The Enemy Expatriation Act: Learn How Your Government Could Strip You of Your Citizenship If This Legislation Becomes Law

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

In his Washington Post article titled 10 Reasons The United States Is No Longer The Land Of The Free (January 15, 2012), Jonathan Turley addressed the issue of indefinite detention of American citizens. He wrote:

Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. While Sen. Carl Levin insisted the bill followed existing law “whatever the law is,” the Senate specifically rejected an amendment that would exempt citizens and the Administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal court. The Administration continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion.

The next day on this blog, Professor Turley said that he had been heartened by the response to his column. He added, “a few commenters continue to suggest that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) does not allow for the indefinite detention of citizens.”

Even people who believe that NDAA does not allow for the indefinite detention of citizens should be concerned about a proposed amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that would give our government “the authority to strip a person of their American citizenship if that person is accused or suspected of supporting ‘hostilities’ against the U.S.  The amendment, known as the Enemy Expatriation Act (EEA), was introduced, in October, by Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa., and Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Scott Brown, R-Mass.

According to ‘Enemy Expatriation Act’ Could Compound NDAA Threat to Citizen Rights, an article written by Ashley Portero that was published in the International Business Times, EEA “would allow the government to revoke Americans of their U.S. citizenship if they are accused or suspected of ‘engaging in, or purposefully or materially supporting, hostilities.’ The sparse amendment, which defines ‘hostilities’ as ‘any conflict subject to the laws of war,’ does not say which government body — say a military tribunal or a congressional panel — has the power to brand suspected persons as hostiles.” If EEA becomes law, our government “could potentially revoke the citizenship of anyone deemed to be supporting hostilities against the U.S., thereby subjecting him or her to the indefinite military detention provision of the NDAA.”

Devon Chaffee, who is a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “Fortunately, it’s unlikely that Congress would pass something like this. If it did, the law would probably be found unconstitutional since the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress cannot revoke U.S. citizenship without a citizen’s consent.” He added, “The theory behind this is citizenship is a core civil liberty. That’s why the right to nationality is recognized by the global community as a fundamental human right.”

Portero wrote that under regulations that were “set by section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, American citizens can only be stripped of their citizenship if they renounce it ‘in some way…’” She added that “joining the military of a foreign state or engaging in ‘a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force’ the U.S. government are actions that can be interpreted as voluntarily renunciations of citizenship.” claims that the purpose of H.R. 3166 and S. 1698 is to “add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.”

The sponsors of the legislation argue that the Enemy Expatriation Act is constitutional. Their contention is that “citizens who engage in hostilities against the U.S. perform those acts with the intention of relinquishing their nationality.”

Now, one has to ask what our government might construe as “engaging in or supporting hostilities against the U.S.” Is this something we citizens should be concerned about?


‘Enemy Expatriation Act’ Could Compound NDAA Threat to Citizen Rights (International Business Times)

The Enemy Expatriation Act and the NDAA: Due Process Destroyed? (The New American)

Government could strip citizenship from Americans under Enemy Expatriation Act (RT)

Enemy Expatriation Act (Examiner)

Enemy Expatriation Act and the subsequent media blackout (Daily Paul)

The Enemy Expatriation Act (S.1698/H.R.3166) – Anonymous (Open.Salon)

H.R. 3166: Enemy Expatriation Act (

S. 1698: Enemy Expatriation Act (

39 thoughts on “The Enemy Expatriation Act: Learn How Your Government Could Strip You of Your Citizenship If This Legislation Becomes Law”

  1. Elaine,

    Schumer has long been a perfect example of why I hold both parties in equal disdain; a poster child for the benefits of campaign finance reform.

  2. Gene,

    Chucky doesn’t want to go after the banks/Wall Streeters in New York.


    Charles Schumer’s Wall Street dance
    By Brian Montopoli
    June 29, 2011

    It was the fall of 2008 – the thick of the financial crisis – and Sen. Charles Schumer had a problem.

    During his rise to become the powerful third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, the New Yorker had aggressively cultivated an image as a true liberal Democrat, someone who put hardworking middle-class Americans ahead of special interests. It was a characterization he pushed in his frequent television appearances; In his book “Positively American,” Schumer alluded to a fictional middle-class couple, the Baileys, whom he dubbed “the reason I had entered public service.”

    Yet outside the public eye, Schumer was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Wall Street money that Congress had ever seen.

    Over the course of his career, Schumer has raised half a million dollars from Goldman Sachs – and nearly as much from Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase. Between 1989 and 2010, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Schumer took in nearly $9 million from the entire securities and investment industry, a haul that helped him become one of the most powerful politicians in America, a deep-pocketed kingmaker with unrivalled connections among the wealthiest players on Wall Street.

  3. Tangentially related:

    Senators Go After Eduardo Saverin, Facebook Co-Founder, For Dumping U.S. Passport, Avoiding Taxes

    “WASHINGTON — Populist anger at Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s decision to renounce his U.S. citizenship — a move that could save him hundreds of millions in taxes if his Facebook stock gains value after the company goes public on Friday — has inspired two senators to propose legislation that could hit Saverin with heavy taxes and bar him from ever reentering the United States.

    Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) are unveiling the Ex-PATRIOT Act, which stands for “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy,” on Thursday. The bill would force anyone who “expatriates for a substantial tax purpose — as judged by the Internal Revenue Service” to pay a mandatory 30 percent tax on future capital gains. The ex-citizens would also be turned back at the border if they ever tried to come back.

    “This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong,” Schumer told reporters Thursday. “Eduardo Saverin wants to defriend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes. We aren’t going to let him get away with it.”

    Schumer called Saverin’s behavior ‘outrageous,’ arguing that ‘Saverin has turned his back on the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire.’

    Schumer also predicted the GOP would go along with the measure.

    ‘Why wouldn’t they?’ he said. Casey added, ‘I’d like to hear the reason why not.'”

    Uh, because in America the social compact is based entirely upon voluntary membership once a person is of the age of majority whether they are a natural or naturalized citizen, Chucky. If you graft monkeys are soooooo concerned about lost tax revenues, how about your getting your act together and making sure the wealthy who remain citizens pay their fair share right after you make sure the corporations pay taxes instead of making money on taxes like GE did last year? Yeah. Because otherwise this reeks of discrimination and playing to voter angst rather than doing anything productive and/or substantive to solve our nation’s problems. Of course, if someone were to point out to you that this kind of ex post facto law is forbidden by the Article I, section 9, clause 3 of the Constitution your lot can always point to your equally illegal immunity from prosecution deal with the telecom industry as a precedent. Morons.

  4. @ Glenn Geenwald, another side of the authoritarian, anti-rights mindset running rampant in Washington — targeted assassinations, etc.:

    “Last night, Pelley . . . interviewed Defense Secretary and former CIA chief Leon Panetta on 60 Minutes. It’s well worth watching this three-minute clip because, although Panetta doesn’t say much that is new (he simply asserts the standard slogans and unproven assertions that Obama defenders on this topic always assert), watching a top Obama official, under decent questioning, defend the power to target U.S. citizens for assassination viscerally conveys the rigidly authoritarian mindset driving all of this.”


    “Here we have the U.S. Defense Secretary, life-long Democrat Leon Panetta, telling you as clearly as he can that this is exactly the operating premise of the administration in which he serves: once the President accuses you of being a Terrorist, a decision made in secret and with no checks or due process, we can do anything we want to you, including executing you wherever we find you. ”

  5. Bill Text
    112th Congress (2011-2012)

    Congressional Record References Bill Summary & Status

    S.1698 — Enemy Expatriation Act (Introduced in Senate – IS)

    S 1698 IS

    112th CONGRESS

    1st Session

    S. 1698

    To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.


    October 12, 2011

    Mr. LIEBERMAN (for himself and Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

    A BILL

    To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Enemy Expatriation Act’.


    (a) In General- Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481) is amended–

    (1) in subsection (a)–

    (A) in each of paragraphs (1) through (6), by striking `or’ at the end;

    (B) in paragraph (7), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; or’; and

    (C) by adding at the end the following:

    `(8) engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.’; and

    (2) by adding at the end the following:

    `(c) For purposes of this section, the term `hostilities’ means any conflict subject to the laws of war.’.

    (b) Technical Amendment- Section 351(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1483(a)) is amended by striking `(6) and (7)’ and inserting `(6), (7), and (8)’.


    `hostilities’ means any conflict subject to the laws of war.’

    Can anyone explain what the above actually means? What are all the types of conflict that our government could consider to be subject to the laws of war?

  6. NMroadrunner – yeah, flag pins. Thanks for reminding. Bill Moyers has done some great work exposing how this symbol has been hijacked by idealogues. But now it seems all the pols do it, another example of the drift to the right. Can’t be outflanked by the wingers, after all. . Here’s a classic Moyers riff from ’03

  7. Cindy,

    Thanks for your input and links. Like you, I wonder why there is so little discussion of this very serious subject in the MSM. I felt it was an important issue to write about.

  8. “this is has not been the land of opportunity for 20 years and is rapidly become no longer the home of the free either.

    While income inequality has been rising sharply in the US economic mobility has been dropping off a cliff – both are much better in Europe and Scandinavia now. Add in the social safety net, better corporate governance and environmental regulations…” -Frankly


    While I wholeheartedly agree, I’m still crazy enough to believe that we can cure what ails us… and we need your children to be a part of “the cure”…

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