It was the Obama administration that revoked ISIS bride Hoda Muthana’s passport

It was the Obama administration that revoked ISIS bride Hoda Muthana’s passport

Hoda Muthana was born in the US. In 2014, when she turned 20, the student at the University of Alabama-Birmingham told her parents she was going on a field trip to Atlanta; but instead, Hoda dropped out of school, used the reimbursed tuition to buy a plane ticket, flew to Turkey, made her way to Syria, where she joined ISIS.

Now that ISIS is defeated Muthana wants to go back to the U.S. But the United Stated doesn’t want to take her back.

While in Syria, Hoda Muthana used all her social media accounts to call for the murder of Americans.

“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 parades..go on drive by’s + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them,” Muthana tweeted from her now-suspended Twitter account, according to a 2015 profile of her by BuzzFeed News.

The question of whether Muthana actually is a citizen or not has been a controversial topic. Some say she is, while some say she isn’t.

So which is it?

The issue is if she was “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” at birth, a status that her father claims she does hold, But the federal government, starting in 2016, has claimed she does not.

In January 2016, the US government sent a letter -addressed to Hoda – to the Muthana household officially revoking her US passport.

The letter said that her passport had been issued in error because there was “no evidence” that she was actually a US citizen by birth. The government asserted that, contrary to the testimony provided back in 2004, the US Mission to the UN’s records showed that Hoda Muthana’s father didn’t lose diplomatic status until months after Hoda was born.

Some experts say that in theory, Hoda had the right to a hearing to challenge the passport revocation, but she didn’t at any time ask for one; because she was well in with ISIS by that point.

Revoking someone’s passport isn’t the same as revoking their citizenship. But the Obama administration confirmed that she had never been a citizen at all. The administration said that she “did not acquire US citizenship at birth.” The Muthana’s said they thought she had been born a citizen so she didn’t get naturalized when her parents did.

The Trump administration has now been forced to address the question publicly because Muthana now wants to return to the United States and face trial there. And just like the Obama admin, they issued a press statement making it clear that Muthana was never a citizen and therefore the US did not have to take her back.

Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, believes that the government was obligated to follow a specific process before determining Muthana was not a citizen, and it’s not clear whether either Obama’s or Trump’s administrations followed that process.

However, it’s also not clear whether that process necessarily applies to the revocation of a passport on the grounds that the passport was issued in error.

If Muthana is a citizen — even though her passport was revoked — it’s “generally understood” that she’d be allowed to return to the US, Vladeck said. But if she’s not a citizen, there’s very little hope for her to return; attorney Gabriel Malor told Vox that if she tried to apply for some other form of immigration status at this point, she’d be barred because of her history with a terrorist group.

Furthermore, Muthana’s 18-month-old son was born outside the Unite States and the father was a Tunisian ISIS fighter, the question of whether Muthana is a US citizen determines her son’s citizenship, too.

Muthana’s father’s lawsuit is a desperate move. The United States government usually doesn’t allow passport decisions to be subject to judicial review, so unlikely that a judge will force president Trump to explain how it decided Muthana was not a citizen — much less overrule them. In the meantime, Muthana must stay in Syria and most Americans do not want her back in the country. And can anyone really blame them?

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