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. Last week, I discussed the Expatriation Act and NDAA in my article on American Thinker: “Citizenship: Easy Come, Easy Go.”

    I also mentioned it twice, yesterday, in Prof Turley’s last thread on Levin’s response. No one responded to my post, however, I am happy to see that today there is an article here on the Expatriation Act.

    My earlier point, however, was the fact that even Rep. Dent, in his video promoting his proposed legislation, mentions Hamdi as an example of why he feels the law is necessary. The uncomfortable fact, though, that no one seems to want to admit, is that Hamdi (and also Awlaki!) were “dual citizens,” and are only US citizens because of the “nonsense” (adjective used by Judge Posner) of the birthright citizenship practice. Even Justice Scalia, in his dissent in Hamdi, referred to him as a “presumed” citizen, which I also discussed in my previous American Thinker article: “Citizenship Jeopardy.”

    I cannot understand why no one else is bringing this up. Terrorists like Hamdi or Awlaki are fortunately rare occurrences that can be dealt with existing laws. If they were “stripped” of their US citizenship, they would not be “stateless.” The unavoidable fact that they were “dual” citizens (at birth, and unlike naturalized citizens who must renounce foreign citizenships in their Oath of naturalization, they get to be dual citizens for life??), points to the need for reform of the birthright citizenship practice and the toleration of dual citizenship in our nation (a status that Dr. John Fonte calls “civic bigamy”).

    I understand that immigration reform and birthright citizenship are unpopular subjects, but the fact that we have over 40 million dual citizens in the US (per Stanley Renshon) cannot be overlooked as it affects our national security.

    Of course I am not implying that dual citizenship equates with terrorism, but imagine if we ever became involved in a conflict while having a significant percentage of citizens claiming not just heritage, but actual citizenship in the very countries with which we are at war.

    Instead, Congress passes legislation that endangers the rights of citizenship of all of us.

  2. This man, and all others like him, need to be returned to the private sphere, where they can do less damage. Ideally they should be forced to live under a dictatorship run by their enemies until they learn some respect for the Bill of Rights.

  3. I have been encouraging my children to emigrate, 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 Horace would be saying “Go East young man, go East”.

  4. You constantly run great articles Elaine, I may disagree with your remedies, but your always a good read. Keep up the good writing.

  5. Scott Brown of Massassachusetts. Up for re-election. What would the people of Mass in 1776 think about this schmuck?

  6. Joseph Lieberman. Independent of Connecticutt. Strip him of his Senate seat voters. That goffer is not just old and senile, he is the worst threat to our nation since Jefferson Davis.

  7. ter·ror·ism   [ter-uh-riz-uhm]
    1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
    2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
    3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

    I think this says it all….Washington….Please learn how to read….and understand what you read…I hear your name and it is called Terrorism…..

  8. They really are trying to make us all a “one thought only” nation aren’t they?

    Such scared little men have no business in leadership positions. … legislators cowering in corners muttering “be afraid, be afraid”.

    Oh well, I guess cowards need representation too.

  9. The real target is any person who opposes US policy abroad. The law is vague enough so that any person who says lets say, Hugo Chavez is right in his complaints can be jailed. Since Lieberman is behind this, I know that his target is the pro-Palestinian Americans, so that he can get them put in prison and shut them up. He can care less about our freedoms as long as he silences any voice other than Israel’s. He is an execellent reason we need to prohibit dual citizenship.

  10. “…if that person is accused or suspected of supporting ‘hostilities’ against the U.S. ”

    Due Process seems to be another one of those “quaint ideas” that has gone by the wayside.

    DonS – you forgot to mention The Pledge of Allegiance and flag pins.

  11. As I see it, we have one single reason for voting for Obama. Two words:

    Supreme Court.

    Ginsberg and Kennedy are aging and may retire. The idea of a Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum appointing the next couple or three SCOTUS justices gives me heartburn. We may even be blessed by Thomas or Scalia retiring, although those two ideologues will probably stay on the bench until they are dead and mummified as long as there is a Democrat in the White House.

  12. Like I’ve said, there is no political penalty for destroying constitutional rights as long as you wrap yourself in the flag while doing it.

    All the citizenry seems to respond to. like Pavolov’s dogs, is the cue to play the star spangled banner and cheer. The subtleties of eroded liberties is lost. That’s for some other poor slob to worry about. Not me. Right?

    This nexus of law and politics has to meet the test of common sense at some point, where politicians can’t hide behind the twin buffers of legalisms and jingoism.

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