In 2014, a Yemeni woman named Hoda Muthana, who thought she was American, left a comfortable middle-class life in Alabama. She withdrew from college, used her tuition money to fly to Syria. She started generating ISIS propaganda of the death-to-America variety. She married a terrorist. When he was killed in combat she married another terrorist and spawned a terrorist-in-training.
By late 2016, her Twitter antics of inciting violence against Americans had attracted the attention of the Obama State Department which revoked her passport. The same commentary escaped the ever vigilant eyes of the Twitter censors who were too busy suspending conservatives to worry about that platform being used to spread terrorist propaganda.
By 2017, ISIS was reeling from a series of defeats. Muthana was a widow again. She was captured by Kurdish fighters and sent to a refugee camp. And she wanted to come home.
Muthana says her family in Alabama were deeply conservative and placed restrictions on her movements and interactions, factors she claims contributed to her radicalisation. “You want to go out with your friends and I didn’t get any of that. I turned to my religion and went in too hard. I was self-taught and thought whatever I read, it was right.
“I look back now and I think I was very arrogant. Now I’m worried about my son’s future. In the end I didn’t have many friends left, because the more I talked about the oppression of Isis the more I lost friends. I was brainwashed once and my friends are still brainwashed.”
Muthana said she had not been in contact with US officials since her capture. “I would tell them please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave. I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport and I wouldn’t mind.”
This whole story reminded me of the Tooter Turtle cartoon series that ran on Saturday mornings back when I was very much younger. Tooter was never satisfied with what he was and each week prevailed upon Mr. Wizard to change him into something more exciting. When things ended up badly, he always begged Mr. Wizard to bring him home. The video is cued up to the punchline.
(A friend of mine gained everlasting notoriety for screaming this out while breaking ice in the “Worm Pit” at 3 a.m. during the Benning Phase of Ranger School.)
We don’t know how the Obama administration would have reacted to her plea abut as a Muslim of terrorist disposition we can imagine they would have dispatched a LearJet to bring her home to a tickertape parade. Not so with President Trump.
Ms. Muthana’s case has been politically charged since Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post in February that he had directed the secretary of state “not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!”
Her father sued on her behalf in federal court and to the shock of many, District Judge Reggie Walton, who could be the archetype of the NeverTrump Democrat federal judge, ruled that the federal government was correct. That Muthana was not a US citizen. That her spawn was not a US citizen. And that she had no right or expectation to ever set foot in this country again.
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Hoda Muthana, a US-born woman who left the country to join ISIS, is not an American citizen, and therefore the government has no obligation to facilitate her return or that of her 2-year-old son.
Judge Reggie Walton said there was sufficient evidence that Muthana had been born while her father, who once represented Yemen in the United Nations, still had diplomatic status in the US.
Federal regulations and international law state that children of foreign diplomats born in the US are not subject to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees birthright citizenship, because they are born under the jurisdiction of another country.
Walton also ruled that Muthana’s father could not provide financial support to his daughter and grandson, who was born in territory under ISIS control and whom he has never met, without being subject to charges of providing material support to terrorism.
The case was appealed and last week the D.C. Circuit upheld Walton’s decision. This is from a writer at Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy who has a severe case of sand-in-the-panties over a terrorist being barred from entering the US because libertarian.
…In a unanimous decision issued today, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against her when it upheld the district court’s decision below that had denied her citizenship claim.
Judge Rao argued that because the U.S. government was not notified of the loss of diplomatic status for Muthana’s father before her birth, Hoda Muthana did not attain citizenship by virtue of her birth on American soil. Even though the U.S. government treated Muthana as a citizen from at least 2005 (when it issued her first passport) until 2016 (when it cancelled her then-current passport, claiming that she had been issued a passport in error), the circuit court refused to grant equitable relief.
“The Executive has no authority to confer citizenship on Hoda outside of the naturalization rules created by Congress. Nor do the courts have an equitable power to grant citizenship,” Judge Rao wrote in her opinion in a rather conclusory manner.
Hopefully, this brings this saga to an end. Like so many sad stories, the wounds are entirely self-inflicted. If the injured person had done nothing at all, they would have been fine. But they couldn’t. She worked very very hard to be an ISIS groupie and now she should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of her labor.
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