Revocation of Citizenship as a Counter-Terrorism Measure: A Dangerous Weapon of the Populist Rhetoric

Populism uses people’s common sentiments and desires to gain votes. In a world threatened by international terrorism, what desire is more common than demand for security? And what equation is easier than the one between foreigners and terrorists? Hence, populist governments are (dangerously oversimplifying and) identifying aliens with national security threats, conflating immigration measures and counter-terrorism law.
Italy is a major example of this trend. Recently, a law even allowed public authorities to strip naturalized Italian citizens of their nationality if they commit terrorist crimes. Thus, the identification between non-citizens and terrorists is exacerbated.
The analysis of these measures and, more generally, of the overlap between immigration and counter-terrorism will lead us to ask ourselves whether some basic categories of constitutional law – people, citizenship – are changing, turning the traditionally unifying nature of constitutionalism into a foreclosing one.