Next week, Senator Ted Cruz will be filing a bill entitled the “Expatriate Terrorist Act.”
This bill would strip the citizenship of American citizens who aid and abet terrorist groups.
I agree with Cruz that those who take up arms against America should no longer be citizens. But I disagree with his means for accomplishing that.
Neither Congress nor the President has the authority to strip people of their citizenship. It simply isn’t in the Constitution. And it is likely for good reason-such a power can be easily and readily abused.
However, there is a harsher remedy which ensures due process: trial for treason.
According to Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution:
1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
Americans who join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State are committing treason. The qualifications are clearly met.
Congress should exercise their authority in Article 1, Section 3 to establish courts-in this case they would be specifically tasked with handling treason cases. Additionally, Congress should specify that the only penalty for those who aid the Islamic State and other terrorist groups is death.
For those Americans who are providing aid and comfort overseas, they can be tried in absentia, meaning “while absent.”
I encourage Senator Cruz to pull his bill and introduce legislation with the recommendations above.