President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who left in November 2014 to join ISIS, to return to the United States — despite her recent public plea to come back and stand trial in America.
CNN“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!,” Trump tweeted. Hours earlier, Pompeo declared that Muthana, who is detained in a Kurdish refugee camp, is not an American citizen.
“Ms. Hoda Muthana 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, nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Muthana, now 24, was a college student when she traveled to Syria over four years ago to join ISIS — eventually marrying three fighters and calling for the killing of Americans on Twitter. In a series of interviews this week from a sprawling camp in northern Syria with her infant son, she expressed deep remorse.
Hassan Shibly, an executive director for designated terrorist group CAIR-Florida and a family representative for Muthana, denied that she was not a citizen, and called the move by the Trump administration to claim otherwise “very dangerous.”
Most people born in the United States are awarded birthright citizenship. But under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person born in the U.S. to a foreign diplomatic officer is not subject to the U.S. Constitution and is not automatically considered a U.S. citizen at birth.
According to Shibly, Muthana was born in New Jersey in 1994. Her father, who had been in the US as a Yemeni diplomat, claims to have stepped down from his diplomatic role months before Muthana’s birth, Shibly added. (But there’s no proof that he did)
“Hoda Muthana had a valid US passport and is a citizen. She was born in Hackensack, NJ in October 1994, months after her father stopped being diplomat,” he added before later tweeting a picture of what he claimed is Muthana’s birth certificate, that appeared to confirm her place and date of birth.
A State Department spokesperson did not address Shibly’s claims directly but told DailyMail.com over email that Muthana ‘was not born a U.S. citizen and she has never been a U.S. citizen’ even though she was born in the United States.
ISIS could have made her a fake passport and birth certificate, which they have done frequently in the past to get their fighters into the West.
Under US law Muthana would be a US citizen by nature of her birth in the country, though the State Department could argue that her claim to citizenship is flawed because of the immigration status of her parents at the time of her birth.
Muthana’s family plans to file a lawsuit challenging the government’s assertion that she is not a citizen this week, according to Charles Swift, who represents Muthana’s father.
Muthana grew up in Hoover, Alabama, in a Yemeni household that she has called ultra-strict. In interviews with The Guardian, The New York Times and ABC News from the Al Hawl refugee camp this week, she described how she used money from her parents meant for tuition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to pay for a flight to Istanbul in late 2014.
After being smuggled into ISIS-controlled territory, she tweeted a photo of an American passport, with the caption “bonfire soon, no need for these anymore.” In the caliphate, she become a noted ISIS propagandist online, her presence on Twitter growing extreme and violent.