Congressman Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.) exposed a major flaw in U.S. citizenship law which allows the federal government to revoke the passport of a U.S. citizen who fails to pay child support but not a U.S. citizen who joins the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Speaking to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Duncan cited 8 USC 1481, which states:
Recent Stories in National Security
A person who is a national of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality-
(3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state
Duncan noted that, because the law includes the condition "with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality," U.S. citizens who pledge allegiance to ISIL–which is not a recognized foreign state–cannot have their citizenship revoked, while citizens who have unpaid child support that surpasses $25,000 may have their passports taken away.
"We can revoke their passport just because they don't pay child support," Duncan said.
"But you can't tell me we're going to revoke the passports of people going to fight with people in ISIS who have said ‘we're coming to the White House, we're gonna fly that black ISIS al Qaeda flag over the White House,' who have made threats to the United States, who have beheaded two American journalists … but we can revoke their passport if they fail to pay their child support?"