Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Is a Threat to Your Citizenship Rights

His Expatriate Terrorist Act is a mischievous bill that'll endanger all Americans

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If you think that's hyperbolic you should take a look at his Expatriate Terrorist Act. It's a terrifying piece of

Ted Cruz Clown Car
DonkeyHotey / Foter / CC BY

legislation that would jeopardize the citizenship rights of ALL Americans under the guise of preventing 12 ISIS fighters from returning to the country. That's why Sen. Rand Paul, who had himself previously called for revoking the passports of Americans who join ISIS, is opposing the Cruz bill. So should all civil libertarians of all political persuasions.

 I note at The Week that Cruz's bill is dangerous because it is so unnecessary:

If the government has evidence that these folks [the alleged ISIS fighters] are indeed terrorists, then why should it merely strip them of their citizenship and stop them from returning home (or leaving if they are already here)? Why shouldn't it also prosecute them? And if it doesn't have evidence, then why should they face any consequences at all?

The only way to understand Cruz's bill is that it aims to give government the power to take away the citizenship not of Americans against whom it actually has hard evidence — but against whom it doesn't.

Go here to read the column and fully understand the awfulness this bill is.

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  1. Cruz’s bill would change two things:

    1. It would authorize the government to revoke citizenship rights without a court conviction.

    2. It would also expand the list of expatriatable offenses to include “training” and “material assistance” to terrorist groups without defining either of those terms.

    Yeah, fuck this. To all who don’t agree, I say this: Today ISIS, Tomorrow Oathkeepers. The slippery slope has been working just fine without Cruz attempting to knock over a barrel of astroglide on it.

    1. barrel of astroglide

      Trying to summon jesse to the thread, are we?

    2. I just read the bill and I don’t see where it bypasses a court conviction.

      http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s247/text

      I don’t see the specific markup but it looks like they just added “or foreign terrorist organization” after “foreign state.”

      1. Cruz’s law amends a currently existing law. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1481, specifically section (a).

        The current statutory provisions are clearly defined and well understood ways to lose your citizenship (and proving intent to do them is relatively easy because there is a paper trail with your signature on them): serving in a hostile state’s armed forces, renouncing your citizenship before a consular officer, etc. The actions that are considered crimes in the United States — treason, etc. — require an actual conviction before the US may strip citizenship (see a(7)).

        Providing “material support” to terrorists is a (poorly defined) crime on the books in the United States (which the amendment, unlike every other itemized crime, does not even reference).

        If Cruz’s amendment passes, then the government would not have to PROVE the crime of providing material support to terrorists before stripping citizens, unlike every other crime currently listed in the statute. Instead, it would have to prove it by a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. So you can be, in essence, stripped of your citizenship after being found liable for a crime using a burden of proof generally associated with civil liability.

        1. Why would they not have to “prove” it? Is there some case law that covers this? IANAL

          I understand that the SoS doesn’t have to “prove” that a particular organization is terrorist, but surely they still have to prove that you are a member.

          That said, I think the real harm would be when the SoS makes a bogus determination that an organization is terrorist, and then they strip its members of citizenship.

          1. I would like to see a real legal journalist report on this bill. Dalmia’s open borders zealotry prevents her from properly explaining the issues with this bill. She’s clearly bug eyed over this.

          2. Like I said in my original post, the state would have to prove it by preponderance of evidence standard, not the normal criminal “beyond reasonable doubt” standard.

            The itemized crimes in the statute today (treason, etc.) require a criminal conviction before they may be used to strip citizenship from somebody. The “material support” provision will not, only a “preponderance of evidence” showing before stripping citizenship.

        2. To clarify, because I had some of Bubba Jones’s questions about this too, the preponderance of the evidence section is in the subsection (b) of bassjoe’s cite of 8 USC 1481. It reads,

          (b) Whenever the loss of United States nationality is put in issue in any action or proceeding commenced on or after September 26, 1961 under, or by virtue of, the provisions of this chapter or any other Act, the burden shall be upon the person or party claiming that such loss occurred, to establish such claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Any person who commits or performs, or who has committed or performed, any act of expatriation under the provisions of this chapter or any other Act shall be presumed to have done so voluntarily, but such presumption may be rebutted upon a showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the act or acts committed or performed were not done voluntarily.

          I’m not as bent out of shape about Cruz’s bill’s addition to this, as I am about 8 USC 1481 to begin with. IANAL, but all that Cruz’s language seems to do is add “foreign terrorist organization as defined by section 219” to the list of orgs that, if you voluntarily join them, the Gov’t can then show by a preponderance of the evidence that you intended to renounce your citizenship. Same if, e.g., John Walker Lindh explicitly joined the Afghan Army instead of the Taliban.

          But, to my reading, you still need an adversarial proceeding to yank Lindh’s citizenship.

          1. Now, the “fun” part comes in with the language in Cruz’s section (a)(4), which reads in part,

            providing training or material assistance to, any foreign terrorist organization designated under section 219.

            Does this now mean that if I, a hypothetical good Muslim, give charitable donations at my mosque to the organization the Iman’s says to. This org then gives material assistance to, say, Hezbollah, among the other legitimate charitable causes it gives to, am I then on the hook for voluntarily giving material assistance to a foreign terrorist org? And if so, does that mean my citizenship can be taken from me because of said assistance?

            That doesn’t seem right.

            1. The existing language in Section 1481

              (a), taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
              (3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if (A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or (B) such persons serve as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer; or
              (4)
              (A) accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state; or (B) accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years for which office, post, or employment an oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance is required;

              covers acts that are a lot more intentional to my eyes, and are more likely to constitute an intent to take on the citizenship of another state, and thereby renounce U.S. citizenship, than just cutting a check to Al Qaeda.

    3. I really don’t think loss of citizenship should be on the table as punishment for anything. Citizenship isn’t some privilege. It’s where you were fucking born (or naturalized).

      Punish or kill people if they take up arms against the US or support terrorists. Put them on a no-travel list if that seems necessary. But revoking citizenship is way too dangerous of a slippery slope if you can do it based on who one associates with or what one believes.

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  3. If the government has evidence that these folks [the alleged ISIS fighters] are indeed terrorists, then why should it merely strip them of their citizenship and stop them from returning home (or leaving if they are already here)? Why shouldn’t it also prosecute them?

    If they are out of the country, how exactly are we going to (legally) arrest them and bring them back to be prosecuted? For that matter, do we, or should we, even have jurisdiction to prosecute them for actions that did not occur on US soil?

    1. Don’t get me wrong: this is a shit bill for many reasons. I was reacting more to the easy-breezy notion that we can just arrest and try anybody anywhere in the world for anything they’ve done anywhere in the world.

      1. who needs arrest when we have President Drone?

      2. I am sure if there was a chance of that happening, Dalmia will be here writing how horrifying such an arrest and prosecution would be.

    2. If the point is to keep them from coming back into the country, just arrest them when they show up at the airport. No need to revoke their citizenship for that.

      1. You’d think that would actually be desirable, since you could then put them away where they can’t cause any harm.

    3. Treason and/or piracy should cover them without the need for any extra laws, so yeah, unnecessary.

    4. Being out of the country isn’t exactly something that has NOT been a problem before when pursuing criminal defendants. Somehow the Republic has survived.

      1. Somehow the Republic has survived.

        Not the Constitutional Republic we started with. That horse left the barn long ago.

  4. Screw you, Cruz, you’re not exactly showing yourself to be the least bad candidate.

    I suppose the next best thing is to hope you’ll appoint judges who will declare your bills unconstitutional.

    1. He’s been trying to not show himself to be the least bad candidate for months now.

  5. After his third-place finish in New Hampshire, GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz is trying to reinvent himself as a civil libertarian in a bid for Sen. Rand Paul’s supporters.

    Is this also after he decided releasing drug dealers from prison wasn’t the civil libertarian thing to do?

  6. It’s a terrible bill, but in addition it doesn’t look like it will actually prevent anything.

    So an ISIS fighter wants to come back to the US. What exactly is to stop him from going to Mexico and sneaking across the border? I don’t think it’s all that hard for an ISIS fighter to get into the US, whether he’s a citizen or not, especially given the proliferation of fake IDs in these war torn Middle Eastern countries.

    1. “I don’t think it’s all that hard for an ISIS fighter to get into the US”

      Uh…not really sure about this.

      1. How many Mexicans slip through every year?

        1. It’s a witch hunt. Just declare someone an “ISIS fighter” if they ever looked at Islamist propaganda. You and I are probably terrorists under this law just for ever leaving the country.

      2. It’s very easy to get across the southern border. Are you really telling me ISIS couldn’t figure out how to get into Mexico, then sneak across the border? Several million Mexicans have managed to cross the border pretty easily.

        1. OK so basically what you’re saying is that the bill isn’t a big deal because Americans can pretty easily return anyway. Even if their citizenship is stripped. So don’t worry your little head about it.

          1. No, I said the bill is a terrible idea because it could be abused to hurt innocent Americans while simultaneously failing to prevent ISIS from gaining access if they wanted it.

            It’s way easier for ISIS to use people already here than it is for them to risk engaging with US customs to sneak people into the country. It would also be easier to go to Mexico than deal with US customs and then sneak across. My point is literally the opposite of what you’re saying because I oppose the bill.

            1. “It’s way easier for ISIS to use people already here” – OK so would you support the bill if it included only homegrown terrorists recruited by ISIS?

              1. No. I specifically said it’s a terrible bill for a number of reasons, such as its capacity for abuse. One of the reasons it’s a bad bill is that it is open for abuse while simultaneously failing at the task it’s allegedly designed for.

                Are you even paying attention?

                1. Yes I am paying attention. You are not against revoking citizenship for terrorism, in principle. Only you think that this tactic in the war on terror (GWOT) might be abused. To be clear, I am against revoking citizenship for terrorism in principle, and that is my problem with this law, and that is (I think) the author’s problem with this law.

                  1. You have to be kidding me. I oppose revoking citizenship. At no point have I spoken a sentence contrary to that point.

                    What I actually said is that this is a terrible bill because IN ADDITION TO the problems with any revocation of citizenship this bill has additional problems, such that even someone who doesn’t have a principled problem with revoking citizenship should oppose it.

                    Saying “this is a bad bill because X” doesn’t mean that it isn’t also a bad bill because of Y and Z. It can be bad for 8000 reasons and I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about right now.

    2. It’s a terrible bill, but in addition it doesn’t look like it will actually prevent anything.

      In other words, it’s basically the perfect piece of legislation, and would pass both houses with an overwhelming majority.

    3. It’s a terrible bill, but in addition it doesn’t look like it will actually prevent anything.

      LOL. It might not prevent what it purports to, but I’m sure it will prevent some things.

    4. Well, it at least adds a layer of difficulty. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say it is very easy to sneak across the border. Certainly doable, but fairly arduous. And if they don’t speak Spanish like a native, they might seem a bit out of place among the other border crossers. How do Mexican gangs and Central American migrants feel about ISIS?

    5. It is a “do something” bill. It just has to show that he is serious on the issue, no matter how dumb the legislation actually is.

  7. Like I said, he’s a Manitobian candidate and as soon as he’s elected he’ll stage an Islamist attack and strip away all civil liberties and establish a Christian Caliphate named ‘Gilead’ (Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale). Of course, Trump isn’t much better. Telling rebellious kids that you’ll bomb their families if they join ISIS isn’t exactly a disincentive.

    1. “Like I said, he’s a Manitobian candidate and as soon as he’s elected he’ll stage an Islamist attack and strip away all civil liberties and establish a Christian Caliphate named ‘Gilead’ (Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale).”

      Uh…not really sure about this.

      1. You’d understand if you weren’t a you-know-what.

      2. You will not disparage prophetic capabilities of Canadian Treasure Herself!

        Why more than a decade ago, she accurately predicted that Handmaid’s Tale would occur under Bush presidency.

  8. The greatest threat to American civilization is not ISIS but the fearmongers who tell us we must rescind our fundamental liberties (which made us great in the first place). As Ben Franklin said, “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”

    1. That’s all well and good, but the group of Those Willing to Sacrifice Liberty for Security outnumber the freedom lovers by about 300 to 1.

      1. You’ll protect me, right?

  9. That makes no sense at all dude. Wow.

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