WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is contending that an American-born ISIS bride who drew President Donald Trump’s ire last month as she made public pleas to return home with her young son is not a US citizen.
In their first response to a lawsuit that Hoda Muthana’s father brought last week in a federal court in Washington, DC, prosecutors said that Muthana was never a US citizen because the UN had not notified American authorities that her father was no longer a diplomat until after her birth.
The Justice Department’s filing on Monday doubles down on a claim made last month by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and narrows her chances of repatriation.
“Muthana is not and has never been a U.S. citizen, and her son likewise is not a U.S. citizen. Settled law applied to the relevant events clearly demonstrates that Plaintiff enjoyed diplomatic-agent-level-immunity until February 6, 1995—after Muthana’s birth,” prosecutors wrote.
Muthana, now 24, was a college student when she traveled to Syria more than four years ago to join ISIS — eventually marrying three fighters and calling for the killing of Americans on Twitter. In a series of interviews last month from detention in a sprawling refugee camp in northern Syria with her infant son, she expressed deep remorse.
A federal judge later Monday morning will hear from both sides on the lawsuit and Muthana’s request to expedite the case.
Trump tweeted last month that he directed Pompeo not to allow Muthana back into the country. Pompeo declared the same day in a statement that Muthana is “not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.” Pompeo confirmed to NBC News the administration’s position that Muthana was not a citizen because of her father’s diplomatic status when she was born.