Bipartisan bills to strip citizenship of Americans complicit in terrorism

mkrishnan

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Jan 9, 2004
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http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/05/06/terrorism.act.change/

Washington (CNN) -- A bipartisan group of legislators on Thursday introduced legislation in Congress to strip citizenship from any American found to be involved in terrorism.

If the Terrorist Expatriation Act passes, an American would lose citizenship if found to have provided material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization -- as designated by the secretary of state -- or participated in actions against the United States.

Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, co-sponsored the bill. An identical bill is being introduced in the House by Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pennsylvania, and Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania.

"As the attempted terrorist attack on Times Square showed us again, our enemies today are even more willing than the Nazis or fascists were to kill innocent civilian Americans [in WWII]," Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told reporters. "Our enemies today are stateless actors who don't wear uniforms and plot against Americans abroad and here in the United States."

Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen, recently admitted driving a Nissan Pathfinder into New York's Times Square on Saturday and attempting to detonate the vehicle, which was packed with gasoline, propane tanks, fireworks and fertilizer, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York.

Lieberman said the legislation updates the 1940 Immigration and Nationality Act, which identifies seven categories in which citizens can lose citizenship if they voluntarily perform one of the acts.

The list, according to Lieberman, includes acts such as serving in the armed forces of a "foreign state" if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States; formally renouncing nationality whenever the United States is in a state of war; or committing treason against the United States.

"The bill we're introducing today would simply update the 1940 law to account for the enemy that we are fighting today," he said. "Many have said this law goes too far. Remember, this bill only updates an existing statute that has been on the books for 70 years that accounts for the terrorist enemy that we are fighting today."
The logic of this seems reasonable enough, but I'm concerned by two things... First, as the article points out, there are some questions about when in the due process this can occur, that should be resolved to make sure this is not an end-round of our judicial process. Second, I am uncomfortable with the idea that, if a US citizen joins an international terrorism group, they are stripped of citizenship, but if a US citizen creates and arms a domestic terrorist group with the express aim of overthrowing the US government (or, for that matter, for committing terrorism abroad), the same punishment is not levied.

Specifically, if Faisal Shahzad would be stripped of his citizenship, I don't understand why the Hutaree should be allowed to continue being citizens....
 

Ugg

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Apr 7, 2003
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I don't like it at all.

It's also extremely ironic that Lieberman, who is jewish and a staunch defender of all Israeli actions, would sponsor this given how over the top Israel can be when it comes to covert ops.

Removing a person's citizenship in the case of the islamists only makes them into martyrs and also presents a problem of where to send them after said removal. Personally, I think lifetime imprisonment is enough.
 

Zombie Acorn

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Perfectly reasonable in my opinion, if you are making attacks on the nation you are a citizen of you should be stripped of citizenship. If your terrorist act is found in court to have killed an American citizen immediate death penalty.
 

yg17

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Aug 1, 2004
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Perfectly reasonable in my opinion, if you are making attacks on the nation you are a citizen of you should be stripped of citizenship.
And sent where? If they no longer have citizenship in any country, where do they go?

If your terrorist act is found in court to have killed an American citizen immediate death penalty.
Because juries have never been wrong before :rolleyes:
 

Zombie Acorn

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And sent where? If they no longer have citizenship in any country, where do they go?
To an island in the ocean for all I care, they shouldn't have been plotting attacks on the government they want to keep their citizenship from.

As for your second remark we have already determined they engaged in terrorist activity to have their citizenship status removed, if there were casualties we need the death penalty.
 

mkrishnan

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Jan 9, 2004
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Hey, if we're handing out ocean islands, I call dibbs on one before all the terrorist go getting them for free... :p

I do wonder if the result of this law will be that a process which, to my understanding, under the 1940 law, is really not very commonly invoked, will now start to get used like gangbusters. And I continue to insist that a reasonable and consistent definition of terrorism be used, and supporters of terrorists in Europe, Central America, and elsewhere (including the US), not be given preferred treatment over supporters of Islamist terrorism....
 

Rodimus Prime

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Oct 9, 2006
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I do not like the law at all. I can see it being abused. Hell right now when some one gets a felony convection they loss the right to vote. You can strip them of a lot of things (like right to vote, right of free speech and so on) but not strip the citizen ship. Plus it is not like some one convected of terrorism is ever going to be set free again.
 

KingYaba

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Aug 7, 2005
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Up the irons
Can't take my citizenship without my consent. Lieberman, go see Afroyim v. Rusk and then take a hike. http://www.richw.org/dualcit/cases.html#Afroyim

The basic point of the Supreme Court's ruling in Afroyim v. Rusk was that the "citizenship clause" of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution -- while originally intended mainly to guarantee citizenship to freed Negro slaves and their descendants, and subsequently interpreted in Wong Kim Ark as conferrring citizenship at birth to virtually everyone born in the US -- had effectively elevated citizenship to the status of a constitutionally protected right. Hence, Congress had no right to pass a law which had the effect of depriving an American of his citizenship without his assent.
 

Mac N Tosh

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Jun 24, 2009
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I don't like it at all.

It's also extremely ironic that Lieberman, who is jewish and a staunch defender of all Israeli actions, would sponsor this given how over the top Israel can be when it comes to covert ops.

Removing a person's citizenship in the case of the islamists only makes them into martyrs and also presents a problem of where to send them after said removal. Personally, I think lifetime imprisonment is enough.
What bothers you more, the fact that he is Jewish or a defender of Israeli actions..?? :confused:
 

mkrishnan

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Jan 9, 2004
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^^ I'm guessing Ugg is talking about the fact that Israel engages in what many people call state-directed acts that are equivalent to terrorism, and while these proposed bills don't recognize that kind of terrorism, Lieberman and other supporters of the current Israeli regime could be considered as having committed the same crime as supporters of foreign non-state terrorists.

Can't take my citizenship without my consent.
That one seems less than clear to me; the Afroyim v. Rusk opinion does use the term "consent," but they also open the possibility of other actions that amount to a voluntary renunciation of citizenship. It could be argued that voting in a foreign election does not clearly fall in this category. There are at least some examples of this that are recognized by the US, and it is salient that Mr. Afroyim did not actively seek Israeli citizenship but was apparently granted it automatically -- it was not claimed that he had, AFAIK. Also, although Rogers v. Bellei draws specific reference to the fact that the person involved was not born or naturalized in the USA, it also provides a situation in which passive assent is given by the person (through failure to comply with the new citizenship requirement), causing them to transition from being a citizen to being a non-citizen without providing direct consent.

Not saying that I think it's right to strip people of citizenship necessarily, but at the same time, I don't think Congress is spinning their wheels in their entirety, enacting a law that has no possible force as a result of existing SC case law.
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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Wait, conservatives actually want to give Hitlery Clinton the power to determine if they shall retain their citizenship or not?

It's funny to see these kinds of constitutional questions arise. Conservatives freak out that the government is coming to take their guns, or to put them in FEMA camps, or to execute old and disabled people. They freak out about these things at the drop of a hat, without a shred of credible evidence.

Yet they don't care if the government has the power to stop and demand ID without cause, they don't care if people on the terrorist watch list -- who cannot fly because they are considered so dangerous --are allowed to buy guns. They don't care if the government listens in on your phone calls. Yet they want to give the government the power to strip them of their citizenship on the SecState's say-so.

WTF? Anyone who considers themselves a "strict constitutionalist" should be appalled at this travesty.
 

Peace

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Apr 1, 2005
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Perfectly reasonable in my opinion, if you are making attacks on the nation you are a citizen of you should be stripped of citizenship. If your terrorist act is found in court to have killed an American citizen immediate death penalty.
Go look up the governments definition of a "terrorist" then get back and say that again.

This legislation is just bad,bad,bad.

Not that I support extreme environmentalist but some of them can be called terrorist for throwing paint on a building. Removing their citizenship is very much against the constitution.
 

MacNut

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Jan 4, 2002
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There is a deeper issue here, why did the government not notice that this guy was traveling back and fourth to Pakistan and was obviously being funded by them to commit this crime. I agree in principal that if you are given citizenship and then use that as a shield to commit a terrorist act against the country that you should be stripped of said citizenship. The bigger issue is the fact that we didn't track this guy when flags started going up.
 

MacNut

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Jan 4, 2002
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How can you strip someones citizenship, that is very scary.
The issue is that they gained citizenship so they could not be tracked when they commit a crime against the country. This really could be considered an inside job.
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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Welcome to reality. Terrorism will happen sometimes.

Frankly if the US doesn't want to be a target it needs to stop interfering abroad and have a non-hypocritical foreign policy.
 

MacNut

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Welcome to reality. Terrorism will happen sometimes.

Frankly if the US doesn't want to be a target it needs to stop interfering abroad and have a non-hypocritical foreign policy.
That doesn't matter, they just hate us plain and simple. We could have stood by and done nothing and they would still find a reason to hate us.
 

Eraserhead

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We could have stood by and done nothing and they would still find a reason to hate us.
The bombs targetting Westerners have only gone off in the UK, US, Spain, Indonesia and India all of which were interfering at the time of the attacks, or in the case of the last two it was a domestic/local international issue.
 

mkrishnan

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Jan 9, 2004
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There is a deeper issue here, why did the government not notice that this guy was traveling back and fourth to Pakistan and was obviously being funded by them to commit this crime. I agree in principal that if you are given citizenship and then use that as a shield to commit a terrorist act against the country that you should be stripped of said citizenship. The bigger issue is the fact that we didn't track this guy when flags started going up.
Doesn't the bigger issue have several threads on it already? Let's talk about citizenship law in this thread, please?
 

MacNut

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Jan 4, 2002
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The bombs targetting Westerners have only gone off in the UK, US, Spain, Indonesia and India all of which were interfering at the time of the attacks, or in the case of the last two it was a domestic/local international issue.
So that makes it right for them to send bombs out way?
Doesn't the bigger issue have several threads on it already? Let's talk about citizenship law in this thread, please?
The fact is this guy got his citizenship a year ago, then decided to set a bomb off in times square? Does that not sound fishy to you? What were his motives to gaining citizenship?
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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So that makes it right for them to send bombs out way?
No, but ultimately you have two options really, you can either ignore them and deal with them like criminals, or you have to deal with the issues behind the violence, like we did in Northern Ireland.
 

NT1440

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May 18, 2008
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The issue is that they gained citizenship so they could not be tracked when they commit a crime against the country. This really could be considered an inside job.
This isn't just for people who have become citizens, it can apply to people who have always been citizens.