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Is it ever OK to strip an American of his or her citizenship?

Sen. Joe Lieberman plans to introduce legislation today that would strip the citizenship of those who are involved with terror groups.

By Jodi Westrick  |  May 6, 2010; 10:17 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Of course it's ok to strip someone of their citizenship. If someone joins a group that wants to overthrow the Government , there are already provisions in an old law that will strip the citizenship from him. And to fight for a country who is fighting against the US , or to spy for them is grounds to remove one's citizenship.

Posted by: puck-101 | May 6, 2010 12:13 PM

This bill has so many opportunities for misuse, much like the Patriot Act. Who decides what "level of involvement" warrants stripping citizenship? What safeguards would be put in place to keep this from being used for personal or political gain? After the last 8 years have we learned so little? Terror alerts raised just before elections. Protest groups consisting of 70 yr olds being infiltrated because their protests gave "aid to the enemy". Does grandma lose her citizenship because she donates money to a Pakistani charity claiming to build schools?

What about companies that aid terrorists? Can the CEOs and Board of Directors lose their citizenship if their company sells fertilizer to terrorists?

This bill can be misused by both Democrats and Republicans. All should be against it.

Posted by: drmondo | May 6, 2010 12:26 PM

The only way that a native born American should lose his citizenship: After being sentenced to death and executed for being convicted as a traitor to the United States of America.
Native born Americans should never be stripped of their citizenship, but only the right to vote. William Ayers still has the right to vote and is still an American citizen even though he is an unrepentant terrorist who is not in prison.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | May 6, 2010 12:44 PM

Naturalized citizens who have been convicted of crimes against the United States of America amounting to treason or terrorism should be stripped of their citizenship after all appeals have failed and after serving time for their crimes deported to their native country.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | May 6, 2010 12:46 PM

I think the U.S. rule of law is sufficient to deal with traitors and terrorists without stripping anyone of citizenship. I do believe the handling of Timothy McVeigh makes this point quite sufficiently.

Posted by: Raiche58 | May 6, 2010 12:52 PM

This is a slippery slope that we should never be on! Where do you draw the line?

It amounts to a knee-jerk silly tail wagging the dog proposal!

Posted by: KaneMan | May 6, 2010 1:12 PM

Will Lieberman proposal also include “any American who joins a foreign military” American Jews that join Israeli Army?
Will this strip Citizenship the current White House Chief of Staff is Rahm Emanuel, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces?

Traitor Joe should start with stripping his own citizenship.

Posted by: VAFormerGOP | May 6, 2010 1:26 PM

The United States Constitution affords every citizen certain well-defined rights. They are not revocable privileges. If American citizenship can be taken away from some of us in order to take away their rights, then none of us possess them as rights anymore. It's bad enough when average citizens don't understand this simple fact. But it's a catastrophe when their elected representatives don't.

Posted by: rhanchtoo | May 6, 2010 1:58 PM

Boy this question is awfully broad!

Is it OK to strip people of theie US Citizenship after they've been convicted of terrorism, hostile acts to the nation and/or treason? Then the answer is yes. And I believe there is a provision in our constitution to do just that.

Is it OK to strip people of their US citizenship because they've been accused of terrorism? No, no and more no. for one thing it blatantly violates due-process. For another once you open the door to doing this for terrorism where do you stop? It is a very slippery slope to denying people citizenship because they jaywalked or voted Democratic.

This is just another "look at me, I'm still relevant" stunt by Joe Lieberman. The country would be better off not to give this guy any air [attention] in which to fan his already massive ego.

Posted by: dre7861 | May 6, 2010 2:43 PM

I can't stand Joe Lieberman, but if someone did what the guy tried to do in Times Square, then yes.

Nowadays they have laws that say anybody can accuse anybody of terrorism, even neighbor against neighbor, and the cops will actually go and arrest an American citizen, even if the other person is lying.

In that case, no.

But if you've got a person like the Times Square Terrorist who has even admitted that he planned this terrorist attack, then yes, definitely revoke his American Citizenship, but I don't know how much that's going to help cause he'll probably get life in prison anyway.

Let's just hope that if we revoke his citizenship that WON'T open the door for some other country, like Pakistan, demand that he be returned to them.

Posted by: lindalovejones | May 6, 2010 3:26 PM

We have more charges and punishments available to a traitorous citizen than a non-citizen.

More of Lieberman's grandstanding.

Posted by: edismae | May 6, 2010 4:55 PM

Do the same to those who support illegal immigration.

Posted by: memyselfI1 | May 6, 2010 5:22 PM

The 14th amendment says: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Lieberman's proposal is a disastrous, unconstitutional disgrace, designed to deny protection of the courts to anyone accused or vaguely suspected of terrorism, and return us to a policy of torture. A flagrant violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution.

Posted by: Rafaelo | May 6, 2010 6:16 PM

Many of the commentators are ignorant of current US law that allows naturalized citizens to be stripped of their citizenship. It has been applied recently against former Nazi prison guards who had become US citizens and had lived here for more that 30 years.
Lieberman's proposal, which does not involve a conviction, is problematical. But there is no issue once a defendant is convicted of specific crimes, so Congress can certainly include aiding and abetting terrorism to the already existing law as sufficient grounds for stripping citizenship. Doing this for citizens by birth is problematical since there may not be any country that will accept them.

Posted by: Observer20 | May 6, 2010 7:35 PM

I don't know the exact words of the oath that this a-hole swore to in becoming a naturalized US citizenship, but his actions are without a doubt, sufficient to strip him of his citizenship --- when will Americans wake up and that includes our anti-president, to the fact that the jihadists want to kill Americans and destroy our country and way of life.

God Bless America!

Posted by: hbw2000 | May 6, 2010 8:11 PM

This is a slippery slope that we should never be on! Where do you draw the line?

Parking tickets.

Posted by: rcubedkc | May 6, 2010 8:38 PM

It amazes me the level of miseducation that happens in the media. For most of our history citizenship WAS NOT sacrosanct. It could be stripped for a host of reason. The case that allows dual citizenship and establishes that citizenship can't be revoked was decided 5-4.

Some background on the case. The suit was brought by an naturalized US citizen living in Israel who was denied a passport on the basis of residency abroad and ore importantly voting in foreign election. The deciding vote in the case was from Abe Fortas, the son of an Orthodox Jew. Now a similar case had been brought to the court a few years before by a Mexican American who lost his citizenship for fleeing to Mexico to avoid the WW2 draft. The court said stripping his citizenship was just.

So for me the Afroyim case is flawed due to the conflict of interest of Fortas. He should have removed himself he was not impartial.

Let Leiberman submit the bill, Obama won't sign it but if it becomes law by some miracle. We do have a Supreme Court. I don't need Schumer and other nutty liberals ruling what is constitutional.

Posted by: cleancut77 | May 6, 2010 8:48 PM

Hey Cleancut77, do you count House Republican Leader John Boehner as one of those "nutty liberals ruling what is constitutional"? Just asking.

You are right - and many here wrong - that there is already authority of law to strip Americans of their citizenship for a short list of "expatriating acts" - such as treason, serving in a hostile military, or even serving in high political office in another country. We have told some American citizens that they would have to choose between their US citizenship and serving as a minister or senior military official, even in countries that were not hostile to the US. We've also turned a blind eye when it politically suited our international interests, such as when Milan Panic was prime minister of Yugoslavia, since he was seen as a counter-weight to the genocidal Slobodan Milosevic (and that was even before Slobo really got his evil going).

The reason there is a clear constitutional issue with Lieberman's proposal is not that it would treat serving in a terrorist group the same as it would serving in a foreign military. It's the part about stripping citizenship from those merely accused of a crime, not convicted of it. Congress is perfectly right to refrain from passing laws they can be reasonably certain the Court will strike down. It just makes more sense to pass laws that you are fairly certain will stay on the books.

I'm actually amazed that 3/4s of respondents think there are no circumstances in which stripping citizenship can be justified. I have no problem with taking such action when solid proof of serving in a foreign army/organization actively at war with the US is in hand. Particularly in the case of naturalized citizens.

Oh, and Observer20, the way former Nazis lose their citizenship is based on fraud committed in their applications for visas and citizenship. They must attest that they were not members of the Nazi party in their applications. If they lie there, they have committed material fraud and any subsequent visa or naturalization is rendered null and void when the fraud is brought to light. So it's a rather different process than someone losing citizenship for an act he commits after becoming a citizen, because the Nazi was not technically eligible for citizenship in the first place.

Posted by: milo13 | May 6, 2010 9:14 PM

I am amazed that Joe Lieberman would submit a bill to strip someone of their citizenship without due process of the law. Another matter that everyone seems not to remember is that when one betrays a country it is called TREASON and I feel that the death penalty should be reinstituted for treason. Why should my taxes go towards supporting someone in prison who has betrayed his country.

Some other facts that have not been brought out here is that people are already being stripped of their citizenship in this country. For example, if a child is born here to naturalized citizens and commits and found guilty of a crime, he or she after serving time for his/her crime is usually deported to the home country of their parents.

Posted by: DAFERDIN | May 6, 2010 10:05 PM

Not a governmental tool we need. There is no need to write new law on this. Mr. Lieberman should well understand this is a door that needs to stay shut.

Posted by: Nymous | May 7, 2010 3:26 AM

This will backfire on Liberman and the Isreali lobby. During the 1967 Arab-Isreali war many Jewish Americans fought for Israel. When the USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli forces killing scores of US sailors many in the US saw Israel as the enemy. Take that thought to the extreme, would the Americans fighting for Israel be stripped of citizenship if the radical right was in power at home?

Posted by: pooorpeddler1 | May 7, 2010 7:18 AM

This would be an effective tool to use against the right wing armed groups supporting overthrow of our elected government and attempting to intimidate other citizens. Strip them of their citizenship and remove them to the country of their choice or an undisclosed location.

Posted by: fare777 | May 7, 2010 11:16 AM

I'm a staunch Democrat. Call me anti-semitic if you like, but if Lieberman wants this law it should apply to every Jew who has ever signed up with the Israeli "self defense" forces. And I mean including the President's chief-of-staff. Israel attacked a United States ship in 1967, and has committed espionage against the United States on several occasions since.

Lieberman is a fool. Are the citizens of Connecticut also fools?

Posted by: jbjinlrsc | May 8, 2010 12:36 AM

There certainly should be some mechanism to revoke a person's passport. A passport certainly carries with it a level of trust, (and which individuals such as the NYC bomber obviously do not possess. Is not breaking the oath made at the time of obtaining citizenship a greater crime than breaking other oaths? If US citizenship can be revoked for any other reason, then it certainly should be revocable for a crime such as this.
A passport is a precious commodity. Just ask refugees all over the world! We believe that a US Passport is even more precious. If not, what is all the immigration "fuss" about?
A passport is necessary to leave or enter this country and this guy should not have one!

Posted by: zoutendr | May 8, 2010 2:43 PM

Daferdin, I don't believe that's true. Pursuant to Title 8 of the U.S. Code,a child born on American soil automatically gets U.S. citizenship, unless the child is born to a foreign government official who is in the United States as a recognized diplomat. Children born in certain U.S. territories -- Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam -- may also acquire U.S. citizenship.

Anyone born with U.S. citizenship retains it for life unless he or she deliberately gives it up -- for example, by filing an oath of renunciation.

Posted by: lafred | May 10, 2010 4:37 PM


AND congresswoman JANIE HARMON.

Their dual loyalty, their constant use of America for the purposes of Israel stinks. We need it less than the plague.

Regarding Harmon, the FBI caught her in a phone tap trying to get two AIPAC indicted spies against America out of their indictments. And there she sits on the

Lieberman heads, for God's sake, the
Homeland Security COmmittee. NO ONE like him shouild be allowed near that committee. which he uses for the benefit of Israel, as others before him.

The rest of the world cringes. America becomes less and less safe and NEtanyahoo
thumbs his nose at peace with Palestine, the only route to making us safer.

Posted by: whistling | May 10, 2010 5:27 PM

THe dual loyalists should be stripped of one of their loyalisties.

And since most of them have demonstrated c clearly which is their real loyalty,
from Congress to Wall Street,

LEt's have at it.

Posted by: whistling | May 10, 2010 5:31 PM

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