ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Terrorist Expatriation Act

Updated on February 21, 2011

The Terrorist Expatriation Act: Another Blatant Case of Racist Duplicity?

Spurred by the foiled terrorist attack on Times Square, a bi-partisan band of lawmakers in Washington introduced new legislation this last week that if signed into law, would summarily strip Americans known to have participated in terrorism of their citizenship.

Sponsored by an interesting mix of legislators from both ends of the ideological spectrum---in the US Senate, Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Scott Brown of Massachusetts; in the US House of Representatives, Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania---the Terrorist Expatriation Act would force any American proven to have provided material support or resources to a foreign body qualified by the Secretary of State as a terrorist organization or participated in actions against the United States to lose their citizenship.

Attempts by these lawmakers to assuage feelings and dampen heightened fears by presenting the proposed legislation as a reasoned, logical, culminating effort to enhance the 1940 Immigration and Nationality Act in light of current realities failed to gather much traction. Their claim that the bill only seeks to update this law in a manner that is merely reflective of the changing face of war was less than convincing.

Most people saw the bill as a little more than an irreverent, knee-jerk legislative overreach that posits a number of constitutional and logistical issues.

What exactly does “material support” mean? What would be the enforcement standards? What is the threshold of guilt or innocence? How comfortable as a society are we in extending such sweeping powers to bureaucrats without any judicial oversight or provision for adjudication? Doesn’t this bill run afoul of core due process considerations? What would be the nationality status of Americans whose citizenship had been revoked through this process? Should it concern us that this legislation ostensibly opens the door to the creation of a new class of “stateless” Americans?

Beyond the foregoing fundamental definitional and enforcement challenges, any discerning observer ought to find the timing of this initiative disingenuous and extraordinarily perturbing.

What Faisal Shahzad did in booby-trapping his Nissan Pathfinder truck with a home-made explosive cocktail of gasoline, propane tanks, fireworks and fertilizer and attempting to detonate it in the middle of a packed Times Square is undeniably dastardly and detestable.

However, Faisal certainly was not the first American citizen to “pal” with terrorists or actively plot to kill innocent Americans. To the contrary, many before him either earned the ignoble distinction of having actually succeeded where he had failed or accomplished what he desired in more resplendent style.

In a fit of murderous rage and vengeance against the US government, Tim McVeigh killed nearly 170 people (including 19 children) on April 19, 1995 when he detonated a truck bomb in front of Alfred P.Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

McVeigh was indicted on 11 federal counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, use of a weapon of mass destruction, destruction by explosives and eight counts of first-degree murder. He was later found guilty on all 11 counts and sentenced to death by lethal injection.

John Walker Lindh, infamously known as the American Taliban, was captured behind enemy lines on November 25, 2001 fighting side by side with his Taliban hosts against US-backed Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan.

Though indicted by a federal grand jury on ten charges including conspiracy to murder US citizens, several counts of conspiracy to provide/providing material support and resources to terrorist organizations, and conspiracy to contribute or supply services to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, John was subsequently sentenced to a 20-year prison term as part of an agreement under which he pled guilty to one count of supplying services to the Taliban and a criminal information charge that he carried a rifle and two hand grenades while in combat against American-led Afghani troops.

Why were the Liebermans, Browns, Altmires and Dents of this world so visibly reticent in proposing similar legislation back then? Were Faisal’s intentions or actions any more outlandish or heinous than McVeigh’s or Lindh’s or is the so-called Terrorist Expatriation Act another case of the same duplicitous, racist proclivities that we have sadly come to now expect?

It is hardly controvertible that regarding terrorism or terrorists, we have as a society, come to a strange, disquieting state of comfort in extending courtesies to white suspects to nearly the same diametric degree that we are quick to demonize or excoriate non-white suspects. This is often reflected in not just the way we think about these terms but in how we report about them and even how suspects are processed within our judicial system.

A very recent, candid example of the latter could be found in the decision by the presiding judge to release the nine white Michigan Hutaree Militia members indicted for actively plotting the murder of law enforcement officials and the overthrow of the US government. It is almost inconceivable to imagine the same fate befalling these bandits were they of Middle Eastern roots!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)