Fox & Friends Rewrites Background Of Alleged Terrorists To Make Them The Face Of Birthright Citizenship

Fox & Friends joined The Daily Caller in an effort to make alleged terrorists Anwar al-Awlaki and Yaser Hamdi the face of birthright citizenship, falsely claiming the men were born in the U.S. to “illegal parents” and able to pursue terrorist activities without retaliation because their citizenship protected them.

The Daily Caller Attempts To Paint Alleged Terrorists Al-Awlaki And Hamdi As The Face Of Birthright Citizenship

Daily Caller: “Two Terrorists Were Beneficiaries Of Birthright Citizenship. The Daily Caller jumped off of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to end birthright citizenship guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to point to two men, Anwar al-Awlaki and Yaser Hamdi, as evidence of how “terrorists [are] beneficiaries of birthright citizenship”:

While the debate currently is focused on illegal immigrants from Latin America and the “anchor babies” they have in the United States, there is another dimension to the issue worthy of note: Anti-American Islamic radicals who can possess American citizenship even if they were raised abroad by non-citizen parents.


Notable beneficiaries of birthright citizenship include two American enemies: Anwar al-Awlaki and Yaser Hamdi. Both were American citizens by virtue of being born in the United States, even though they were born to non-citizens who at the time had not been granted permanent residence in the United States. Their are only anecdotal examples among millions of Americans who have benefited from birthright citizenship, but they do illustrate the potential national security hazards of freely awarding citizenship to anybody born in the U.S. [The Daily Caller, 8/19/15]

Fox & Friends Claims Birthright Citizenship Gave Citizenship And Protection To Terrorists Born In U.S. To “Illegal Parents”

Brian Kilmeade: “Guess Who Had Birthright Citizenship? Two Al-Qaeda Operatives ... Born In Our Country To Illegal Parents.” On the August 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that al-Awlaki and Hamdi “had birthright citizenship” because they were born in the United States to “illegal parents”:

KILMEADE: Guess who had birthright citizenship? Two Al-Qaeda operatives, Anwar al-Awlaki and Taliban fighter, Yaser Hamdi, because they were born in our country to illegal parents. Think about that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/21/15]

Ainsley Earhardt: Critics Say U.S. Was “Blocked From Taking Certain Actions” Against Terrorists Because Of Their Birthright Citizenship. Later on Fox & Friends, Ainsley Earhardt repeated the claim and added that “critics say the government was blocked from taking certain actions [against al-Awlaki and Hamdi] because of their citizenship”:

EARHARDT: Donald Trump's push to end birthright citizenship is reigniting the debate over whether people born in this country should automatically become Americans. Especially when you learn two of our enemies, these guys, benefited from birthright citizenship. Al-Qaeda operative, Anwar al-Awlaki, and then Taliban fighter, YaserHamdi, were both born in our country to illegal parents. Critics say the government was blocked from taking certain actions because -- or any actions against them -- because of their citizenship. [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/21/15]

But The Parents Of Both Al-Awlaki And Hamdi's Were Legally Residing In U.S. When They Were Born

Al-Awlaki's Father Was In The U.S. On Fulbright Scholarship When He Was Born. Al-Awlaki's father was studying in the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship when Anwar was born, as GQ explained:

Awlaki was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 22, 1971. His father was studying at New Mexico State University on a Fulbright, the scholarship designed to expose foreigners to our values. Young Anwar was carted around the States for years as academic baggage--New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota--but at age 7 he moved to Yemen with his family. [GQ6/21/11]

Yaser Hamdi Was Born In Baton Rouge Where His Father Worked In U.S.-Saudi Venture. Hamdi's father was a petroleum engineer in the U.S. when Hamdi was born, as USA Today noted:

Hamdi, 21, is considered a U.S. citizen because he was born in Baton Rouge, where his father was a petrochemical engineer in a U.S.-Saudi venture. The family returned to Saudi Arabia three years later. [USA Today8/29/02]

And U.S. Targeted Al-Awlaki In 2011 Drone Strike For His Alleged Role As Al-Qaeda Operative

Al-Awlaki Killed In U.S. Drone Strike In Yemen In 2011. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011 over his role as an alleged al-Qaeda operative:

A federal court on Monday released a previously secret government memo outlining the legal justification for the 2011 killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and accused al-Qaeda operative, in a drone strike in Yemen. 


“We do not believe that al-Aulaqi's U.S. citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action” by the U.S. military or CIA, the memo concluded, clearing the way for a drone strike that would trigger intense legal and political debate. 


Awlaki's relationship with al-Qaeda “brings him within the scope” of the 2001 congressional authorization of the use of military force, according to the document. Citing information provided by the CIA and Pentagon, the memo said Awlaki has “operational and leadership roles” with al-Qaeda and “continues to plot attacks intended to kill Americans.” 

In part because that authorization specified no geographic boundaries, it did not matter that Awlaki was based in Yemen rather than Afghanistan, where the bulk of the U.S. war effort against al-Qaeda was focused. [The Washington Post6/23/14]

Second Generation Americans -- Those With At Least One Parent Born Abroad -- Do Not Commit More Crimes Than Other Americans

Pew Research Center: Second Generation Americans Have Similar Crime Rate To Other Americans. Pew Research reported in 2013 that second generation Americans -- those with at least one parent born abroad -- commit crimes at a rate that “is virtually identical to the rate among native-born Americans across the most crime-prone years”:


[Pew Research Center, 10/15/13]