A push to get an ISIS woman back into the states hit a speed bump for the woman's family Monday. The family of Hoda Muthana is suing the Trump Administration for its decision to not let her back into the US. They were looking for an expedited process to find out whether she will be allowed or not. Muthana left Birmingham, Alabama four years ago to join the terror group. She recently fled ISIS and claims her US citizenship should get her back stateside.
After over an hour of arguments inside the DC District Courthouse.
"Today we're disappointed but understand the judge's ruling," said Charles Swift, the family attorney.
Swift says he understands Judge Reggie B Walton's ruling to not expedite the legal process, but says Muthana is in danger in a Syrian refugee camp and time could be running out to bring her back.
"In these camps are ISIS supporters and these ISIS supporters look very uh....that she's now a heretic," said Swift.
Swift says Muthana has already been moved from one refugee camp because of threats. He calls this irreparable harm but it was not enough to convince Judge Walton. The ruling aside, Swift thinks Monday's hearing was a step in the right direction for confirming her citizenship, presenting the fact that she was born in the U.S. and has been granted a U.S. passport on two occasions.
"I didn't take this case to defend her actions. I took the case to defend her rights as a citizen," said Swift.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a defendant in this case. He says his camp does not recognize her citizenship because she was born to a Yemeni diplomat, under the jurisdiction of that country. A point of contention in the hearing surrounded her birth in conjunction with her father's diplomatic status. Swift maintains Muthana was born after her father's diplomatic status was terminated. The U.S. government maintains her birth took place before the U.S. was notified of his terminated status, meaning it happened while the family was still under Yemeni jurisdiction.
"She has no right to come back to the United States of America, she's not a U.S. citizen, she has no claim for U.S. citizenship," said Secretary Pompeo.
Pompeo says the U.S. is prepared to prosecute terrorists, but there is no reason to bring a risky figure like Muthana back to the U.S.
"If we've got to prosecute terrorists here in the United States, we're completely prepared to do that. But in this instance it makes no sense," said Pompeo.
The judge's refusal to speed up Muthana's case means it will proceed on a normal schedule. A decision on her citizenship and potential return has to come within 60 days from when the family filed its complaint. A decision will have to come by April 26.
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