The father of an Alabama woman who joined the Islamic State in Syria filed suit against the Trump administration Thursday in an effort to allow her return to the United States.
Ahmed Ali Muthana argues in the suit filed in federal court in Washington that his 24-year-old daughter, Hoda Muthana, is an American citizen by birth and should be allowed to come back to the U.S. with her toddler son.
Hoda Muthana is now in a Syrian refugee camp with the 18-month-old boy after fleeing the remnants of the Islamic State.
Her lawyers said in a statement that she expects to be charged with providing material support to terrorism if she is allowed to return to the U.S.
“Ms. Muthana has publicly acknowledged her actions and accepted full responsibility for those actions,” the lawyers said. “In Ms. Muthana’s words, she recognizes that she has ‘ruined’ her own life, but she does not want to ruin the life of her young child.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the young woman is not a citizen and will not be admitted to the country.
Pompeo explained in an interview with Craig Melvin on NBC News’ “Today” that the woman is not a citizen of the United States.
“You have to remember the context. We’ve now taken down all but the last square inch of the caliphate in Syria, millions of people liberated by President Trump and our administration, the great things that our soldiers have done on the ground. There are not over 800 terrorists that are being held. She’s just one of them. She is a terrorist. She’s not a U.S. citizen. She ought not return to this country.”
The family and their lawyers say they were told that the U.S. determined she did not qualify for citizenship because her father was a Yemeni diplomat at the time of her birth.
The Obama administration initially determined she was not a citizen and notified her family that it was revoking her passport in January 2016.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person born in the U.S. to an accredited foreign diplomatic officer is not subject to U.S. law and is not automatically considered a U.S. citizen at birth.