Houston, Texas (CBS HOUSTON) — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is proposing a bill that would revoke U.S. citizenship from Americans who join the Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria.
The proposed legislation, entitled the Expatriate Terrorists Act, would alter the requirements for stripping U.S. citizenship to those who “become a member of” or provide “material assistance” to a “designated foreign terrorist organization.” The bill would amend an existing law passed in 1940 that allows the stripping of U.S. citizenship for any person voting in another country’s elections or joining military forces with countries at war with the U.S.
The bill includes Americans who “will engage in hostilities against the United States,” or who “will commit acts of terror against the United States or nationals of the United States.”
“Americans who choose to go to Syria or Iraq to fight with vicious ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) terrorists are party to a terrorist organization committing horrific acts of violence, including beheading innocent American journalists who they have captured,” Cruz said in a statement. “There can be no clearer renunciation of their citizenship in the United States, and we need to do everything we can to preempt any attempt on their part to re-enter our country and carry out further attacks on American civilians.”
Government officials have warned that at least a dozen, and perhaps more than 100, Americans have joined ISIS or terrorist forces in Syria and Iraq.
“We have acknowledged publicly we are aware of over 100 U.S. citizens who have U.S. passports who are fighting in the Middle East with ISIL forces,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said last week, using an alternate acronym for the terrorist group.
On Saturday, the Texas Republican said President Barack Obama “has not demonstrated that he’s taking ISIS seriously,” and said the U.S. needs to eliminate them altogether.
“What we ought to have is a directed, concerted, overwhelming campaign to take them out,” Cruz said in an interview with “This Week” on ABC. “The focus should be Iraq, but the real focus should be taking out ISIS. Within Syria, it should not be our objective to try and resolve the civil war.”
“The American people in 2014 and also November 2016 are going to be looking for leaders who want to work to restore America’s leadership in the world,” Cruz said.