Statelessness Courtesy of the Feds

This is a chilling little development: The US military is quietly looking into a legal framework for stripping Americans of their citizenship. Now admittedly this is only supposed to be used against identified terrorists, but consider the implications…

As it stands now the US government has no legal mechanism for stripping someone of their citizenship, and what this means is that the Feds have no legal grounds for denying you due process of law; they may not deport you without your consent, nor can they deny you entry to the country. This last one is actually quite critical because the US Dept. of Homeland Security *does* claim that they can deny a citizen entry to the US even though it’s a violation of international treaties, and international treaties, to which the US is a signatory, have the force of law.

Now imagine a US that does have a legal framework for stripping one of one’s citizenship… Now you may say, “Hey, this is only for terrorists,” but remember that the Bush administration abused almost every power they were granted by Congress or illegally co-opted, and the Obama administration has done nothing to reverse that trend. So, if the Feds decide that you’re a danger, all they have to do is strip you of your citizenship (using the ‘terrorist’ excuse if they have to), deport you to a location outside of the US, and then…once you are effectively “stateless”, you cannot travel, you cannot work, you cannot legally challenge your status, and you effectively have no protections or rights under the laws of whatever country you land in. Basically…you’re dead, and the US didn’t even have to murder you to achieve the result.

There are certain powers that no government should be granted because the opportunities for abuse are too numerous and the temptation…to great.  The ability to strip someone of their citizenship is one of these powers.

13 thoughts on “Statelessness Courtesy of the Feds”

  1. I’m not a Constitutional scholar, but hopefully those that are would fight this crap tooth and nail. If this gets through, might as well tear up the Bill of Rights along with the Constitution.

  2. Scary stuff, and with the current Supreme Court, there is little doubt in my mind that it would uphold this move. In a worst case scenario, it could potentially pave the way for deportations of Muslim-Americans. Any Muslim who is not deemed cooperative enough could then be classified as a terrorist and deported.

    We interned the Japanese in WWII, and the Court upheld it. Most of us know, in hindsight, that it was wrong and illegal. But in this current climate, we could have a repeat performance. I hope not.

  3. I’m not defending such a concept, but I’d like more legal details.

    As it stands now there are a number of ways that a naturalized citizen can loose citizenship; one of which is how my father lost his. I know of none, however by which a natural born citizen can.

    I’m of the opinion that citizenship is citizenship and that immigrants who have naturalized should have exactly the same rights and privileges as natural born citizens but I’m curious as to what the mechanism involved.

  4. Holte… Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this is a constitutional issue since, unless I’m greatly mistaken, the constitution is silent on whether or not citizenship can be revoked. Citizenship can be voluntarily

    To Thomas points out, there are a number of ways a naturalized citizen can have their citizenship revoked. Most of these require an explicit action on the part of the person, such as becoming an government official of a foreign nation. However, the only way a ‘natural-born’ citizen of the United States can have their citizenship revoked it to formally renounce it in front of a suitable consular official while on foreign soil.

    There *is no* mechanism for involuntarily revoking the citizenship of a natural-born citizen…none at all.

  5. Randal… Guess we’ll test that theory in about two weeks.

    Dave… Scary stuff indeed. The political ramifications would be horrific. Imagine a christian conservative getting into office with such a law in place and then using it to de-citizen-ize…well…take your pick: Homosexuals, atheists, whomever.

  6. Under no circumstances should the military or any other part of government have the power to strip someone of their citizenship. If an American turns terrorist, deal with him or her as a criminal.

    You’re absolutely right, Kvatch, about the incredible potential for abuse. It’s completely unacceptable and surely counterproductive.

  7. Kvatch…

    There is already a way the Government can strip a American Citizen of his\her citizenship.

    It’s part of the MCA of 2006 that 12 Democrats voted for with the Republicans.

    It gives the President the power to label anyone, including American Citizens an Enemy Combatant thereby stripping them of their Rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    America has been betrayed by both political parties and we are now living under the illusion that we still have a Constitution.

    Just look at how we as a nation have refused to prosecute War Crimes instituted, authorized and condoned by the previous administration. Hell we won’t even hold accountable Yoo or Bybee for their legal justifications saying it was alright to torture those in our custody. The report was white washed to give them cover so they wouldn’t lose their licenses to practice law. In fact one of them is now a Federal Judge so how can we even have faith or belief that one will get a fair trial.

    Instead of calling their legal opinions Professional Misconduct which it was and which would have cost them their licenses they down graded it to Poor Judgement. Tell that to the families of those we tortured who were innocent and the many we killed using torture.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that they should all have been charged and prosecuted, sentenced to life or given the death penalty if evidence existed that clearly proved them guilty. And I’m fairly certain that many of them were guilty of terrorism against America.

    We prosecuted, imprisoned and even executed Hitler’s Lawyers and Judges, yet we turn a blind eye to our own War Criminals, both inside the White House, Congress and yes even the Judicial Branch of Government.

    I no longer have faith or belief in my Government, all three branches are corrupt and can not be trusted anymore to protect the people and Constitution since it no longer exists and is now a figment of our imagination.

    Okay, I’m done with my ranting and you can now go back too your regularly scheduled programing.

    God Bless.

  8. S.W… I hope this goes nowhere, but the article I quoted did say that the military is already feeling out Congress on the issue.

    Anon… I’m sorry, but to be perfectly accurate the MCA *does not* strip a US Citizen of their citizenship. What it does do is prevent them from submitting a writ of habeas corpus challenging their detention, once they’ve been designated as an “unlawful enemy combatant”. It is silent on other rights and privileges protected by the Constitution. But since in itself, the MCA is unconstitutional and has already had some of its aspects overturned by the SOTUS, a new legislative framework that actually did allow the government to strip one of one’s citizenship is infinitely more dangerous.

  9. Face it: the economy’s in the crapper, and under the current system, it’s not going to get any better. When the middle class has disappeared, and we have a generation raised with out the things that we have taken for granted, like a home, a career, or a future, there will inevitably be a revolution. When that comes, the corporatocracy will need a way to deal with instigators before they awaken the sleeping masses. This will give them a tool to deal with it.

  10. 1984 is coming! Soon.

    I wonder will they use the rat-in-cage-on-face torture as well as water-boarding?

    There’s no doubt that humans are stupid but some humans…

    America is the greatest nation in the history of the world?

    Methinks not!

  11. So, what’s to prevent the military from extraditing a US citizen overseas, then “torturing” them in front of a consular official until they revoke their citizenship?

  12. Lew… With luck, I won’t live that long or I’ll be living somewhere else.

    DavidG… Need to see if the military actually has enough sway to get this through Congress. It’s pretty egregious even for the US Congress.

    Robert… The consular official actually has to be there, not throwing up in the toilet! ;-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *