Feb. 23 (UPI) — The father of Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who fled to Syria to join the Islamic State, sued President Donald Trump and two members of his Cabinet to allow his daughter to return to the United States.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday, attorneys for Ahmed Ali Muthana argued that Trump and others are acting unconstitutionally by treating his 24-year-old daughter as a non-citizen, USA Today reported.
Trump said Wednesday he told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prevent Hoda Muthana from returning to the United States. Pompeo said in a statement that day that she has no “legal basis” to return because she is not a citizen.
Hoda Muthana was born in New Jersey. Her father had brought the family to the United States while he was a United Nations diplomat for Yemen. He left the position shortly before her birth and remained in the United States on his diplomatic visa, CNN reported.
Because Hoda Muthana was born in the United States while her father had diplomatic status, she is not a U.S. citizen, Pompeo said Thursday on NBC.
She left the United States in 2014 to join the Islamic State militant group while a student at University of Alabama at Birmingham. Later, Hoda Muthana married multiple Islamic State fighters, although she has since expressed remorse for joining the group, saying she was “brainwashed.” She wants to return to the United States with her 18-month-old son.
In addition to Trump, the lawsuit also names Pompeo and newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr as co-defendants.
The suit argues that the Trump administration “has an obligation to assist in the return of its citizens from areas of armed conflict.”