Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to “Fox News Sunday,” rejected a lawsuit filed against the Trump administration this week by the father of an Alabama woman who left the U.S. to join the Islamic State group.
He said that she is a “non-citizen terrorist” who “is not coming back.”
The lawyer for Hoda Muthana, an American-born woman who defected to the Islamic State, says his client should be allowed to return the United States because she was born here, and he also argued that her child should be considered an American citizen.
“She’s a non-citizen terrorist; she has no legal basis for a claim of U.S. citizenship,” Pompeo told anchor Chris Wallace.
He added: “She’s not coming back to the United States to create the risk that someday she’d return to the battlefield and continue to put at risk American people, American kids, American boys and girls that were sent to help defeat ISIS — she put them at risk, she’s not a U.S. citizen, she’s not coming back.”
Muthana, 24, has pleaded with officials to let her back into the U.S. following her recent escape from ISIS and capture by Kurdish forces. She was born in 1994 in Hackensack, N.J.
Muthana’s lawyer, Charles Swift, the director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, told VOA’s Urdu Service Friday that Muthana was born in New Jersey nearly two months after her father left his position as a diplomat in 1994, thus making her a U.S. citizen.
Asked by Wallace as to the legitimacy of Muthana’s claim of birthright citizenship, and whether her father’s diplomatic status was the issue, Pompeo responded: “There’s litigation ongoing. Here’s what I can tell you: We have a strong legal basis for our claim she’s not a citizen, and she’s not coming back.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Pompeo stated that Muthana had “no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria.”
President Trump also said that he had instructed Pompeo to deny Muthana’s attempt to return.