NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA MONTEREY United States
Since September 11, 2001, a collection of bills have been submitted to Congress proposing to amend section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide that an individual may lose United States citizenship for joining a terrorist organization, or engaging in or supporting terrorism. Although several of our allies, including the U.K., Australia, and France, have considered and in some instances passed similar legislation during the same period, Congress has not given these proposals serious consideration. This thesis provides a policy analysis, assessing the viability of terrorism-related loss of citizenship under U.S. law. Following a review of the history of acquisition and loss of citizenship in the United States, including key laws and precedent decisions, and a comparative analysis of legislation considered and either passed or rejected by the U.K., Australia, and France, it provides a critical review of terrorism-related loss of citizenship bills submitted to Congress since 911. This thesis demonstrates that viable terrorism-related loss of citizenship legislation may be possible, but that bills submitted to date have been largely symbolic, rather than serious, efforts. This thesis provides drafting recommendations to legislators, but raises questions about the practical utility and necessity of such laws.