Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Wednesday announced that Hoda Muthana, the woman who is pleading with the U.S. to let her come back into the country after fleeing her home in Alabama to join ISIS in Syria, “is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States.”
“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” the statement reads. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria.”
President Trump, who had received criticism for previously saying that European countries should repatriate captured ISIS fighters and “put them on trial,” tweeted soon after the announcement that he directed Pompeo “not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!”
As to Pompeo's basis for declaring Muthana "not a U.S. citizen" despite being born in the U.S., that remains unclear.
Fox News reports,
Muthana, 24, has pleaded with officials to let her back into the U.S. following her recent escape from ISIS and capture by Kurdish forces. She was born in 1994 in Hackensack, New Jersey.
It’s unclear the exact provision the State Department is using to deem Muthana not a citizen.
But it could be because Muthana’s father was a diplomat, something her legal representative, Hassan Shibly, acknowledged Wednesday.
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, children born in the United States to accredited foreign diplomatic officers do not acquire citizenship under the 14th Amendment since they are not born subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. at the time.
However, Shibly says Muthana’s father stopped being a diplomat months before Hoda was born in New Jersey.
Muthana told The Guardian in a recent interview at al-Hawa refugee camp where she and her 18-month-old son are currently living that she was "brainwashed" and "so ignorant" when she had left the U.S. to join ISIS in 2014 and that it was a “big mistake.”
“I would tell them please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave,” she told The Guardian.
“I believe that America gives second chances,” she continued. “I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport and I wouldn’t mind.”
Muthana was once one of ISIS's most prominent online agitators, using Twitter to call on Americans to attack fellow Americans and "spill all of their blood."
She reportedly admits that she was a zealot at the time that she used Twitter to spark violence in 2015 but claims that her account was taken over by others the following year in 2016, according to The Guardian. She said that the past four years have been traumatizing.
When asked in an interview with ABC News released on Tuesday whether she thinks she should be punished for what she did, Muthana suggested "therapy lessons" or a "process that will ensure us that we'll never do this again." She also said that she would "speak against them" which is something she said she was "definitely planning to do."