Remember president Obama’s NDAA 2012 signing statement? Remember when he promised the following?
Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.
In a nutshell, the above was a “promise” from the president that, while he now technically has the authority to arrest you and throw you into a dark hole from which you will never escape and nobody will ever know about it, he won’t. Since he has never broken a promise since taking office, I guess we can all take him at his word. Of course, the next one might not be so trustworthy…
Well, now it appears that there’s another loophole in the works. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet H.R. 3166: Enemy Expatriation Act.
Note the use of the word enemy.
“Representatives” Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Jason Altmire (D-PA) introduced the bill in the House on October 12, 2011. In the Senate, Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) introduced S. 1698. Perhaps this slipped under the radar with all the hubbub over SOPA, NDAA, and Charlie Sheen’s Tiger Blood?
In case you aren’t familiar with the word “expatriation,” here’s a simple definition:
Expatriate: verb /ɛksˈpeɪtriˌeɪt/ – to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
Here’s how the language in H.R. 3166 itself describes its purpose: “To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.”
“Lose?” Or “have it stripped from them?” Words mean things, folks.
This bill, if passed and signed into law, would appear to give the president the right to simply take away your citizenship if said citizenship proved to be a problem. Once that pesky citizenship nonsense is gone, it would seem that he would no longer be bound by the above promise.
In other words, the president now has an out:
Q. You a U.S. Citizen?
A. Yes, Mr. President.
Q. Not any more. Have fun in Guantanamo, suckah.