On Thursday, Senators Scott Brown and Joe Lieberman introduced the Terrorist Expatriation Bill, which would strip the citizenship of any American, naturalized or native-born, found to have supported or joined a terrorist group. While the ruling could be appealed in court, the designation itself wouldn’t require any sort of hearing or that the accused be convicted of a crime. The person’s citizenship would simply be removed on the say-so of the State Department.

It’s understandable, after the recent Times Square incident involving a naturalized Pakistani, that Brown and Lieberman would seek to beef up anti-terrorism laws. But this bill is a misguided, opportunistic attempt to do so — and one that represents the most damaging, retrograde anti-terror legal ideas.
It may be an effective campaign slogan to proclaim that terrorists should have no rights, but it leads to a deeply problematic set of policies. American citizens have legal rights to protect them against false government accusations; bills like the one that Lieberman and Brown are pushing effectively make people guilty until proven innocent. It’s a travesty of justice that’s offensive to basic American liberties.

Strip Citizenship For Terrorist Activities?

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  1. Glass Half Full says:

    Always sounds good emotionally, but the problem is that “terrorism” doesn’t have a definition legally, it’s whatever our great leader (BUsh or Obama) feels like calling it. So if we say “terrorists” get their rights striped, even if American citizens, we’re ging the government, specifically the President, power to do whatever the hell they want.

    Golly, weren’t the Oklahoma City bombers (who actually killed hundreds of people, unlike this idiot) terrorists too ? I don’t remember ANY call to waterboard them, or anything else this extreme. Of course they were white conservatives from the midwest. Hmmm.

  2. GF says:

    What we should do is stop giving out citizenship like candy at a Mardi Gras parade. We should stop giving citizenship to anyone based solely on being born in the U.S. when the parents are not legal U.S. citizens.

  3. John Henry says:

    There are at least 2 Supreme Court cases, Afroyim V. Rusk (60’s) and Terrazas v. Vance (70’s)that are on point to this. You can look them up in Wikipedia or read the transcripts at http://www.oyez.org.

    In both cases, the Supremes ruled by soild majorities that citizen was absolute. Once granted, whether by birth or naturalization it could not, under any circumstances, be revoked.

    There are two, sort of, loopholes:

    1) If a person commits fraud in the process of naturalization, the citizenship can be annulled. Not revoked, annulled, though the effect is similar.

    2) If a person takes certain actions, they may be deemed to have given up their citizenship. However, it must be proven that the citizen intended to give up citizenship and the citizen has the right to trial on this. In the case of terrazas, he held US (born here) and Mexican citizenship (born of Mexican parents). Mexico had him sign a declaration giving up US citizenship to qualify for school aid in Mexico. He later denied that he realized what he was doing and the Supremes restored his citizenship.

    I would love to hear how Lieberman intends to do this without a Constitutional Amendment.

    John Henry

    Listen to No Agenda In the morning

  4. don quixote says:

    Sure Joe, lets create camps where we can hold those who we have been told were terrorist. We could use trains to transport all those terrorist to the camps, maybe we could just gas them to get rid of the threat they pose.

    Joe, you are one short sighted sick bastard. Maybe a running mate for Palin even.

  5. Mextli says:

    Don’t forget, add them to the no fly list as well.

  6. LDA says:


  7. chuck says:

    #19 – exactly. These aren’t “legal” rights that we are lucky to get simply because some people wrote them down in the Bill of Rights.

    We have these rights because we say we do.

    Now, on the question of citizenship – if you strip the citizenship of a “natural born” citizen – where do you deport him to? Kenya?

  8. Nth of the 49th says:

    Back in the US

    Back in the US

    Back in the USSR

  9. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Chuck: send them to Arizona. Let them figure it out.

  10. sargasso says:

    A whole lot of offences are being bagged and tagged together to read “terrorism”, everything from out and out mass murder to downloading a pirated movie. Seems to me that “terrorism” is often applied as a label of convenience, applied to large segments of society to remove their civil rights, as much as being a vague military description of irregular civilian behavior. I would personally take great care at this time, and consider the profound and far reaching effects of arbitrarily removing a population’s national identity in the mistaken belief that it will make your nation a safer place.

  11. Not a terrorist says:

    Every western country needs to take sensible measures to protect its citizens from foreign criminals and terrorists. By sensible, I mean strict and well-enforced.

    Cancellation of naturalization for naturalized terrorists should be simple. They lied when swearing their oath of citizenship, so their naturalization never properly existed. Out they go! As illegal aliens, they should be deported immediately.

    Native born terrorists should have their passports cancelled. Where possible, for example if they possess a foreign passport, then they should be banished and refused reentry if they try to return.

  12. Not a terrorist says:

    However, the definition of terrorism must be carefully defined and interpreted so that it cannot be misused as a catch-all to allow the removal of people just for membership of the ‘wrong’ political party, race, religion, etc.

    Within the country, it would be nice to see law-abiding citizens enjoying improved liberties and general freedom from big brother.

    On reflection, I guess maybe it wouldn’t really work out like that =/

  13. TooManyPuppies says:

    Last time I looked at this bill, it applied to persons “suspected” of being involved. Do I have to list all the bullshit going on with the no fly list?

    The answer to the poll is not no. It’s Hell NO!

  14. Michael says:

    I think Moyo said it best. (#3)

  15. nolimit662 says:

    Boy would this feed right into what Islam wants. When will people wake up and realize that it’s Islam that is at the root of all of this. They set up masques and are waging a war from within. They are hell bent on world domination. They plan to colonize america and when they have enough of them in america they will have the power to change the laws to what they want. Scary to know my kids will have to live with this reality. Their goal is to control america by 2050. Watch the documentary THE THIRD JIHAD!!

  16. Camacho for President says:

    Loss of citizenship is unlikely to be deter terrorism. Some of the 911 terrorists were foriegn military students.

  17. nicktherat says:

    waaaay too vague. joining peta (i wouldnt do this, just an example) might get your citizenship takin away if america deemed them a terrorist group.

  18. Phydeau says:

    Why have the gutless Democrats allowed that weaselly little POS to keep the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs? The R’s have 41 so he’s useless against the filibuster. He votes against the D’s with impunity, and the just bend over for it. I’d have a lot more respect for them if they kicked him to the curb.

  19. bobbo, vote all encumbents OUT of office says:

    This is a good bill to track. Who signs on in support? Put those people at the TOP of your “Vote out of Office” list.

    So much for the flak that Brown had to be somewhat liberal to keep his seat in Taxatwoshits. Since Brown has acted somewhat liberal at times, his estimation of the Voters is that they do support such legislation.

    Who know Taxatwoshits better???

  20. Benjamin says:

    Trying American citizens who shoot at our soldiers as part of an overseas terrorist cell could probably charged with treason. No need for this bill. Treason is a capital offense.

    Part of the bill says you have to be overseas. The Times Square Bomber would not be covered by the Terrorist Expatriation Bill because he preformed his terrorism within the country.

    I am against this bill. People need access to the courts to determine if laws are being applied fairly and how they are intended to be used. The bill preemptively exempts itself from oversight by the court and a jury.

  21. jbellies says:

    #17 Guantanamoooooooooooooo. I hope you felt that echo effect as somebody jumped without a parachute.

    Today’s terrorist is tomorrow’s patriot. And v-v. Sounds like a make-work project for unemployed bureaucrats.

    And please note: let’s assume that we all hate the people who committed the terrorist act (e.g., dropped the chests of tea into the harbour), but what seems to be on the docket is outing all who associated with those people. And without process. Fail.

  22. BmoreBadBoy says:

    I don’t believe in citizenship or nationalism. Open borders! Free trade! Stop trying to control people. FREEDOM!!! 😉

  23. ECA says:

    for those that dont get it..
    Our founding fathers WERE TERRORISTS..

    How to be put on the list..
    BITCH about what is going on in the government.
    Stand up for your rights, and have them REMOVED.

  24. amodedoma says:

    If they want my citizenship they can have it. They’ve taken from me all they’re gonna get. I do find it amusing that right wingers would think that this is a deterrent. So what do you get for being a US citizen? Having spent over half my natural life somewhere else, believe me it ain’t shit. It’s amazing how most of these breast beating apes, have taken advantage of all that america has to offer, while insisting that the government shouldn’t finance social programs, and the need to reduce and limit basic human rights, to make us ‘safer’.
    America, love it or leave it?
    It’s still not too late to emigrate.

  25. deowll says:

    You give a citizen due process. After a fair trail with a jury of their peers they are convicted or acquired.

    If it is determined they are guilty you warehouse or terminate them. Which ever the citizens of that state believe is just and reasonable.

  26. thebillywayne says:

    The punishment for treason should be death by firing squad. Period.

  27. Bryan Price says:

    I think we should strip citizenship from office holders who, after being sworn to uphold the Constitution, still decide not to uphold it.

  28. So we can expect many of our 5yr olds loosing citizenship for pointing a finger like a gun at a child and many other craziness.

    Can we start with the REAL terrorists? Those corporations and lifers in the military machine?

    Our country was founded by terrorists. It all depends on who you ask, whose history you read.

    I agree with Bryan, “I think we should strip citizenship from office holders who, after being sworn to uphold the Constitution, still decide not to uphold it.” Everybody from the president to the local keystones. Firing squad, prison or deportation to some hell hole. Maybe make a reservation in some hell hole like all the NA’s had to move to.

    Oh I have an attitude today. Ran out of coffee.

  29. gmknobl says:

    There seems to be a basic misunderstanding here. We proclaim that ALL people have certain inalienable rights. It does not matter that you are a citizen of the U.S. or not. The miranda statement derives partially from this. It informs the listener of these facts and the person reading them so they understand too what rights they have.

    Once proven in a civilian court of law by your peers of terrorist activities, if the sentence is to eject you from our country and your appeals are exhausted, then you may have citizenship stripped from you but this does not remove your inalienable rights as listed in the Bill of Rights. Nothing ever does.

    Sorry neocons who believe otherwise but it never will be so, even if fascists control the government.


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