President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who joined ISIS but now says she regrets aligning herself with the terrorist group, back into the country.
"I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!," Trump said in a tweet.
Muthana, 24, made a desperate plea to U.S. officials this week to be allowed to return home nearly five years after she fled the country to become the bride of an ISIS fighter in Syria.
Pompeo said in a statement earlier Wednesday that he would not allow Muthana back in the United States, claiming she is not a citizen and therefore does not have a legal basis to seek re-entry.
"Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States," Pompeo said. "She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria."
During an interview on NBC's "Today" on Thursday, Pompeo reiterated his earlier claim that she was not a U.S. citizen.
"She is a terrorist," he said, acknowledging that Muthana "may have been born here."
"She is not a U.S. citizen," he continued.
Hasan Shibly, a family representative, denied the administration's assessment, claiming on Twitter that Muthana is a U.S. citizen, was born in New Jersey and had a U.S. passport. He posted a photo of what he claims is Muthana’s birth certificate, which said she was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, in October 1994.
Shibly, a lawyer with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, claimed Muthana's date of birth was "months" after her father, a diplomat from Yemen, informed the U.S. government he had ended that employment. The children of diplomats, even if they’re born in the United States, are not considered citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
NBC News has not verified the authenticity of the document.
A State Department spokesperson said there are many reasons why someone previously issued a passport could later be found ineligible for that passport, meaning it could be revoked or an application denied.
"Ms. Muthana’s citizenship has not been revoked because she was never a U.S. citizen," the spokesperson said.
Muthana had called online for the killing of Americans after joining the terrorist group. She reportedly was captured by Kurdish forces after fleeing ISIS's last remaining pocket of territory.
With her infant son at her feet, Muthana told The Guardian in an interview at a detention camp in northern Syria this week that she had been brainwashed and "deeply regrets” traveling to Syria to join ISIS.
“We were basically in the time of ignorance … and then became jihadi, if you like to describe it that way,” she told the newspaper. “I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God.”