Lieberman to Propose Citizenship-Stripping Law

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post is reporting that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will be proposing a new law that could potentially strip Americans of their citizenship if they’re involved with foreign terrorist organizations. The limited details revealed today are enough to send a chill down the spine of civil libertarians around the country. I will be discussing this issue tonight on Rachel Maddow’s show.

The law reportedly would allow the State Department to treat citizenship like an administrative matter — deciding whether you have associated with terrorist organizations. Agency procedures are widely condemned for their lack of due process protections and the heavy deference given to agency decision-making. We have seen abuses of this system in the designation of organizations under a similar process.

To his credit, Schumer has come out against Lieberman’s proposal, again as reported by Sargant. He reports that Schumer initially indicated that he might support the law. However, Schumer’s staff insists that he was approached briefly in the hall on the subject but that he could not support such a proposal.

While the burden would be on the State Department and you would have access to court review, the agency process could make it difficult to contest such findings — particularly with the use of secret evidence (and barring the use of evidence by the defendant on national security grounds).

Stripping citizens of their citizenship could also create stateless persons — a problem in international law. Moreover, this process could occur at the same time that a person is fighting criminal charges — adding to the practical and financial burden.

Lieberman will reportedly hold a presser on Thursday.

For the full story, click here.

51 thoughts on “Lieberman to Propose Citizenship-Stripping Law”

  1. Gretski

    “….with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality:” appears to be the operative phrase here…..

    On reviewing USA citizenship issues on the web, it appears one has to actually appear before a govt. official and declare your intention to give up citizenship.

    I agree with some posters, Lieberman represents Israel, but it’s evident the Israelis want him here to grease the skids for them. Washington DC and Conn. are probably more to his liking than any desert city……

  2. Gretski 1, May 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Unfortunately, our laws are just now starting to catch up with reality. Some fifty years ago it would not have been imagined that groups like Al Queda could exist.


    Baloney. Just looking at the US in the 20th century, you’ve had fears of international, non-governmental groups like “anarchists,” “the international Communist movement,” and even Catholicism that were seen as roughly similar to al Qaeda. In some cases, like the actions of anarchists in the early 20th century, there were very real “terrorist” bombings and attacks. A shocking number of Americans believe(d) that there were caches of weapons in Catholic churches and rectories and that Catholics were awaiting a message from the Pope to deploy those arsenals and overthrow the government… Crazy, but it’s similar to the fear that many Americans have today that there are bomb workshops in every mosque. There’s nothing “novel” about the situation we are dealing with in regards to al Qaeda.

    Our situation today with al Qaeda is no different than past calls for stripping people of citizenship for supporting Communism.

  3. This is the last straw. Lieberman represents Israel in the united States Senate, not the US. I hope someone defeats him in next election. Can you imagine a panel who decides whether you are a terroist? Imagine he is part of the panel. Makes me shudder.

  4. Remember folks “inalienable” means “in effect until you have possibly done something.”

  5. Jericho, who is Colon Powers? does he work for the Fleets?

  6. Blouise, I so agree….plus, the other, degradation into fascism supported by violence, here, is unfathomable…

  7. Another attempt by the oligarchy to distract us from the really important issues?

    Say for instance, BP’s problems in the Gulf which could cascade into problems for all oil companies seeking to take advantage of Obama’s off-shore drilling policies?

    Lieberman’s ideas is so ludicrous, even for him, … there has to be something else going on.

  8. It’s pretty clear that existing law is adequate to deal with stipping naturalized (as opposed to native born) citizens of their citizenship when they commit felonies. [Lucky Luciano and all the Nazi camp guards who have been deported.] The rules for stripping naturalized citizens from citizenship are totally different from stripping citizenship from native born. The constitution bans exile as a form of punishment. By stripping native born citizens of their citizenship you are in effect exiling them.

    Maybe I missed it in prior posts, but I also thought joining a foreign army was a basis for stripping someone of their citizenship, naturalized or native born. I think that Faisal could be stripped of his naturalized citizenship under existing law. The idea that a person (naturalized or native born) could be stripped of his or her citizenship based on some terrorist list promulgated by the State Department is ludicrous and would never pass muster. Once again, this is just political grandstanding of the worst sort.

  9. I quickly googled some Lieberman quotes, see if he ever terrorised anyone, and my my, look what I found:

    “Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States.”

    Well, strip Lieberman and all the other chickenhawk warmongers from their citizenship already. They’ve been very much so a terrorist organisation.

    But alas, in the end, even I must admit that, yes, Lieberman, Cheney and the others – except for Colon Powers – do have a lighter skin colour so I guess they cannot be terrorists…. says so in the Websters definition.

    These f*%ing guys….

  10. To follow up. I used to work for a company which was required to implement methods to prevent people on the Denied Persons List (I remember it being called the “Denied Parties List”) from using the website I worked on. One of the weirdest things about the list is that there were (are?) people and/or businesses in the United States that we were legally prohibited from dealing with.

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