There has been some debate over the past few years about how best to deal with American-born or naturalized citizens who betray the nation and join terrorist organizations.
Many Americans think such individuals should be stripped of their U.S. citizenship, given their betrayal of the nation. But it would appear that at least one liberal federal judge believes such a punishment for waging war against one’s own country is a step too far.
According to Fox News, that seemed to be the opinion of federal District Court Judge Staci Yandle — appointed in 2014 by former President Barack Obama — who rejected a bid by the government to strip the citizenship from a convicted terrorist who is drawing near a scheduled release date from federal prison.
That convicted terrorist is Iyman Faris, 49, a Pakistani man who obtained U.S. citizenship in 1999, worked as a truck driver in Ohio and was married to an American woman for a time.
Faris was arrested and ultimately convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003 for the crime of aiding and abetting the al-Qaida terrorist organization by conducting surveillance on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City as part of a plot to cut the support cables for the famous structure.
At his trial it was shown that Faris had met with former al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden and had personally worked with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the architect of the 9/11 terror attacks.
He is scheduled to be released from prison in December 2020, prior to serving his full sentence, at which time he would be considered a free citizen.
The Associated Press reported that federal prosecutors had filed a motion in court in 2017 which alleged that Faris had lied on his immigration papers prior to becoming a naturalized citizen, and therefore should have that citizenship gained through false representations stripped away from him.
“The U.S. government is dedicated to … preventing the exploitation of our nation’s immigration system by those who would do harm to our country,” said U.S. Attorney Chad Readler at the time, then the acting assistant attorney of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.
But Yandle decided the government did not provide sufficient evidence to convince her that Faris’ “misrepresentations” on his immigration papers had influenced the decision to grant him citizenship, and therefore ruled in favor of the convicted terrorist.
“American citizenship is precious, and the government carries a heavy burden of proof when attempting to divest a naturalized citizen of his or her citizenship,” wrote Yandle in the ruling issued July 11.
The judge appeared to be in agreement with an objection raised by Faris’ attorney to the effort to strip his citizenship, which was viewed as a violation of Faris’ 2003 plea deal that did not mention loss of citizenship or possible deportation as a potential punishment for the crime for which he was convicted.
The Department of Justice has declined to make any sort of comment on the ruling issued by Yandle, but Faris’ attorney was unsurprisingly thrilled by the decision.
This is an absurd ruling by a liberal judge who appears to have perhaps placed partisanship and devotion to the progressive agenda above common sense.
This convicted terrorist, who allegedly lied on his immigration papers to obtain citizenship and is serving time for his involvement in a plot to attack the homeland, should be stripped of all rights and privileges granted by his falsely obtained citizenship in light of the crimes he is alleged and proven to have committed.
To be quite honest, this sort of thing shouldn’t even be up for debate, and we call on Congress to enact legislation that automatically strips the rights and privileges of naturalized citizens who’ve been convicted of terrorism-related charges, as well as those who lied in order to obtain such citizenship in the first place.
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