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Foreign Terrorist Citizenship Bill

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    Foreign Terrorist Citizenship Bill

    Senator Joe Lieberman (I, CN) recently introduced a bill to strip U.S. citizenship from members of foreign terrorist organizations. I have frankly mixed feelings about the bill.

    In principle the notion that embracing an ideology dedicated to the destruction of the institutions of American democracy, and taking substantive action to advance that goal, ought to result in loss of citizenship is sound. Existing law already strips citizenship from those who engage in treason and who take arms against the United States in service of a foreign state. Lieberman’s argument is that existing law fails to recognize the reality of substantive threats to the United States from non-governmental foes. The senator’s summary of the bill argues that it does not go beyond the reach of existing law in that respect. From the summary:

    How the Existing Statute Works: Under the existing federal statute, to which this provision would be added, the State Department must make an administrative determination that an individual has lost his or her U.S. nationality. The Secretary of State must approve a certificate of loss of nationality, and a copy of the certificate must also be provided to the Attorney General. The State Department has established a Board of Appellate Review to hear appeals from administrative decisions that result in the loss of nationality. An individual may also challenge that holding in federal district court. The burden of proof, by a preponderance of evidence, would be on the party asserting that loss of citizenship has occurred. This statutory scheme has been ...


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