At first glance, H.R. 3166 doesn’t appear to be anything that an American citizen should worry about. After all, the bill states that it only applies in accordance with war. However, careful consideration must be taken when looking at the context of the bill.
(a) In General- Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481) is amended–
(1) in subsection (a)–
(A) in each of paragraphs (1) through (6), by striking ‘or’ at the end;
(B) in paragraph (7), by striking the period at the end and inserting ‘; or’; and
(C) by adding at the end the following:
‘(8) engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.’; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
‘(c) For purposes of this section, the term ‘hostilities’ means any conflict subject to the laws of war.’.
(b) Technical Amendment- Section 351(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1483(a)) is amended by striking ‘(6) and (7)’ and inserting ‘(6), (7), and (8)’.
It should be noted that 8 U.S.C. 1481 includes a person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization.
How would this affect common, everyday Americans? In more ways than you think when you consider, if we are at war, everything a citizen does is subject to the laws of war. We already face the fact that many in Washington consider paying by cash to be a form of terrorism. Being a Muslim automatically puts you into a suspect category. What happens if a law enforcement official decides you look Muslim and you’re reading whatever they have deemed to be questionable literature? The government could classify anything from Noam Chomsky to the Qur’an to Ayn Rand as subversive. Read it during a time of war, which we seem to always be in, and a citizen is placing themselves in a precarious situation.
The government also considers anyone who stockpiles food to be questionable. The United States government’s definition of stockpiling food is anyone who has more than a seven day supply of food. That would automatically make anyone living in very rural parts of America automatically questionable. It is often a long drive to town to get food stuffs, making the stockpiling of food logical, but it is a first step for the government to start looking into the lives of Americans.
It would be much easier for the government to start questioning those who live in urban areas as to why they have two weeks of food stocked up. It is also easier for the government to potentially start rationing supplies. If citizens are deemed suspects for having too much food, they stop stockpiling it. It’s then easy to control the supply once this happens.
The NDAA states that the United States is within its rights to imprison or assassinate anyone that is not a US citizen without due process of law for merely being suspected of a crime. If the Enemy Expatriation Act were to pass, any American citizen could be stripped of their citizenship if the government deems them to be involved in terrorism and then the NDAA would apply to them. There would be no due process and no appeal.
Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the US Constitution gives the government the power to do this. Like it or not, this is a real possibility. The government may say that this is aimed at those who come to America and obtain citizenship and, thus, they can use Article I to then strip someone of their citizenship, however, giving the government such broad authority as the Enemy Expatriation Act would should never be allowed. Governments have shown time and again that, given such power, it will be abused. The fact is the Enemy Expatriation Act affects all citizens, natural born or not.
The Enemy Expatriation Act is wholly unnecessary. We already have laws on the books that deal with such issue as to whether or not someone has committed unlawful acts. We do not need a law that automatically strips someone of their rights based merely on the suspicion of a crime. The judicial system is entrusted with taking care of such matters. Circumventing due process is not the road the United States should be traveling on. Before we deny anyone their life and liberty, we owe them due process. If the United States government cannot convict a person without it, then it is their responsibility to investigate and build a better case.
Americans should be outraged that such a bill is even being considered. The Enemy Expatriation Act has now been referred to a committee. Now is the time to notify government representatives and kill the bill before it proceeds any farther.