Since its founding, the United States has declared itself to be a country whose greatest strengths lie in its open-armed acceptance of immigrants; however, it has traditionally discouraged its citizens from forming or retaining ties to other nations, including the holding of dual citizenship.
National governments tend to bestow citizenship in two ways. The first is recognizing citizenship by right of birth–provided certain conditions have been met relating to place of birth and the possession of citizenship by one’s parents. The second way is by acquiring citizenship through a naturalization process that begins with stating one’s intention of becoming a permanent resident. In the first case, citizenship is obtained automatically at an eligible child’s birth. In the second case, citizenship is finally obtained by taking an oath of loyalty to the nation, sometimes with the added requirement of formally renouncing any ties to other nations.
In some countries, merely being born in the country automatically confers citizenship through the principle of
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States . . .
Dual citizenship cases may arise when
Dual citizenship may be acquired by alien adults who wish to naturalize in the country in which they reside and either can not or choose not to renounce their existing citizenship. The United States requires immigrants who naturalize as citizens to swear an oath in which they renounce their former national ties. However, many other countries do not consider such an oath to be legally binding and therefore continue to recognize the naturalized Americans as their own citizens, too.
The U.S. State Department has historically regarded dual citizenship as an undesirable status. In the past, the federal government sometimes vigorously punished dual citizens by expelling them, even though such policies were unconstitutional. The case of
The child of Chinese immigrants working in California,
Similarly, naturalized U.S. citizens’ actions were scrutinized for behavior contrary to the U.S. State Department’s expectations of loyalty. In the case of
According to a section of the
Bauman, Robert E. The Complete Guide to Offshore Residency, Dual Citizenship and Second Passports. New York: Sovereign Society, 2000. A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland, Bauman discusses the procedures for obtaining dual citizenship. Faist, Thomas. Dual Citizenship in Global Perspective: From Unitary to Multiple Citizenship. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Faist explains that while national loyalty used to be the foundation for citizenship, dual and multiple citizenship have increasingly challenged such exclusivity. Hansen, Randall, and Patrick Weil. Dual Nationality, Social Rights and Federal Citizenship in the U.S. and Europe: The Reinvention of Citizenship. Oxford, England: Berghahn Books, 2002. Comparison of the politics and migration policies of Germany and the United States. Kymlicka, Will. Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Discusses dual citizenship in light of multicultural pressures on political and cultural policy. Spiro, Peter J. Beyond Citizenship: American Identity After Globalization. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Investigation into the changing nature of American identity that touches on the changing nature of citizenship and nationality in an increasingly globalized culture.
Afroyim v. Rusk
Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
Chinese Exclusion Cases
United States v. Wong Kim Ark