Muthana v. Pompeo, No. 19-5362 (D.C. Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
In 1990, Muthana was appointed as the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Yemen to the U.N. In 1994, Yemen terminated Muthana and required him to surrender his diplomatic credentials and Muthana's daughter, Hoda, was born in New Jersey. In 1995, the U.N. notified the State Department that Yemen had terminated Muthana from his diplomatic post. Muthana, his wife, and Hoda’s older siblings became naturalized citizens. Muthana applied for Hoda’s U.S. passport, which issued in 2005. In 2014, Hoda traveled to Syria and joined ISIS as a spokeswoman, advocating the killing of Americans. She married two ISIS fighters in succession and had a child, Doe. In 2016, the State Department revoked Hoda’s passport. In 2018, Hoda and Doe fled to a camp in Syria. Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement that Hoda is not a U.S. citizen. The president tweeted his approval. Muthana alleged these statements effectively revoked his daughter’s and grandson’s U.S. citizenship.
The D.C. Circuit affirmed the rejection of his claims. Hoda’s father possessed diplomatic immunity when she was born, rendering her ineligible for citizenship by birth under the Fourteenth Amendment and her son ineligible for 8 U.S.C. 1401(g) citizenship. A child born in the U.S. to a foreign diplomat is not born “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. The court dismissed, for lack of jurisdiction, Muthana’s claim seeking to compel the U.S. to assist in bringing Hoda and Doe to the U.S. The court dismissed, for lack of standing, Muthana's request for a declaratory judgment that if he sent money and supplies to his daughter and grandson, he would not violate the prohibition on providing material support for terrorism, 18 U.S.C. 2339B; Muthana failed to allege a personal injury to his constitutional rights.