1. A few days ago, I sat down with Hoda Muthana,m in Syria. She had traveled from Alabama to Syria on a US passport but she was worried that her US citizenship might be called into question. That’s exactly what has happened. See statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: pic.twitter.com/MlbWxh1k6f— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 20, 2019
2. Muthana, now 24, has already been issued two US passports: Once when she was a child and the second one in 2014, when she used it to travel overseas to join ISIS. So how can Pompeo say that she’s not a citizen? The technicality is that she is the daughter of a Yemeni diplomat.— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 20, 2019
3. According to the 14th amendment, people born in the US - as Muthana was - are citizens of the US and “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” What does that mean if you’re the daughter of a Yemeni diplomat? Well a diplomat is subject to the jurisdiction of his or her own country pic.twitter.com/CaQXgtWBmH— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 20, 2019
4. But I just got off the phone with Muthana’s family attorney and this rule doesn’t apply to her because her father was discharged from his UN post 1 month before she was born. At the time of her birth, Muthana’s father was no longer a diplomat hence the exclusion is not valid— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 20, 2019
5. When Muthana first received her US passport when she was a child, her father was asked to produce proof that he had been discharged from his diplomatic post. Authorities reviewed her case, says her family lawyer, and handed her not just her first passport but also her second.— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 20, 2019
6. So why is the US *now* saying that she isn’t a citizen? This being the same girl that applied for a renewal of her passport in 2014, received the said passport, and successfully used it to fly from Birmingham to Istanbul? Those trying to help her say that this a “legal dodge.”— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 20, 2019
7. Sources tell us that the US may not have enough to successfully charge her. This is an easy way to offload her. According to data tracked by the Times, there are at least 13 Americans tied to ISIS languishing detention camps in Syria. Almost all are women/l and children— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 20, 2019
This story has kind of slipped beneath the headlines, and yet I find it profoundly disturbing, especially coming under an Administration headed by a man who spent years challenging the birthright citizenship of the 44th President of the United States. Apparently the State Department was convinced that Hoda Muthana was a U.S. citizen at least twice; but now they have decided she is not worthy to re-enter the U.S., despite being a citizen.
It has probably slipped away because "Muslim" and "ISIS" and even "radical Islam." I have no sympathy for Muthana, and if she faces criminal charges she should be returned to the U.S. to face them (what, she's more dangerous than "El Chapo"? He's the former head of one of the largest, most violent drug rings in the world. She married a mensch in ISIS.). Is her punishment to be denied her birthright? That's a very slippery slope, especially coming from a President who wonders aloud why he can't prosecute a comedy show and declares the press the "enemy of the people." Is the problem for the rest of us simply that Muthana is unsympathetic?
I know this will play out in the courts, but I'm growing tired of expecting the courts to save us from men who have no respect for the rule of law.