Russian Spies Plea Agreement – Unconstitutional Use of Exile?
At least two of the Russian spies are naturalized US citizens — Vicky Palaez and her husband Mikhail Vasenkov (aka Juan Lazaro). In Palaez’s case, at least, it looks like there was nothing fraudulent about her naturalization (presumably there’s a case that her husband’s was, though I haven’t seen anyone make it).
As part of the plea agreement, Palaez agrees to cooperate in “her immediate removal or expulsion” from the US, and “agrees never to reenter the United States following removal, for any purpose, without prior authorization” of the Attorney General. If she re-enters without such authorization, the plea agreement will be null and void, and she’ll be subject to removal or prosecution.
This looks fishy to me — like banishment — and I wonder if there are any precedents. Unlike Yaser Hamdi, there’s no indication that Palaez has renounced her citizenship. Citizens can’t be deported — leaving aside the constitutional question, relevant sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act apply only to aliens. Under international law, states must allow citizens to enter and remain on their territory. Is this okay simply because it’s voluntarily undertaken as part of a plea? The mechanism might present an end-run around the sticky question of whether terrorists and others can be expatriated.