debating on this topic

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    SCScholar1

    She went and joined a terrorist organization. They organization she joined seeks to kill all non-believers. She thinks she should get therapy and be set free. She has committed treason and deserves to be exiled from this country.

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    jlm10181978

    You join isis take up arms against our country you have made your decision and decisions have consequences!! She went on her own free will she wasnโ€™t forced. She can live with her decision in any other country but not here! Try her for treason!!!!!

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    Jon Gleich

    She was 19 when she left. And decided on her own, as an adult. Sorry but not sorry. Youre one of many in your crappy position you brought on yourself

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    vinceyang369

    She only wants to comeback because of her son. Sorry, should have thought about that first. She committed treason, plain and simple.

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    Bright Lawson

    Muslim community in a nutshell

    "The fundemantalist holds the body, the extremist chops off the head, while the moderate watches on"

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    Nevenka Metikos

    She denounced US citizenship!, she joined the ISES forces in Syria against Syrian regime, (& anti US…). Syria should deal with her, case closed.

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    Nevenka Metikos

    Terrorist, strip US citizenship. Any person can denounce the citizenship. Many of us have denounced citizenship of the country we were born in. Not first, not lest. You can ask for it back – but not if you joined terrorist or enemy forces against the country; then forget it – you're an enemy of a state

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    Nevenka Metikos

    What!? she said 'veterans – killed them!'; oh no I'm a veteran, she can stay in Syria; (I ain't ready to hear 'the angels singing welcome to Heaven', not yet). Actually she's lucky she's in Syria many of the countries in that region are worse, Syria is semisecular country, with a lot of freedom as compared to some of that neighboring places. She's lucky she's there, she can always go to Yemen, and tell them she's American.

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    Mike Tsai

    That bitch and her puppy are future suicide bombers, that pup she carrying smells like C4. Send her Attorney Charles Swift to Syria,.

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    jtika1978

    Omg the propaganda is strong with yโ€™all! sheโ€™s treasonous! She needta stay with her terrorist group, weโ€™re good

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    Melissa Warhurst

    Screw her and she gave her rights up when she moved over their and decided to betray the United states.

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    Sam Bowles

    I wonder if the Grey Lady realizes that if she would have interviewed her while she was in the ISIS caliphate that this innocent child would have gladly cut her head off.

  26. Post
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    Doc Wray

    Huh, last time someone left renounced their citizenship and was let back in. That person assassinated a president. Bring her back prosecute her for treason and execute her.

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    Frank christ

    goddam this lazy eye bitch with a lisp still has a job? and fuck that hijab and bibjab bitch she is responsible for dead Americans. soldiers died because of her nuff said.

  28. Post
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    Frank christ

    therapy for what????
    its not going to bring back the lives of American soldiers who died because of you and your 3 x husbands

  29. Post
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    Frank christ

    not one not two but three husbands all anti Americans all terrorists all responsible for killing Americans and liberals still defend her. fuck you bitch you sleep in the bed you made.

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    Rodney Johnston

    This woman is so stupid I feel sorry for the Little boy for having a stupid mother A little boy's future is the stroyed by her mother's๐Ÿ˜ฅ

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    Eisen Chao

    With the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Non-State on the verge of losing its last vestige of control & influence in America,
    it is intensely debating about the entry of people who have a proven record of wanting to overthrow America.

    Must be the classic case of White Middle-class Socialists using POC to do the dirty work for them (i.e. Overthrow of the US).
    Oh yeah, "Tote that Barge, Lift that Bale"

  33. Post
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    Nicole S

    She is not allowed to come back . She made her choice. Why keep talking about it. There are more important people needs help and attention. She is not coming. You chose the most horrible people so you made your bed

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    dcbornmike

    IF it was up to me ..not only would i not allow this douche bag back into the country …i would deport ALL of her family here. You know, I know and they know that ALL of them knew what was happening.

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    James Smith

    Why is her family still in the United States they should be deported as soon as possible. If she is let back in she should charged with treason death by hanging.the child should go live with the Fathers parents

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    jimmer

    Hell with the bitch she want people to rent Van's and run people down shes a idiot trader throw the hole family out

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    justin hillman

    fuck all isis fighters,wifes,and sympathizers they all deserve to die none of them deserve the right to come back into this country period…. she maybe was a american but when she decided to join isis she became a enemy, a traitor,a terrorist threat to America and to the world

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    Dan Ellingsworth

    That woman spawned a child in the islamic state both are citizens of that failed state they are free to exist in the area of that sandbox let them die there a treason trial and execution will wast my tax dallers no mercy or compassion they've made there choices the can live with them

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    Themuscle79 Ajaccio

    Charles swift You're the worse of worse fuck you ser,fuck that muslim traitor ,is some many Arabic countries around her let her choose one.

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    dakota conners

    cry baby feel sorry liberal bias news report who uses the handle democracy now (total bullshit). as far as citizenship the US has the right to revoke it even if she is.

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    luboss locoss

    hold on would anyone reject the idea of bringing NAZIS back home after ww2. what is the difference here between isis and nazis.

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    Vickie Wylie

    No sorry lawyer you're wrong on that case her son was born over there he is a citizen of the country his of his father's birth he is not a US citizen just because she is or we don't know if she is or not you're dead wrong the child is not a US citizen just because he was born to a u.s. mother if she truly in fact is a u.s. mother it belongs to the father and the father was in the baby was born over there for his father's home country was he is not a citizen

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    Benjamin Britsch

    Why would you call it "caliphat" or "fighters" call it what it was a "murderous islamic state" and "terrorists"

  55. Post
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    Benjamin Britsch

    A process that ensures that they'll never do it again? No, problem just denounce Islam, raise your son as a Jazidi

  56. Post
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    Benjamin Britsch

    Charles Swift shame on you! How can you defend such a horrible person who doesnt even show any remorse?!

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    Franky Valladolid

    She pledged her cooky for I.s.i.s.๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘น๐Ÿ‘น๐Ÿ‘น๐Ÿ˜ต

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    markyn251255 markyn251255

    Why allow her to the entitlement mentality… because she's Muslim? Playing the victim? She deserves special Islamic rights? The West is being held hostage by it's own stupid self flagellating PC attitude?

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    Anna Durkee

    Treason is worthy of death#.To allow her back in usa she will be a danger to the citizens of our country.

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    Rob K

    Strip all of them do not spare even one they chose to destroy the world but they failed so they should suffer

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    this cup 4 Dad

    If we are going to dance with the devil, and plant seeds in his kingdom. Let's dont whine when it's time to harvest the crop that we planted. One the greatest diseases we fall prey to is crainial, rectal inversion. If we keep smelling poo, we might better check if our head is up our ass. Draw close to Dad. He is about to shut this path down. Hang with Jesus and let's save ourselves from abundant stupidity.

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    Daniel Mc Dowell

    Her filthy little whore son is not welcome here. You lie with the pigs and the stink will not come out.

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    Linda Vogt

    I have NO sympathy for her. Maybe she can find a 4th husband! Stay in Syria! You are NOT wanted in this country!!

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    Jacqueline Campbell

    We are to have compassion for a female that turned her back against the U.S. to be with ISIS fighters. Married, lived with had children.!she gave up those right giving comfort to our enemy. Treasonous actions..Had her husbands lived would she want to come back? Doubtful.

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    BLADE kano

    Of course bring her back and we'll forget this whole thing happened ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ bye felicia! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

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    Albino Pineapple

    Maybe she needs to be tried first before stripping his citizenship. But, letting someone back to your home after they plotted to kill and failed is what makes this complicated.

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    durfel x

    revoke all of their citizenships – USA did them a huge favour allowing them to live there and this is how they repay this charity

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    Louie Ramos

    Ulgy ass woman!!! Fuck this piece of garbage!!!! Isis shit!!!!don't let this garbage back in into our united states!!!! God Bless. America!! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

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    Louie Ramos

    Bring her back and give her a lethal dose of american justice!!!! Death by injection!!!!! Treason equals death penalty!!!! this garbage does not deserve to breathe!!!

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    Mx Thao

    She lost citizen the moment she have terrorist idea. We the citizen donโ€™t want her back! If they allow her we must protest!

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    Mx Thao

    Can we send the lawyer to Syria too? I mean he sound very stupid, yes heโ€™s getting paid to defend. But heโ€™s a bitch for attacking the interview lady just because no one agree with him! He can go live in Syria with the girl.

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    rj doggman

    She willingly left USA to go join a terrorist enemy of the usa that was at war with usa and its allies. She didn't have change of heart during the isis hey days. She only changed her mind once she found herself homeless eating cat food and grass. I feel for her child but that kid will grow up and probably avenge his daddy's death. Hate to look at a child like that but that's probably not far from the truth

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