MLFA’s Civil Litigation Attorneys Continue Their Fight to Protect the Sanctity of U.S. Citizenship Status

MLFA’s Civil Litigation team continues to fight for citizenship rights, and for Hoda Muthana and her minor child to return home. On June 21, 2024, MLFA appealed the US Department of State’s denial of Ms. Muthana’s Certificate of Identity, a document Ms. Muthana requested to establish her U.S. citizenship. In previous litigation, the Department of State represented to federal courts that Ms. Muthana should use exactly that process to establish her citizenship status. The Department of State also represented to the United States Supreme Court that since granting her passports and previously recognizing Ms. Muthana as a United States citizen, the U.S. government “has not changed her status.”

Yet when she tried to use exactly the process identified to establish exactly what the Department of State represented to the United States Supreme Court, the Department of State denied that Ms. Muthana is a U.S. citizen. Its logic? It relied on that previous litigation – where it represented she still has that status.

As MLFA’s Civil Litigation Department Head Christina Jump told CNN recently:

“The US has taken a high and mighty approach in lecturing other countries that they need to repatriate. If Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen, then she is stateless and that is a violation of international law and that directly contradicts what the US government has stated that other countries cannot and should not do. They also are ignoring completely that at the very least there is a grandchild of US citizens who remains in that camp that they have known about for years now.”

Ms. Muthana remains trapped in a Syrian refugee camp with her minor child, who has now lived there more years of his life than he has lived anywhere else. In her words, “If I had any time to serve, I would serve it and I would come out and begin my life with my son. If I were to have the choice between American prison and this camp, I would choose an American prison any day.” The thing is, the United States government has never charged her with anything, and never expressed any intent to do that.

Especially now that the Supreme Court recognizes the importance of independent judicial judgment over blind deference to administrative agency decisions, we remain steadfast that the Department of State made the wrong decision, and now either simply refuses to admit it or is afraid of any negative publicity that might accompany bringing Ms. Muthana and her minor son home. Our attorneys will continue pursuing every legal avenue to bring the Muthanas home—and to protect the sanctity of American citizenship status for all Americans.