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Huckabee vs. Dual Citizens

As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee displayed a very welcoming attitude towards illegal immigrants--such as supporting a law to give subsdized in-state college tuition to illegal aliens who had lived in Arkansas for three years. Such a law would have resulted in the taxpayers of Arkansas giving a subsidy to a citizen of Mexico which could not be enjoyed by a citizen of Michigan.

Now, in the midst of a Republican nomination battle in which many voters seem strongly opposed to illegal immigration, Governor Huckabee has veered to the other extreme, and proposes to crack down on legal immigrants, as well as native-born Americans. Item 8 of his "Secure American Plan" promises to:

Impose civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status (e.g., using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.).
Let's consider the second item first: a few countries (such as Italy) which recognize dual citizenship allow non-resident nationals to vote in their elections. Indeed, the Italian parliament even has several seats which are elected by Italian citizens living abroad. It seems obvious that encouraging American citizens who can vote in foreign elections to do so would be in the strategic interests of the United States. A person who resides in America, and who is a citizen of both of the United States and Italy, is probably going to be a stronger supporter of Italo-American friendship than is an Italian-only citizen living in Italy.

The same point applies to dual citizens of Mexico and the U.S. who live in the U.S.; more so than Mexican-only citizens who live in Mexico, the dual citizens are likely to vote for Mexican candidates who favor friendly relations with the United States. I am sure there are exceptions which could be found, but on the whole, encouraging dual citizens to vote in foreign elections would generally promote the election of pro-American candidates.

Of course the converse is also true. Persons with dual citizenship who vote in the U.S. would more likely to vote for a pro-Italy (or pro-Mexico) candidate. If we are willing to allow a particular person to be a U.S. citizen, it would be perverse (and perhaps a violation of the 15th Amendment) to try to discourage that person from voting in U.S. elections. And it would be harmful to American interests to discourage that person from voting in a foreign election.

The other part of Huckabee's promised crackdown involves persons "using a foreign passport." Under current U.S. policy, a person with dual citizenship must use her American passport whenever she enters or leaves the United States.

Current U.S. policy also explicitly states that, while dual citizenship is lawful, an American citizen cannot use dual citizenship to gain any legal advantage under American law, and the person must obey the laws of both countries. For example, the U.S. has a tourism embargo with Cuba, but France has no such embargo. If a person with dual Franco-American citizenship used a French passport to enter Cuba for a vacation, the person could properly be prosecuted under American laws forbidding tourist visits to Cuba. Accordingly, any non-innocent uses of a foreign passport by an American citizen are already covered by existing law.

What is not forbidden by current law--but what would apparently be forbidden by President Huckabee--is innocent uses of a foreign passport.For example, an American who is also a citizen of Ireland takes a vacation in Poland. At the Warsaw airport, the passport control lines for EU citizens are much shorter than the lines of non-EU citizens, so the person uses her Irish passport to enter Poland. Such use of the Irish passport does no harm to American interests, or to the woman's duties as an American citizen.

Or suppose that the women goes on a visit to Ireland. As she passes through Irish passport control, it would be more proper for her to use the passport issued by the Republic of Ireland than to use another passport. It is matter of courtesy that the person should use the passport issued by the country of admission. Indeed, the woman might need to use that passport: perhaps she wants to rent a cottage by the Irish Sea for several months and write poetry; an Irish passport allows her to do, and an American passport does not.

Only a true xenophobe would find anything wrong with the dual Irish-American citizen using her Irish passport to spend a half-year in Ireland.

I do not believe that Governor Huckabee is a xenophobe. I do believe that in his haste to distance himself from his own record on illegal immigration, he has endorsed policies which will harm native-born Americans who happen to hold dual citizenship, and will also harm legal immigrants who hold dual citizenship. His poor judgment on this issue is of direct concern to the many loyal Americans who have dual citizenship, and might also be of concern to all other Americans, as an example of a style of hasty, politically-driven decision-making which can have unintended consequences.

Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Just a nit: to my knowledge there is strictly speaking no prohibition on visits by US citizens to Cuba. What de facto prevents most such visits is the US trade embargo on Cuba. A US citizen who spends no US funds in Cuba, e.g. a guest of a Cuban institution or of Cuban friends, may indeed irritate the US government but violates no law.
12.11.2007 2:47am
Christopher M (mail):
I would think that the very idea of dual citizenship would be repugnant to many nationalistic Americans. The prevailing idea of patriotism in America seems to include a very strong sense that American citizens should act so as to benefit each other, placing very little value on the welfare of non-Americans. How could one hold dual citizenship and still value Americans above all others?
12.11.2007 2:56am
Oren:

Impose civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status (e.g., using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.).

Well, if it's illegitimate uses then it seems logical to penalize them. The statement is, like most political position, totally vacuous.
12.11.2007 3:32am
A. Zarkov (mail):
The US should not allow dual citizenship. If we want the US to remain a sovereign nation-state, then we must have the undivided loyalty of our citizens. This means you must give up your non-American passport, and you must renounce all other citizenships. To do otherwise can lead to problems. For example, suppose someone commits murder and flees to the country of his other nationality. Some countries (France) will either delay extradition or refuse it outright. Suppose we go to war with another country. Can we risk drafting persons of dual citizenship? Ask yourself, should we allow our diplomats to have dual citizenship? Or give security clearance to people with dual citizenship?
12.11.2007 5:08am
Oren:
What does sovereignty have to do with allowing dual citizenship? Even more importantly, when the hell did loyalty (let alone 'undivided loyalty') become a requirement for citizenship?

For example, suppose someone commits murder and flees to the country of his other nationality. Some countries (France) will either delay extradition or refuse it outright.

You know a person could flee to France even without being a French national.

Suppose we go to war with another country. Can we risk drafting persons of dual citizenship?

If there is a draft and the military deems them a security threat they can be placed in non-sensitive positions (peeling potatoes). In the worst case, if the military refuses them outright then they won't serve.

Ask yourself, should we allow our diplomats to have dual citizenship? Or give security clearance to people with dual citizenship?

These are special cases that have no bearing on whether DC should be allowed for the vast majority of people that are neither diplomats nor require clearance.
12.11.2007 5:46am
teqjack (mail):
Slightly (?) off-topic -

Seems to me that about a half-century ago, I was told that part of the naturalization process involved giving up citizenship in other countries, though it was legal for a US citizen to become a citizen of another country without (if allowed by the other country) giving up US citizenship.

I do wonder what happens if you travel between countries and are found with two or more passports. Must make for some stressful times...
12.11.2007 5:52am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"What does sovereignty have to do with allowing dual citizenship? Even more importantly, when the hell did loyalty (let alone 'undivided loyalty') become a requirement for citizenship?"

That used to be the requirement for US citizenship. You could lose your US nationality by serving in the armed forces or voting in the election of another country. It used to say just that on US passports until the courts intervened.

"You know a person could flee to France even without being a French national."

He could but France would allow quick extradition. However in the case of French nationals, the French government can insist on putting him on trial in France. This is currently an ongoing case.

"If there is a draft and the military deems them a security threat they can be placed in non-sensitive positions (peeling potatoes). In the worst case, if the military refuses them outright then they won't serve."

The military needs the undivided loyalty of its soldiers. Every position is to some extent "sensitive." In a war you never know who has to do what. If nothing else, a disloyal soldier is a potential morale buster.

"These are special cases that have no bearing on whether DC should be allowed for the vast majority of people that are neither diplomats nor require clearance."

Those are not the only instances of where dual citizenship presents a problem. But they are enough. One serious breach can change everything. Look at Klaus Fuchs, a UK national who spied for the USSR during his tenure at the Manhattan Project. While the USSR would have developed nuclear weapons eventually, it would not have done it so quickly after WWII. Their first nuclear test was essentially an exact duplicate of the Manhattan Project Design. That test had an enormous impact American diplomacy. More recently Wen Ho Lee, a dual Chinese national, was involved in the biggest security breach in the history of the US nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately the FBI so screwed up the case he got off. He also get help form a network of Chinese dual nationals who provided money and political support.
12.11.2007 6:18am
Brett Bellmore:

when the hell did loyalty (let alone 'undivided loyalty') become a requirement for citizenship?


Not familiar with the oath of citizenship, are we? Which begins, "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;"

On it's face, this would appear to rule out dual citizenship, no? Strictly speaking, if I understand these things correctly, dual citizenship is a violation of naturalization laws. That part of the law is just not currently being enforced. Apparently Huckabee wants to change that. Penalizing any use of dual citizenship is obviously just an enforcement mechanism.

And I agree, he's not doing this out of conviction, just as over-compensation for his record on illegal immigration... It's quite common for the defenders of illegal immigration to have a really ugly notion of what would appeal to it's opponents.
12.11.2007 6:20am
Rhymes W. Right (mail) (www):
Let's not even get into the question of American Jews who hold Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. Does Huckabee really intend to resurrect the old anti-Semitic canard about dual loyalties?

Good God! This guy is a mentally deficient menace to the GOP and the Nation as a whole.
12.11.2007 6:36am
Positroll (mail):
The US should not allow dual citizenship. If we want the US to remain a sovereign nation-state, then we must have the undivided loyalty of our citizens.
Naturalization is only one of many ways to acquire an American passport. Imagine e.g. a child born in the US to an American mother and a German father. He'll be an American under the American ius soli rule, and a German due to ius sanguinis. Do you really want him to have to choose between the land of his father and the land of his mother and give up a passport? If not: Why should he be dissallowed to use his German passport when travelling in Europe (cf. the example in the blogpost)?
12.11.2007 7:22am
M (mail):
It's sometimes suggested the allowing dual citizenship discouraged assimilation but the evidence seems to point the other way. This has especially been the case w/ Mexico. For a long time Mexico did not allow its citizens who naturalized to own property in Mexico and they faced other serious legal detriments as well. This was a huge disincentive for Mexicans to naturalize. After these laws were changed naturalization went up, and with it, it seems (according to people who study the issue) assimilation did as well.
12.11.2007 7:24am
Angus:
These recent attacks on dual citizenship are just plain mean-spirited, and I can only assume they are motivated by blind jingoism or xenophobia.

I recently attended a U.S. naturalization ceremony where new citizens were taking their oath. The judge paused in mid-session and editorialized about how immigrants should not speak their old language ever again, read newspapers from their former countries, or even watch TV shows in their native tongue.

The plain truth is that immigrants usually have family members in their old countries who they would like to visit regularly. Traveling on a U.S. passport is a disadvantage in some parts of the world, particularly for emigres who gave up their old citizenship and are now viewed as traitors by their original countries. This can make it extremely difficult, sometimes nigh impossible, to visit family members. However, whipping out the passport of the other country opens all the doors.

My question to those on the anti-dual citizenship bandwagon is: Why do you hate families?
12.11.2007 7:54am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Do you really want him to have to choose between the land of his father and the land of his mother and give up a passport?"

Yes. When the child reaches 18 he should have to decide which country he wants to hold citizenship in.
12.11.2007 8:39am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
You might want to double-check your initial statement that in-state Arkansas tuition is a benefit not available to citizens of Michigan. At the large state university I work for, we have rules which clearly provide for a student to be considered in-state for tuition purposes even though they lived in another state when they first started college. The test is both geographic/chronological (live here, don't go home fur summer session, etc.) and financial (don't be claimed as a dependent on your parents' taxes, etc.), but it's really not that difficult and can of course save a LOT of money. I imagine that Arkansas has similar provisions, and my bet, without having done any research into the matter, is that Huckabee's law on the matter applies the same rules to illegal aliens for such in-state tuition determinations as are applied to "citizens of Michigan."
12.11.2007 8:52am
Nick P.:
A Zarkov:
This means you must give up your non-American passport, and you must renounce all other citizenships.
and
When the child reaches 18 he should have to decide which country he wants to hold citizenship in.

In many cases, that would be a meaningless formality. The other country wouldn't recognize it, and the dual national could get a new passport whenever he/she wanted. The U.S. can't force other countries to accept its view of citizenship.

Suppose we go to war with another country. Can we risk drafting persons of dual citizenship?

You do know that the U.S. requires even non-US citizens who are permanent residents to register for the draft, right? If you are worried about a dual national being in the army, you must be quaking in your boots when you think about foreigners serving.
12.11.2007 8:53am
LongSufferingRaidersFan (mail):
My girl was born and raised in the PRC, moved to the US at 26, and gained US citizenship by serving three years in the US army. When she took a trip back to the PRC after becoming a US citizen, she had to hand over her Chinese passport, which was ripped up and handed back to her. I think this was actually done by the Chinese consulate though I'm not 100% sure.

Oren, you seem pretty emotionally invested in this topic (and some of your points are just wrong, but M. Zarkov has already addressed that). Do you or someone you know hold dual citizenship? Just curious.
12.11.2007 9:01am
ANDKEN (mail) (www):
The point is that most people keeps dual citizenship to facilitate travels, not to escape from Justice or whatever.
12.11.2007 9:01am
Cornellian (mail):
The Constitution provides that people born here are citizens by virtue of their birth - no oath required - and nothing in the Constitution provides for that citizenship to ever be revoked under any circumstances.

Huckabee's proposal is totally idiotic. Suppose you're a dual citizen, the U.S. and Ireland and suppose you're traveling to Ireland. You land at the airport and there is a line for Irish citizens and a line for non-Irish citizens. What does Huckabee expect you to do? Hide your Irish passport? Not get one in the first place and somehow prove you're an Irish citizen anyway? Lie and pretend you're not an Irish citizen? What if Ireland has the same policy and requires its citizens to display an Irish passport when they enter and leave Ireland?

Not only is this policy pure xenophobia, it's not even calculated xenophobia. A great many Americans are dual citizens (not just US and Mexico either) or have parents or other relatives who are dual citizens and they can all vote. To attack them is just moronic and the only explanation has to be that Huckabee is now trying to overcompensate for his "soft on immigration" image by showing he can be tougher than the other candidates on anyone with some kind of foreign connection.

What's next from Huckabee - "Why that foreign vacation was unpatriotic" ?
12.11.2007 9:11am
Cornellian (mail):
On it's face, this would appear to rule out dual citizenship, no? Strictly speaking, if I understand these things correctly, dual citizenship is a violation of naturalization laws. That part of the law is just not currently being enforced. Apparently Huckabee wants to change that. Penalizing any use of dual citizenship is obviously just an enforcement mechanism.

US born citizens aren't required to take an oath of loyalty - they're citizens purely by virtue of being born here and for that person to hold dual citizenship is not a violation of US law.
12.11.2007 9:17am
MDJD2B (mail):

Let's not even get into the question of American Jews who hold Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.


American Jews do not hold some sort of latent Israeli citizenship consequent to the law of return. An American Jew can go to Israel apply for Israeli citizenship, just as any qualified American can go to Australia or France and apply for Australian or French citizenship.

An American Jew who receives Israeli citizenship would presumably, and rightfully, be subject to the same considerations as any dual citizen.

If "Rhymes" was implying that American Jews already are citizens of Israel due to the law of return, then he may rhyme with right, but he is wrong. I don't think a nation can unilaterally impose its citizenship on someone from another nation. If Russia, for example, declared everyone in the world whose surname ended in "-ov," or every Orthodox Christian, to be a Russian citizen I don't think this would confer dual citizenship on an American born here. I must say that I speak from relative ignorance, and I know there have been cases in which people who moved to the US as small children were subjected to responsibilities of citizens in other countries (like being drafted) when they reentered as tourists. If the Russian army drafted an Ivanov who was born in Kansas and visiting Russia as a tourist for the first time, I think this would create a problem for the US and for Mr. Ivanov, but not because the US considered Ivanov Russian on account of Russia saying so.

In any event, Israel does not make such claims with regard to Jews in other countries.
12.11.2007 9:19am
Nick P.:
FWIW, I'm currently a dual citizen of the U.S. and the U.K., although I haven't bothered to renew my British passport.

I just read up on the rules regarding renunciation of British citizenship. As I understand it, I can renounce British citizenship, if and only if I am also a citizen of another nation. That renunciation is an internal British matter and nothing I could say to a U.S. judge or other official would have any effect on it. If I renounce my British citizenship in order to obtain citizenship in another country, I have the right to resume my British citizenship at any time, although I can only exercise that right once. Resuming British citizenship does not require that I renounce citizenship in the other country, and presumably the British government would not inform that country.

So, it would appear that while the U.S. could, if it chose, require a dual U.S./U.K. citizen to renounce his British citizenship, there's no way the U.S. could prevent that person from immediately resuming British citizenship, and there's probably no way the U.S. could detect it.
12.11.2007 9:26am
Cornellian (mail):
So, it would appear that while the U.S. could, if it chose, require a dual U.S./U.K. citizen to renounce his British citizenship, there's no way the U.S. could prevent that person from immediately resuming British citizenship, and there's probably no way the U.S. could detect it.

Perhaps President Huckabee will demand that it be a criminal offense for an American citizen to resume (or retain) British citizenship? That will go over well. Lord knows we've had nothing but problems with expat Brits from the Beatles onwards.
12.11.2007 9:29am
MDJD2B (mail):

His poor judgment on this issue is of direct concern to the many loyal Americans who have dual citizenship, and might also be of concern to all other Americans, as an example of a style of hasty, politically-driven decision-making which can have unintended consequences.


It may be an example of apriortization (a neologism)as a way of thought.

My sense is that Gov. Huckabee derives his positions from inspiration rather than thought. As he says on his website (click on Issues, then Faith):


My faith is my life - it defines me. My faith doesn't influence my decisions, it drives them.


I would like to see some evidence that he is capable of linear thought.
12.11.2007 9:40am
Oren:

Not familiar with the oath of citizenship, are we? Which begins, "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;"


Funny, somehow I'm a US citizen without having ever taken, or even hearing of, that oath.
12.11.2007 9:49am
Lugo:
on the whole, encouraging dual citizens to vote in foreign elections would generally promote the election of pro-American candidates.

Let's turn the logic of this around. What would be our view of the citizens of country X who are able to vote in US elections voting for "pro-X candidates"? A great many Americans would find this infuriating and unacceptable. The only candidate an American should vote for in US elections is the pro-American candidate, i.e. the one who will represent the interests of the United States and no other country. Furthermore, elections in other countries are their business alone, and we have no business encouraging our citizens to vote in foreign elections.

I am a naturalized US citizen. I renounced my British citizenship and gave up my UK passport (yeah, I have to stand in the longer line at Heathrow, woe is me). I think citizens of this country should be loyal to this country and only this country. If that makes me a xenophobe, so be it.
12.11.2007 10:22am
cjwynes (mail):
Huckabee, of course, has no intention to follow through on any of this. His record shows he's soft on illegals, and he's stated the religious underpinnings of those beliefs so that I conclude those soft positions are his true views on the matter.

Do all the other countries that forbid dual-citizenship get accused of "xenophobia"? If anything, the current US policy on immigration is recklessly xenophilic, owing to some preposterous fantasy about immigrants from 130 years ago when our country had a smaller population, no welfare state, and zillions of acres of unoccupied land in the West to hand out to anybody willing to take plow to soil.
12.11.2007 10:28am
Cornellian (mail):
Let's turn the logic of this around. What would be our view of the citizens of country X who are able to vote in US elections voting for "pro-X candidates"? A great many Americans would find this infuriating and unacceptable.

I don't find it infuriating at all. If an American wants to vote for a pro-Denmark candidate just because he likes that country or his parents came from that country or for some other reason, that's his business. Why should it matter that he happens to hold dual citizenship with Denmark or even live there? He's entitled to his opinion.
12.11.2007 10:30am
Cornellian (mail):
I think citizens of this country should be loyal to this country and only this country. If that makes me a xenophobe, so be it.


And were you any less loyal to the US on the day before you renounced your UK citizenship than you were on the day after?
12.11.2007 10:31am
M.E.Butler (mail):
Huckabee is just one more example of how we've let the Tancredo-Dobbs-Minutemen complex make a complete hash of any intelligent discussion of immigration law and policy.

Mr. Kopel (inadvertently, one would hope) appears to be channeling that complex in his line about "the taxpayers of Arkansas giving a subsidy to a citizen of Mexico which could not be enjoyed by a citizen of Michigan."

You will note that Huckabee's proposal required three years residence in Arkansas. People who live in Arkansas pay Arkansas taxes, which I suspect include property taxes, income taxes and sales taxes. They also contribute to the economy of Arkansas, which results in other Arkansans paying taxes. People in Michigan don't pay Arkansas taxes and don't contribute directly to the economy of Arkansas.

It's also likely that someone who lives for at least three years in Arkansas, who attends a university in Arkansas, will remain in Arkansas after graduation, and will continue to pay Arkansas taxes and contribute to the Arkansas economy. (Somewhere there may be data on this--I'll let someone else who has more time find it.)

If these propositions are in fact true, why shouldn't the state of Arkansas give preferential treatment to people who live in Arkansas?
12.11.2007 10:33am
Al Maviva (mail):
Is it just me, or are other conservative/libertarian types getting the impression that Huckabee is the NY Times caricature of a conservative - xenophobic, faith-based in the part of the brain where logic ought to rule, senselessly mean-spirited, and seemingly addle-pated when it comes to mastery of simple facts and arguments? Meanwhile, his social proposals are pure nanny-statism of the sort that Mike Bloomberg would applaud - 'you'll quit smoking and lose weight because I told you it's good for you.' Apparently, right wing statist populism polls pretty well, but if you actually listen to what the guy says, he's pretty horrifying.

Sorry it's off topic a bit but the meta-narrative is sort of crystalizing for me. I hope he's not the Republican nominee because I'd vote for pretty much any one of the Democrats (other than Kucinich) over Huckabee. There doesn't seem to be much there, there.
12.11.2007 10:45am
A.C.:
It was my impression that the US ignores dual citizenship entirely. As far as the government is concerned, the US passport is the only one that counts. If someone claims to be a dual citizen and some other country recognizes that claim, so what? That's their bookkeeping headache, not ours.


[DK: Your statement of the law is exactly correct. The US government does not oppose dual citizenship, but it will not give advantage or different treatment to a U.S. citizen because that citizen is also the citizen of another nation.]

Has this rule changed?

This might be a mess in the event of war or the draft, if both countries tried to conscript the same person or if there was a serious question of loyalties. Otherwise, ignoring the whole thing seems to make the most sense.
12.11.2007 10:47am
K Parker (mail):
Angus:
Why do you hate families?
I'll get back to you on that as soon as I finish beating my wife.
12.11.2007 11:29am
Frog Leg (mail):
M.E. Butler is correct. Debating immigration has reached the point where you can't believe what anyone says, since there is a large segment of the population which demands being pandered to on this issue. It's very similar to the Cuba blockade. You have a policy which makes no sense whatsoever, but it is a absolute litmus test issue for a substantial faction who happen to live in a contested state. What politicians will say in such circumstances bears no relationship to what they would do if they were not being held hostage by an irrational faction.
12.11.2007 11:30am
Lugo:
And were you any less loyal to the US on the day before you renounced your UK citizenship than you were on the day after?

Of course. How could it be otherwise? A person who is a citizen of another country as well as the US is necessarily less loyal to this country than a person who is a citizen of the US alone. I renounced my UK citizenship specifically in order to show, legally and emotionally, that my allegiance was to this country alone.

I don't find it infuriating at all. If an American wants to vote for a pro-Denmark candidate just because he likes that country or his parents came from that country or for some other reason, that's his business.

You should. American politicians should serve only American interests, and the last thing we want is foreigners meddling in US elections.
12.11.2007 11:33am
New World Dan (www):
I've reached a point where I've come to the conclusion that the only solution to the problem is to eliminate citizenship altogether. It's deprecated, we don't need it any longer and we'd be better off without it.
12.11.2007 12:11pm
Flash Gordon (mail):
M.E. Butler-
....we've let the Tancredo-Dobbs-Minutemen complex make a complete hash of any intelligent discussion of immigration law and policy.


I take it you define a "hash of any intelligent discussion" as a discussion with those who disagree with you.
12.11.2007 12:14pm
Brett Bellmore:

[DK: Your statement of the law is exactly correct. The US government does not oppose dual citizenship, but it will not give advantage or different treatment to a U.S. citizen because that citizen is also the citizen of another nation.]


Is he correct as a matter of law, or policy? Because it was my impression that the law barring dual citizenship was still on the books, merely not being enforced.
12.11.2007 12:16pm
tvk:
As a dual citizen, some observations:

1. Since the U.S. actually provides laws and regs. on what is required for dual passport holders (e.g. you must use the U.S. passport to enter the U.S.), it is a little hard to argue that such dual passport holding is per se illegal.

2. I don't really get Huckabee's proposal on voting. I doubt he could strip me (as a U.S. citizen) of an American vote even if I vote overseas. Perhaps he could criminalize my overseas vote, but that would be a pretty clear case of extra-territorial legislation.

3. A. Zarkov, fyi France can refuse to extradite even American citizens. And remember even non-citizens often have the right of permanent residency here, which is not a bad status to be in. If you make say, a Frenchman choose between his EU citizenship and getting US citizenship, the result might be very many fewer US citizens. And say we went to war with China, and say we limited the draft to citizens only; do you want the military to be able to draft all the dual citizens (but exclude the Chinese dual citizens on conscience grounds), or to draft none of the dual citizens (such as the ones from Mexico). I dare say your somewhat xenophobic policy will harm the military much more than any potential gains.
12.11.2007 12:33pm
Frog Leg (mail):
Flash,

Discussing issues with those who oppose you is not making a hash of the discussion. What does do so is a group of opportunistic demagogues who blow the issue completely out of proportion and making it look like an apocalyptic situation, so that no compromise is possible.
12.11.2007 12:38pm
Nick P.:
Brett:
Is he correct as a matter of law, or policy? Because it was my impression that the law barring dual citizenship was still on the books, merely not being enforced.

According to the U.S. State Department:

A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another.

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1753.html
(italics mine)
12.11.2007 12:49pm
TruePath (aka logicnazi) (mail) (www):
I think people are taking this statement way too seriously.

My understanding is that Huckabee has a very minimal campaign organization only recently becoming more organized. Isn't it a more reasonable hypothesis that the e.g. in the quote just wasn't well thought out or fact checked and he only really means to boost penalties on illegitimate uses, i.e., ones that are already illegal.

In other words seems like what a politician who is trying hard to balance the requirements of getting elected with truthfullness and loyalty to his principles might do. He doesn't believe in punishing illegals but if he doesn't shade his public image it just means someone whose more willing to do so will win so instead he offers a harsh sounding but actually vacuous promise to increase penalties on existing crimes.
12.11.2007 1:23pm
Cornellian (mail):
My understanding is that Huckabee has a very minimal campaign organization only recently becoming more organized. Isn't it a more reasonable hypothesis that the e.g. in the quote just wasn't well thought out or fact checked and he only really means to boost penalties on illegitimate uses, i.e., ones that are already illegal.

If that's the explanation he's clearly not ready for prime time. I certainly have no intention of voting for a guy who says my sibling is some kind of criminal for being a dual citizen (US / Canada) or for holding two passports. Good luck with that campaign against dual citizens Gov. Huckabee, you'll find they can all vote and that they all have plenty of relatives and friends who can vote.
12.11.2007 1:29pm
A.C.:
Frog Leg -

What compromise do you propose for people who want to see immigration laws enforced? Only enforce the law on odd-numbered days?
12.11.2007 1:42pm
microtherion (mail):
Thanks for bringing up this topic. As the (foreign citizen) father of a child with dual citizenship, I was rather puzzled by this part of Huckabee's immigration proposals. It left me to wonder whether this was really the shameless pandering to nativist instincts that it looked like, or whether there was a legitimate policy issue there that I was missing.

BTW, there is some interesting case law on dual citizenship here.
12.11.2007 1:56pm
Smiley (mail):

More recently Wen Ho Lee, a dual Chinese national, was involved in the biggest security breach in the history of the US nuclear weapons program.


From what I recall, Wen Ho Lee was a Taiwanese, not a PRC national. If dual loyalties were an issue, that would have given him less reason to spy for Red China, not more.

I also recall that he was treated abominably, and ultimately both the USDJ and President Clinton apologized to him for it. They would be hardly likely to do that if he had been released as the result of a "technicality."
12.11.2007 2:21pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
What compromise do you propose for people who want to see immigration laws enforced? Only enforce the law on odd-numbered days?


I think it depends on which immigration laws you want to see enforced. A lot of people (not you specifically, I'm just making a generalization) seem to be operating under a lot of assumptions about what our laws actually say and what the penalties for breaking them are which aren't necessarily true. Part of the problem with Huckabee's proposal in the eyes of some people is that it doesn't require "enforcing our nation's laws" on immigration -- which so many enforcement proponents say is their primary objective -- but it instead proposes criminalizing actions which are currently legal and -- while I agree in principal that dual citizenship should not be allowed in the United States -- seems like it ought to be a pretty low priority against securing the border. Given that there are only so many resources that we as a political body are going to devote to immigration, it seems that we ought to be better prioritize how those resources are expended rather than create a new and IMO lower priority issue for enforcement.
12.11.2007 2:36pm
Bama 1L:
You guys know there are plenty of noncitizens serving in the U.S. armed forces right now, right? Citizenship is not required for enlistment. This seems very weird to most Europeans, but it's how we've always done things: off the boat, into uniform.

We have also historically drafted noncitizens.

So please don't use that argument.
12.11.2007 2:40pm
Steve:
My parents recently attended a citizenship ceremony at which the citizens-to-be were expressly advised that their duty of loyalty to the USA would include fighting for our side in the event the USA went to war with their country of origin. I have no idea if that's part of the standard script or not.
12.11.2007 3:05pm
Naturalized Citizen:
To clarify a small point:
"...will also harm legal immigrants who hold dual citizenship."

This incorrect use of 'legal immigrant' to describe naturalized citizens is a bit offensive. Legal immigrants are lawful permanent residents residing in the US. Persons with 'dual citizenship' are by default naturalized citizens of the United States. Regardless of how a person became so, a naturalized citizens is as much a citizen as a native born citizen. I didn't wait all that time and go through such a long process to be categorized as a 'legal immigrant.'

Sincerely,
Your fellow United States Citizen.
12.11.2007 3:09pm
frankcross (mail):
How naive is the association of loyalty with citizenship? If there were no dual citizenship and Wen Ho Lee wanted to breach our security, he would have renounced his Taiwanese citizenship and become no more loyal. People become US citizens for purely financial reasons, unrelated to loyalty. Rupert Murdoch took US citizenship (Australia required him to renounce to do this) in order to enable greater media ownership. Not out of any sudden loyalty to the US. He may have later acquired Turkish citizenship and become a dual citizen, and I don't think that changed his loyalty level.

As voting criteria, I would put wisdom well above unilateral loyalty as important, but citizenship is hardly a good measure for loyalty to the US. Was Alger Hiss a dual citizen?
12.11.2007 3:43pm
vaduz (mail):
The Southwest (Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, at the least) will be going back to Mexico because we are too busy worshipping at the altar of diversity, mulitcultarlism, and all that jazz. I would put money it happens in our lifetime. Dual citzenship is just one tell tale sign this will transpire. Demographic trends are another.
12.11.2007 3:59pm
M.E.Butler (mail):

I take it you define a "hash of any intelligent discussion" as a discussion with those who disagree with you.


No, but demonizing those who have broken one or another of our immigration laws, or bloviating non-stop about broken borders or "invasion" or whining like Tancredo about having to "press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish" will not bring us any closer to a solution.

As to Steve's comment about his parents' natz ceremony--I don't think there is a standard script, but the Application for Naturalization does include the question "If the law requires it, are you willing to bear arms on behalf of the United States?" There's no reason to suspect that bearing arms against the new citizen's country of origin would be excluded.
12.11.2007 4:18pm
Frog Leg (mail):
The geographical divide in immigration is really interesting. I grew up in Texas, and so I always remember seeing signs in Spanish, immigrants, etc. People I know with that upbringing tend to be less concerned about the immigration issue. It seems to be much more of an issue among people who either live up North or those who moved from the North to states like Arizona, Texas, etc.
12.11.2007 4:26pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
I find the whole thing funny.

The Huck apparently cut and pasted his Immigration Policy from a Center for Immigration Studies website.

The courts have held that native born US citizens can be executed but not stripped of their citizenship (cruel and unusual punishment).

They've also held that the only way to renounce your citizenship is to do it very explicitly in front of a counsel abroad. If you're physically in the US, you can't do it.

Since we draft foreigners, US citizens would have to be allowed to be drafted overseas. Dual jeopardy issue as well.

If one of your four grandparents was born in Ireland, congratulations -- you're Irish.

I always wondered about the "enter the US on a foreign passport" rule since if you're a citizen they have to let you in eventually even w/o a passport. I know that if you have a unique name the La Migra computers will rat about your possession of a US passport if you present a foreign one at the border but what if you have a common name? I suppose they could become concerned if your foreign passport shows US birth but then US dual nationals born overseas with common names might be safe.

It is certainly convenient to be able to work anywhere in NAFTA (if you have a college degree) or the EU.
12.11.2007 4:34pm
Knucklehead (mail) (www):
Many thanks to Microtherion for actually pointing to US caselaw (including SCOTUS decisions) regarding the matter. It seems a reasonably well settled in US law that dual-citizenship perfectly legal (in the vast majority of cases) and not easily revoked.

For those interested in more information regarding US citizenship and dual citizenship, here is a reasonable site or you may search the US federal government's portal.
12.11.2007 4:56pm
MDJD2B (mail):

is not required for enlistment.


Not to serve in the armedforces, but to be commissioned as an officer.
12.11.2007 5:01pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Those are not the only instances of where dual citizenship presents a problem. But they are enough. One serious breach can change everything. Look at Klaus Fuchs, a UK national who spied for the USSR during his tenure at the Manhattan Project. While the USSR would have developed nuclear weapons eventually, it would not have done it so quickly after WWII. Their first nuclear test was essentially an exact duplicate of the Manhattan Project Design. That test had an enormous impact American diplomacy.
You do realize how nonsensical this anecdote is, right? You don't? If citizenship was the determinant of loyalty, then he wouldn't have spied for the USSR. This example contradicts your point. Fuchs' problem was that he wasn't loyal to the country of which he was a citizen; dual citizenship had precisely nothing to do with his espionage.

More recently Wen Ho Lee, a dual Chinese national, was involved in the biggest security breach in the history of the US nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately the FBI so screwed up the case he got off. He also get help form a network of Chinese dual nationals who provided money and political support.
Putting aside your guilty-until-proven-innocent attitude, this example again fails to prove your point. Wen Ho Lee was Taiwanese, not "Chinese." If he spied -- and the only thing he was convicted of was a trivial slap-on-the-wrist crime unrelated to espionage -- he didn't do it for his country of citizenship.
12.11.2007 5:22pm
Rhymes W. Right (mail) (www):
MDJD2B -- I was in no way saying that all American Jews are automatically Israeli citizens. I was simply being concise. You, on the other hand, are simply avoiding my point.
12.11.2007 7:49pm
Milhouse (www):

I do wonder what happens if you travel between countries and are found with two or more passports. Must make for some stressful times...

Not in the least. I keep both passports in the same folder, so when I take one out the person I'm showing it to usually sees the other. Sometimes they ask to see it, sometimes not.

I'm interested in the law that apparently requires me to use my American passport whenever I leave the United States. That's odd, since the USA, unlike many countries, has no exit formalities. When I leave the USA, the only person I have to show a passport to is the airline representative at the check-in counter. The airline has no need to see my USA passport; its only interest in seeing a passport at all is to make sure that the destination country will let me in, because if it doesn't the airline is going to have to fly me straight back, so it doesn't want to see the USA passport, it wants to see the one that will get me in to my destination country.

Now when I leave my other country of citizenship, which does have exit formalities, what I do is show the check-in person my USA passport, which is what will get me in to the USA, and then when I pass through passport control I show my foreign passport, which is what they want to see. If the USA had exit formalities that's what I would do on this end too; but it doesn't, so what does the quoted policy mean?
12.11.2007 8:06pm
MDJD2B (mail):

I was in no way saying that all American Jews are automatically Israeli citizens. I was simply being concise. You, on the other hand, are simply avoiding my point.


I wasn't clear about the point you are trying to make, and rereading your comment didn't help.

If your point was about what Huckabee would do or want to do about joint Israeli/US citizenship, I haven't the slightest idea. I don't think the question of Israeli/American dual citizens is high on his radar screen, though. He's not my first choice for president, for a lot of reasons. He seems not to think linearly about a lot of things. If I had some idea as to who advises him on national issues (besides God) I would have a better fix on what he is likely to do. As small-state governors go, he reminds me more of Jimmy Carter than of Bill Clinton. He strikes me as someone who has a very definite set of preconceptions, formed in association with a narrow band of humanity. He doesn't have a good feeling for the diversity of the nation, or of the world, and would be in deep water over his head as President in dealing with international issues.


If your point is about how people with dual Israeli/US are, should be, or would be treated, then I would say they should be treated exactly like other putative dual citizens, wherever that comes to fall.

If this comment hasn't responded to your point, tell me what I'm not responding to, and I'll try again.

The vast majority of these dual citizens, BTW, are Israelis who have come to the US, and not Americans who have gone the other way.
12.11.2007 8:21pm
Barry P. (mail):
Can somebody explain to me exactly what the phrase "loyal to a country" means?

To my mind, a person who makes a conscious choice to become a citizen of a country is demonstrating a greater degree of allegiance than somebody who was merely born there.

America would be a much poorer and more boring place if the nativists got their way. How much are they willing to give up for the privelige of self-immersion in homogeneity?
12.11.2007 9:36pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Aside from the fact that it appears that Wen-Ho Lee did not engage in espionage of any sort, even if he did it was fairly minor, by no means the "the biggest security breach in the history of the US nuclear weapons program". Even the discredited allegations were not comparable with, e.g., the Fuchs case.
12.11.2007 11:47pm
Vasos Panagiotopoulos (mail) (www):
I thought dual citisenship was by treaty, so I think he would have to
cancel the approximately ten dual citisenship treaties. There is a
different approach:

For all the problems with illegal immigration, I fear Green-carders
more. Illegal immigrants WANT to be here. Green-carders think it is beneath
them to apply for citisenship and look at becoming American with disdain. Yet
they stay for decades and never learn the language. That attitude of disdain
harbors terrorists more than illegals and it is the Green-carders who set up
and maintain anti-assimilationist institutions. The jet plane and the
satellite dish have changed the old paradigm of assimilation. I believe
Green Cards should be limited to seven years, unrenewably and require an
English test. It is ironic that this suggestion, what I see as "moderate"
reform, seems lost in the fog of the opposing extremes. But if you look at
how Giuliani's policing quality-of-life crimes reduced crime overall (because
they guy who littered also committed other crimes), you should suspect
Green-card reform would solve more problems in the long run. Don't think the
old granma housing illegals and teaching them to hate America is really as
harmless as she looks; Without her, the terrorists would be homeless and
perhaps uninspired and she is sneaking hate fliers into the prayerbooks in
the guise of cleaning them.

Then think of something else: is one Kerry/Blue voter worth two Bush/Red
voters? Well, congressional reapportionment doesn't just count citisens, it
also counts legal and illegal aliens. THey may not vote, but they are used
to weight the legislative vote. In fact, urban political machines play this
up by setting up unelected "neighborhood" organisations to herd immigrants,
delay their assimilation, but keep them vocal enough to frighten
conservatives into inaction. Lincoln objected that slave states could count
non-voting slaves as 3/5 a person to up their census count for
reapportionment. Well, today, illegal aliens count in the census for
reapportionment. The LiverHole DumbOClucks, ever since Andrew Jackson, have
been wise to this. This is why they fund "neighborhood action" groups for
every ethnic minority, to keep them from learning English, from becoming
citisens, from assimilating, from straying too far, but most importantly from
VOTING. See, if they become Americans, they just might have a mind of their
own and vote the rascals out.
12.12.2007 12:59am
Canadian Yankee:
Is he correct as a matter of law, or policy? Because it was my impression that the law barring dual citizenship was still on the books, merely not being enforced.


Nope. The Supreme Court has pretty consistently held for the past 75 years or so that prohibiting dual citizenship is unconstitutional (Afroyim v. Rusk is the pivotal one that found that prohibiting dual citizenship holders from voting in foreign elections is unconstitutional - sorry, Huck). They found that the 14th Amendment includes citizenship as a basic right of citizens that can not be taken away unless (1) the citizen deliberately and consciously renounces his allegiance to the US or (2) in cases where the citizen acts in such a way as to promote a severe conflict of interest (i.e., becomes a policy-maker in a foreign government).

What's really interesting is how hard it can sometimes be for some people to end their US citizenship even when they want to. The US is almost unique in the world (and certainly unique among industrialized nations) in requiring its citizens living abroad to file and pay income tax. The State Department has the policy that you can only lose your citizenship if you sincerely renounce it - and tax avoidance is not considered to be a sincere reason. Furthermore, the agency that gets to decide whether you are sincere or not is the IRS.

This is part of the backstory behind "fugitive financier Marc Rich" (remember him?). He left the US, became a Spanish citizen, and that citizenship ceremony included an oath of renunciation of foreign citizenships, much like the US's does. The IRS, however, said "nuh-uh" and claimed he was still liable for continuing tax assessments, and the courts agreed.
12.12.2007 2:23pm