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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.”