POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Terrorist Trying to Destroy America Should not Enjoy American Citizenship

by David Trumbull - May 14, 2010

The Boston Globe editorialized against the bill calling it “misguided, opportunistic…represent[ing] the most damaging, retrograde…ideas”—which should be enough to tell you it’s a good bill.

The bill in question, the Terrorist Expartiation Act was filed last week in the Senate by Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts. The Senate co-sponsor is Joe Lieberman, independent of Connecticut. That the man who was the Democratic Party’s choice for Vice President as recently as 2000 is now being denounced by liberals and Democrats for putting his name on piece of common sense legislation that would revoke the citizenship of a U.S. national who provides material support or resources to a Foreign Terrorist Organization is an indication of just how out-of-touch with reality—let alone the voters—that today’s Democratic Party has become.

“In recent years, foreign terrorist organizations, like al Qaida, have shown they remain determined to kill American citizens and bring violence to our homeland. We continue to defend our nation against shadowy extremist enemies whose tactics are ever-changing and evolving, but their goal of destroying our way of life remains the same,” said Senator Brown. “It is critical to our homeland security that we adjust and adapt our defense measures to keep terrorism out of our country. This bi-partisan legislation we are offering today closes a loophole on an existing 70-year-old law to better reflect the unique challenges of today’s war against violent extremists, both at home and abroad.”

The existing federal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1481, identifies seven categories of acts for which U.S. citizens lose their citizenship. There are (1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state, (2) taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state, (3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, (4) serving the employment of a foreign state as a national of such foreign state or having declared allegiance to such foreign state, (5) making a formal renunciation of American nationality while in a foreign state, (6) making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality, or (7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States.

The Terrorists Expatriation Act would add to that list “providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization; engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.”

The same due process that applies to the existing statute will apply to those whose citizenship could be revoked under the proposed amendment to the law. The State Department would make an administrative determination that a U.S. Citizen has indicated his intent to renounce his citizenship by supporting a Foreign Terrorist Organization. That individual will then have the right to appeal that determination within the State Department and, then, to a federal district court.

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]