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house Bill H.R. 545

If you Engage in "Hostilities Against the U.S." Should you Lose Your Citizenship?

Argument in favor

Supporting or engaging in acts of war against the U.S. is an act of treason. And since the people who commit these acts against the U.S. don’t tend to hang around for trials — revoking their citizenship may be the best we can do.

Cary's Opinion
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04/08/2015
If you are fighting against the nation where you hold citizenship, are you actually being a citizen?
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Tamara's Opinion
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04/05/2015
If anyone commits treason against the United States, endangers our citizens, or our property, they should not be allowed to retain their citizenship!
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BananaNeil's Opinion
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04/05/2015
This doesn't actually seem like an attack on immigration, but of a precautionary measure against americans who have "joined ISIS or al Qaeda have attempted to return to the U.S. to carry out attacks." (according to the 'of note' section within 'More Information' [which is currently not showing up in the ios app due to a bug that will totally be fixed in the next version])
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Argument opposed

"Hostilities against the U.S." seems like a pretty flexible definition — taking away a person's citizenship should be more carefully considered. Especially a person is compelled to support or participate in the hostilities.

Barkley's Opinion
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04/05/2015
I would only be a yeah if there was some form of due process and found guilty by a jury of their peers. To revoke without due process gives to much authority to government, and regardless of party, it would be a cold day In hell before I would ever trust them to not abuse this authority. They already abuse their war time powers granted, only a fool would think this would not have abuse as well.
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Scythan's Opinion
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04/05/2015
This is a good sounding bill that on reflection sets a dangerous precedent. How long until it's not just ISIS but joining the Democratic Party? Standing up for civil rights? Or protesting at Occupy Movements that are "hostile acts". The constitution needs to be followed here - no citizen deprived without due process.
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Xn's Opinion
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04/05/2015
There are strict. Qualifications for treason. If you cannot meet these guidelines then you CANNOT revoke citizenship. These standards are in place for a reason. Messing with them without an amendment would violate the constitution, which is where we get the burden of proof.
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What is House Bill H.R. 545?

There is a list of things that U.S. citizens can do to lose their nationality. This bill would add to that list: engaging in or purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the U.S. Hostilities would be defined as any "conflict that is subject to the laws of war." These changes would also come out of amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act.


Currently, the list of actions that can lead to a person losing their status as a U.S. national include the following acts that  “with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality.”:

  • Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state after the age of 18.

  • Committing any act of treason against the U.S. like attempting to overthrow the government, or bearing arms against the U.S. This also includes engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or destroy the government of the U.S. or otherwise levy war against it.

  • Taking an oath, making an affirmation, or any other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or its political subdivision after 18.

  • Entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state if those armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the U.S. This includes serving as a commissioned or noncommissioned officer.

  • Accepting or performing the duties of any office or form of employment under the government of a foreign state or its political subdivision.

  • Making a formal renunciation of nationality before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer in a foreign state in a format established by the Secretary of State or by the Attorney General.

Impact

U.S. citizens who support or engage in hostilities against America, the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 545

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth:

An identical version of this legislation was introduced into both the House and the Senate in October 2011, but both stalled before the end of the 112th Congress.


Of Note:

Since the founding of the U.S. very few people have been prosecuted for treason - less than 30 by one count, and even fewer convicted. This is due in large part to the high burden of proof associated with treason, which was a deliberate choice made by the Founding Fathers and Congress when they drafted the punishment.


The increase in numbers of terrorists who hold U.S. citizenship has raised questions about whether it would be better to prosecute them for treason, or revoke their citizenship. A sense of urgency has arisen as Americans who’ve joined ISIS or al Qaeda have attempted to return to the U.S. to carry out attacks.


Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) Press Release (Previous Bill Version)

American Thinker (Previous Bill Version)

Breitbart London (Previous Bill Version)

International Business Times (Previous Bill Version)

RT (Previous Bill Version)

New York Post (Previous Bill Version)


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user JOSH ROTSTEN PHOTOGRAPHY

AKA

Enemy Expatriation Act

Official Title

To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedJanuary 27th, 2015
    If you are fighting against the nation where you hold citizenship, are you actually being a citizen?
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    I would only be a yeah if there was some form of due process and found guilty by a jury of their peers. To revoke without due process gives to much authority to government, and regardless of party, it would be a cold day In hell before I would ever trust them to not abuse this authority. They already abuse their war time powers granted, only a fool would think this would not have abuse as well.
    Like (130)
    Follow
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    This is a good sounding bill that on reflection sets a dangerous precedent. How long until it's not just ISIS but joining the Democratic Party? Standing up for civil rights? Or protesting at Occupy Movements that are "hostile acts". The constitution needs to be followed here - no citizen deprived without due process.
    Like (65)
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    Share
    If anyone commits treason against the United States, endangers our citizens, or our property, they should not be allowed to retain their citizenship!
    Like (22)
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    There are strict. Qualifications for treason. If you cannot meet these guidelines then you CANNOT revoke citizenship. These standards are in place for a reason. Messing with them without an amendment would violate the constitution, which is where we get the burden of proof.
    Like (21)
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    This is a slippery slope. Should Martin Luther King's citizenship be revoked? Some people, a large portion of US citizens considered him hostile to US interests. I would have said yes if I do not know the history of our Country.
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    No. The government has abused its power before, and it will abuse it again. I can see it now: new agency found revoking citizenship of a political group.
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    This doesn't actually seem like an attack on immigration, but of a precautionary measure against americans who have "joined ISIS or al Qaeda have attempted to return to the U.S. to carry out attacks." (according to the 'of note' section within 'More Information' [which is currently not showing up in the ios app due to a bug that will totally be fixed in the next version])
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    I chose ney, the way the Republicans are tramping on the rules of fair play, if I voted yea, and took a position that they disagreed with, I might be thrown under the bus too. We US citizens have existing laws for treason, and the
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    I support this, however they will have to be very careful on not being vague of the acts. Some simple things can be took the wrong way
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    People who leave the country to fight against the US should be treated as traitors.
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    The insider threat is the most dangerous. Suggesting that keeping people affiliated with the U.S. that have undertaken action against is ridiculous. If these people were wearing masks and shooting at us from the firing line of ISIS, we would be justified in killing them as a combatant. Pulling their citizenship protects us here at home.
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    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. ARTICLE III, SECTION 3, CLAUSE 2
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    Rewrite to specifically denounce those who join in training, planning attacks, and specific activities with absolute and clear intent towards harming the U.S. in support of a foreign (specifically non-domestic) terrorist, drug-related or other organization with declared or discovered intent on harming the U.S. for interests contrary to the well-being of the people of the United States - then, after that rewrite, I would support this. The purpose of this rewrite would be to "protect" those domestic actors that believe a revolution is necessary, as our forefathers felt against England, and as the southern states felt against the federal union. This separates the interests of the people from the government as the two are not always aligned. Those "attacking" the federal or state governments may not always have intent on widespread harm to the people. I would not authorize denouncing citizens their rights in such a widespread and vague definition that could easily be abused, as Macarthy and the FBI's hunt of communists was once the accepted position of the federal government that was in contradiction to the wellbeing and rights of the people to their beliefs and opinions that threatened the government rather than (or at least far more than) the people.
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    Hell yes
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    This sounds like a loophole for someone in power to strip you of your rights
    Like (3)
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    If you want to show anger towards the U.S. Then go right on ahead in some other country where citizens who love America aren't bothered by you
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    This law as written could be used against anybody that even disagreed with the current president sounds like it was written by a democrat wanting to suppress free speech
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    Laws already exist to cover this. It does not benefit the citizens to make it easier for our government to declare that we are the enemy. The Founders did not intend for it to be easy; with good reason.
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    the Treason section already covers this. Redundancy is suspect.
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