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Woman who joined Daesh cannot return to US, Pompeo says

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech during a joint press conference with Polish Foreign Minister, Jacek Czaputowicz (not seen) at the "Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East" co hosted by US and Poland in the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland on 14 February 2019. [ Omar Marques - Anadolu Agency ]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Warsaw, Poland on 14 February 2019 [Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday a woman born in the United States who joined the Daesh militant group did not qualify for US citizenship and had no legal basis to return to the country, Reuters reports.

Hoda Muthana, 24, travelled to Syria over four years ago to join Daesh. She married a succession of Daesh fighters and went on Twitter to encourage attacks on the West.

In media interviews this week from a detention camp in Syria, Muthana said she was sorry for her actions and wanted to return to her family in Alabama with her toddler son.

Pompeo said Muthana was not a US citizen and would not be admitted into the United States.

“She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter he had directed Pompeo “not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!”

Pompeo’s statement did not explain why the State Department did not consider Muthana a US citizen.

The action followed Britain’s move to revoke the citizenship of a teenager after she joined Daesh, citing security concerns.

Read: British teen who joined Daesh to have citizenship revoked

The US Department of State did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but US officials appeared to be basing their position on an exception in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, which grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”

Muthana’s father was a Yemeni diplomat, working in the United States. Children born in the United States to accredited diplomats, under the 14th Amendment, do not acquire citizenship since they are not “born … subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Hassan Shibly, a representative for the Muthana family and a staff member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, tweeted that she was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, in October 1994, months after her father informed the US government he was no longer a diplomat.

Charles Swift, director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, said her father’s revocation of his diplomatic status meant Hoda Muthana was a US citizen. Swift said he planned to file a lawsuit over her case.

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