WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans working for foreign terrorist organizations and lone wolf terrorists could lose their citizenship under bipartisan legislation introduced Thursday in both houses of Congress.
The proposal is a reaction to Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad, a native of Pakistan who became a U.S. citizen a year ago.
The leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the proposal "sounds like a good idea," but the State Department urged that legislation only apply to those convicted of crimes.
U.S. law identifies seven categories of acts that could result in loss of citizenship. They include serving in the armed forces of a foreign state at war with the United States, renouncing nationality when the United States is at war, and treason. Sponsors said the law needs to be updated to combat terrorism.
The bill would expand the revocation law to anyone who provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, as designated by the secretary of state. It also would apply to anyone who engages in, or supports, hostilities against the U.S. or its allies.
As in current law, the State Department would make a determination that an individual has lost his or her U.S. nationality. The target of the action could seek a State Department review and also challenge the decision in U.S. district court.
"I like the spirit of it," Pelosi told reporters.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said her agency would "certainly take a hard look at it."
"I understand the desire behind the recommendations," Clinton said. She noted that naturalized citizens swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and that "people who are serving foreign powers and, in this case, foreign terrorists, are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens."
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said he was not aware of the details, but he said any new law should have restrictions.
"It's important ... that we make sure that any action, any legislation that Congress might consider would make sure that we have due process, that we are talking about people who are actually convicted of crimes as opposed to people who are just suspected of crimes," Crowley told reporters. "I think the American people would be concerned if you took prospective actions, certainly one as serious as revoking citizenship, just for someone who is suspected of committing crimes."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
A San Diego Navy sailor and his live in girlfriend have been accused of child abuse and torture of a five-year-old boy.
Human beings have been stacking stones for thousands of years, sometimes to mark a trial head for hikers - others for fun or even spiritual reasons.
On Wednesday, Cal Jet by Elite Airways announced it would launch its daily non-stop flight service from Carlsbad’s airport to Las Vegas starting in September.
Mayors from border cities in San Diego County and Mexico urged federal leaders Wednesday to support the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement and continue an effort to improve the region's economic prosperity.
The solar eclipse is less than a week away and experts want to make parents are talking to their kids about how to stay safe - while having fun. It's a quick conversation that doctors said can make a big difference.
A Poway couple arrested Sunday is being accused of raising a baby in the same home where they were raising a big crop of pot.
Surveillance video shows a car thief stealing a truck from a San Diego family’s driveway, but the suspect left behind an important clue.
Police are digging through computers and smart phones of two roommates arrested in the attempted kidnapping of a 15-year-old girl in Encinitas.
City crews Wednesday removed a plaque referencing Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederacy, from Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego.
San Ysidro Health Clinic’s state of the art dental center has become a destination for kids with special needs in need of dental work.