Members of Congress Propose Bill to Strip Citizenship From American Terrorism Suspects

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

Members of Congress Propose Bill to Strip Citizenship From American Terrorism Suspects

WASHINGTON - Senators
Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) and Congressmen Jason
Altmire (D-PA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA)today introduced legislation that would strip American
citizenship from Americans who have not been convicted of any crimes and
are suspected of being involved with terrorism organizations. The bill
would direct the State Department, which designates groups as terrorist
organizations, to determine if a suspect is involved with or working for
such an organization and whether or not to remove a suspect's
citizenship.

The American Civil Liberties Union strongly opposes the bill which does
not comply with basic due process protections.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the
ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"This proposal is unconstitutional and ineffective. Removing one's
citizenship is a terribly serious act with far-reaching implications,
and it is especially egregious when based upon suspicion and a
potentially erroneous determination made by individuals without any
constitutional determination of guilt. This bill turns the whole notion
of due process on its head.

"This bill is a transparent attempt to circumvent the Constitution and
the criminal justice system. Removing citizenship from a suspect would
raise the likelihood that he would be tried in the discredited military
commissions rather than our federal criminal courts which have a proven
track record of successfully handling hundreds of terrorism-related
cases.

"This bill is simply a political stunt that accomplishes nothing to
prevent terrorism and will simply waste the time of Congress and
government officials charged with protecting the country. This bill has
no place in a democracy, and should be declared dead on arrival."

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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