American woman who joined Islamic State sues to return to US

WASHINGTON (AP) — The father of an Alabama woman who joined the Islamic State in Syria filed suit against the Trump administration Thursday in an effort to allow her return to the United States.

Ahmed Ali Muthana argues in the suit filed in federal court in Washington that his 24-year-old daughter, Hoda Muthana, is an American citizen by birth and should be allowed to come back to the U.S. with her toddler son.

Hoda Muthana is now in a Syrian refugee camp with the 18-month-old boy after fleeing the remnants of the Islamic State.

Her lawyers said in a statement that she expects to be charged with providing material support to terrorism if she is allowed to return to the U.S.

"Ms. Muthana has publicly acknowledged her actions and accepted full responsibility for those actions," the lawyers said. "In Ms. Muthana's words, she recognizes that she has 'ruined' her own life, but she does not want to ruin the life of her young child."

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Syrian displaced people carry water canisters in the flooded Deir al-Ballut refugee camp in Afrin's countryside, along Syria's northern border with Turkey on February 11, 2019 (Photo by Rami al SAYED / AFP) (Photo credit should read RAMI AL SAYED/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A child receives treatment for respiratory problems in Deir al-Ballut refugee camp in Afrin's countryside, along Syria's northern border with Turkey, on January 27, 2019. (Photo by Rami al SAYED / AFP) (Photo credit should read RAMI AL SAYED/AFP/Getty Images)
IDLIB, SYRIA - JANUARY 15: A child looking out of tent surrounded by mud at Al-Ihsan refugee camp as Syrians enduring harsh winter at the camp in Idlib, Syria on January 15, 2019. (Photo by Muhammed Abdullah /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON - 2019/01/13: As temperatures plummet, refugees prepare for another storm following the damage and flooding unleashed by storm Norma. A family watched as organisations distribute aid. Storm Norma affected thousands of Syrian refugees living in precarious conditions in Lebanon's Bekaa valley. They are now forced the be prepared for an other storm that approaching. (Photo by Adib Chowdhury/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Syrian refugee girl sits next to dried bread at a refugee camp in Akkar, northern Lebanon, November 27, 2018. Picture taken November 27, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
IDLIB, SYRIA - DECEMBER 27: An aerial view of a refugee camp flooded after heavy rain on December 27, 2018 in Idlib, Syria. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees residing in camps near the Turkish border are struggling to survive harsh winter conditions. Settlements, who have been living in the camp, suffered from flooding, mud and puddles, resulting from the heavy rains. (Photo by Esref Musa/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IDLIB, SYRIA - DECEMBER 27 : People at the Atma refugee camp search to save their usable belongings after heavy rains caused a flood in Idlib, Syria on December 27, 2018. At least 25,000 civilians at the camp await help after floods ruined many of the tents. (Photo by Esref Musa/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Syrian women queue to collect items of delivered aid at the al-Hol refugee camp in al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on January 07, 2019, as winter weather engulfs the region. (Photo by Delil souleiman / AFP) (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Syrian girls looks on as aid items to cope with the winter weather are delivered to the al-Hol refugee camp in al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on January 07, 2019. (Photo by Delil souleiman / AFP) (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the young woman is not a citizen and will not be admitted to the country.

The family and their lawyers say they were told that the U.S. determined she did not qualify for citizenship because her father was a Yemeni diplomat at the time of her birth.

But the family argues that is incorrect. They say that her father ceased to be a diplomat before she was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, and that she had a legitimate passport when she left the U.S. to join the Islamic State in Syria in 2014.

The Obama administration initially determined she was not a citizen and notified her family that it was revoking her passport in January 2016.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person born in the U.S. to an accredited foreign diplomatic officer is not subject to U.S. law and is not automatically considered a U.S. citizen at birth.

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