The United States says it will not allow a U.S.-born woman who joined the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria to return to the United States because she is not a citizen, an assertion her lawyer disputes.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 20 said the woman, Hoda Muthana, now in a refugee camp in Syria with her toddler son, has no legal claim to U.S. citizenship.
"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," he said, without explaining why it was determined the 24-year-old woman did not have citizenship.
President Donald Trump said he gave orders not to allow the New Jersey-born woman to return to the United States.
"I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!" Trump tweeted.
Her lawyer, Hassan Shibly, insisted the woman was born in the United States, had been living in Alabama, and had a valid U.S. passport before she joined IS in 2014. He claimed she had renounced the terrorist group and wanted to come home to protect her son regardless of the legal consequences.
Muthana's father was a Yemeni diplomat -- and children of diplomats are not automatically granted citizenship. Shibly said, however, that her father had stopped being a diplomat "months and months" before her birth.
"She's an American. Americans break the law," Shibly said. "When people break the law, we have a legal system to handle those kinds of situations to hold people accountable, and that's all she's asking for."
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