The Curious Case of Hoda Muthana

“Ms. Hoda is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport not any visa to travel to the United States.”

This was said in response to Hoda Muthana’s pleas to return to U.S., saying she had made a mistake when she left in 2014 to join ISIS via Yemen.

This was stated on the same day Trump tweeted the following:

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

It is not known if his statements are in direct correlation to the tweet, nor if he issued the statement after being told not admit her by President Trump. What is clear is this case is more complicated than it looks on the surface.

In 2014, Hoda Muthana left the United States using money her father gave her for college to arrive in Yemen and be taken to Syria. There, she married and began fighting for ISIS. Sources list tweets she posted at this time which called for the blood of American soldiers. She was known for spreading propaganda online. Now, she says she has had a change of heart and wishes to come home.

hoda muthana
Hoda Muthana

Her lawyer has provided a birth certificate for Hoda, which says she was born in New Jersey, but the legal issue is whether or not her father was still a diplomat at the time of her birth. If he still had diplomatic credentials when she was born, then she is not considered a United States Citizen. This an exception to the “birthright” clause in immigration law. Her father is stating, however, he was not a diplomat at the time of her birth, which would make her one. Some would say, if he stayed to become a citizen, it would make her one as well, overlooking the grace period after the end of the assignment leading up to departure as per the Vienna Convention. This means, if he had her during the grace period, she may not be a U.S. citizen.

The other matter is the passport and its validity. If it is determined that she is a citizen, her passport can still be revoked for reasons of national security or foreign policy after due process has been served.

The issue of repatriation was brought up in a statement issued by Robert Polladino, Deputy Spokesperson. When asked about Muthana, he responded:

“I can speak generically about the situation in which American citizens or potential American citizens or alleged American citizens could find themself in such a situation. And our policy in this regard would be to repatriate them…”

My Two Cents…

Though it is clear President Trump and Pompeo are in accord, they may have a long road ahead of them if they intend to circumvent due process. For their sakes, I hope they follow all the processes they can for this to be a legal barring of entry.
I personally think she does not deserve to come back. She went to Syria of her own free will, having been radicalized by ISIS. The tweets I have seen made it clear she betrayed her country, if she was even a legal citizen to begin with. She’s made her bed, and I believe she should lie in it, no matter how infested it may be.
Unfortunately, her child is stuck in the middle of this debacle.
Other sources:

Categories: News, politics

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