Lieberman Says State Dept. Can Strip Your Citizenship

Today Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) and Congressmen Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA) announced proposed legislation that would authorize the State Department to revoke the citizenship of a U.S. national who provides material support or resources to a Foreign Terrorist Organization, or who engages in or supports hostilities against the United States or its allies.

The proposed legislation, called the Terrorist Expatriation Act or TEA Act, is a significant expansion of 8 U.S.C. 1481, which already provides for the revocation of citizenship for those who voluntarily serve in the army of a foreign state or pledge allegiance to a foreign state.  Lieberman’s proposed bill adds terrorist organization to the same category as foreign state.  Currently the State Department is the sole determiner of just who, or what, is a terrorist organization.

The proposed legislation does provide for a truncated review of any State Department action through an administrative review process that is ultimately answerable to the U.S. federal district court.  The proposal also places the burden on the State Department to justify the action taken–an important protection given the magnitude of the outcome for individuals.

It appears as though Lieberman’s proposal is a scaled back version of earlier suggestions that would have stripped citizenship at the mere accusation of coordinated efforts with a terrorist organization.  So, that’s a start.  But given the problems we’ve seen with the Patriot Act and designations of “terror organizations” there is plenty to be concerned about in this proposal. 

There is also growing bi-partisan opposition to the bill, based on both concerns regarding the constitutionality of it, as well as the means by which the State Department would make its determinations.  Look for continued, heated debate on the proposal as the case against the New York Times Square bomber moves forward.


Disagree with Lieberman’s proposed TEA Act? Let your Senators know by signing the Care2 petition now!

photo courtesy of Beverly & Peck via Flickr


Karen C.
Karen C7 years ago

Thank you Lloyd H and Antony T. for and many others who see the writing on the wall. Antony T. you clearly have seen much. I admire your courage for expressing your views. It is difficult to feel courageous in such fascist times. Thank you again for your insight and for letting me know that there are people like you out there!

pat B.
pat B7 years ago

Is Lieberman going senile ?
Politicians do not live in the real world .
This can be a very dangerous action when misused !

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L7 years ago

The Civil Liberties and protection under the Constitution are disappearing more and more. In the end, when they are all gone, it'll be too late to protest. So all that can. use your voice, let people know and fight all these laws that cripple your free speech, right to assemble, right to choose and the persuit of happiness! If you and I don't, then, in the end no one's left to object.

Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga7 years ago

Oh well, so much for all of the US citizens in the Israeli Defence Force, or the French Foreign Legion... a couple of hundred thousand Israeli's hold US citizenship as well, surely the acts of terrorism committed by Israel (like sinking the USS Liberty, being involved in the 911 WTC attrocity etc etc etc) will place them all in this category also? The US, a nation run by corrupt criminals and fools and not improving, that's for sure!

Abo Ahmed r.
Abo r7 years ago

? noted?

Joel T.
Joel Turner7 years ago

There is not enough room for me to vent my outrage at this double speak nonsense.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

What does "hostilities against the United States" mean or include? And who decides what it would be? Sounds like anything they decide is "hostile" could be reason to take your citizenship. Something you say? Owning a gun? Disagreeing with someone? Someone wants to force you do what they want? Scary!

Helen Snyder
Helen Snyder7 years ago

Somehow I am reminded of "Man Without a Country" .. and if treason is the reason .. would it be possible to include worst of the Tea Baggers?

Mary Carolyn Perry
Mary C Perry7 years ago

I think Leibermann is at the age where he should be retired by Conn. voters. We need an age limit on Congress AND the Supreme Court!

Mervi R.
Mervi R7 years ago