State Dept: Fighting With ISIS Doesn't Automatically Mean Your Passport Will Be Revoked

Depending on who you talk to, anywhere from twelve to hundreds of American citizens have joined ISIS to fight in the Jihad against the West. The State Department maintains that there are only  “maybe a dozen”  Americans in ISIS. 

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told CNN, on Wednesday,  more than 100 Americans have pledged themselves to the Islamic Caliphate.  Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said on Meet the Press, that “hundreds of Americans were affiliated with the group.”

The question on many people’s minds is – what happens when these folks (however many of them there are) decide they want to return home? In Great Britain, where an estimated 500 British citizens have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight with ISIS, Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for Parliament to pass tough new sanctions, including passport seizures and banning Brits who join the jihadists from returning home.

We’re not yet seeing a similar push in the United States from the Obama administration.

Earlier this year, Rep. Michele Bachmann asked the FBI, what would happen when terrorists from her state tried to return home. She revealed the answer she got on the Glenn Beck Show.

“Two from my state were the first Americans who were fighting for ISIS,” Bachmann told The Glenn Beck Program on Tuesday. “I had gone earlier this year and asked the FBI, ‘Are there any Minnesotans that are over fighting with ISIS?’ It was classified information at the time, I couldn’t reveal it. Now everyone knows.”

“At that time, these two hadn’t been killed yet. So what I asked is, ‘OK, once they’re done fighting with ISIS, what’s going to happen if they try to return?’ And they said, ‘Well, they’ll come into the country.’ Are you kidding me? We are not going to prevent them from coming into the United States?'”

During a press briefing on Sept. 2,  State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked if joining a designated terrorist group was something for which you could lose your passport.   She answered, “it’s not as black and white as that.”

Two days later, State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf admitted that being a member of a designated terrorist organization “does not automatically mean your passport will be revoked.”
Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney was on Fox News’  “The Kelly File” Friday to discuss this issue.
“If you are a member of a terrorist group, you are aiding and abetting the enemy. Aiding and abetting the enemy is treason against our Constitution. So it would seem to me that automatically, even without having a trial, that your passport should be revoked. Automatically,” he said.
McInerney said we need legislation to clearly delineate “that you don’t go to Syria to study the Quran and be a member of a terrorist group.”
“We have a problem and we need to get it fixed,” he said.

Rep Bachmann announced that she would be introducing legislation “so that anyone with a U.S. passport who’s gone to fight with ISIS or any of these jihadist groups, they are prevented from coming into the United States.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also announced on Friday his intent to file the Expatriate Terrorist Act (E.T.A.) of 2014 when the Senate is called back into session on Monday, September 8th.

 “Americans who choose to go to Syria or Iraq to fight with vicious ISIS terrorists are party to a terrorist organization committing horrific acts of violence, including beheading innocent American journalists who they have captured,” said Sen. Cruz. “There can be no clearer renunciation of their citizenship in the United States, and we need to do everything we can to preempt any attempt on their part to re-enter our country and carry out further attacks on American civilians.”

 “There can be no clearer renunciation of their citizenship in the United States, and we need to do everything we can to preempt any attempt on their part to re-enter our country and carry out further attacks on American civilians,” Cruz added. 

In April, President Obama signed into law another Cruz bill aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the United States, this time as ambassadors. Obama said, however that he would merely use the law as “advisory” and leave enforcement to his discretion. 


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