Citizenship of the United States

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United States nationality confers the right to acquire a U.S. passport. The one shown above is a post-2007 issued passport. The passport is also a common identity document to prove citizenship. Us-passport.jpg
United States nationality confers the right to acquire a U.S. passport. The one shown above is a post-2007 issued passport. The passport is also a common identity document to prove citizenship.

Citizenship of the United States [2] [3] is a status that entails specific rights, duties and benefits. Citizenship is understood as a "right to have rights" since it serves as a foundation of fundamental rights derived from and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, such as the right to freedom of expression, vote, due process, live and work in the United States, and to receive federal assistance. [4] [5] The implementation of citizenship requires attitudes including allegiance to the republic, participation, and an impulse to promote communities. [6] Certain rights are so fundamental that they are guaranteed to all persons, not just citizens. These include those rights guaranteed by the first 8 Amendments that pertain to individuals. However, not all U.S. citizens, such as those living in Puerto Rico, have the right to vote in federal elections.

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.

Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.

Contents

There are two primary sources of citizenship: birthright citizenship, in which a person is presumed to be a citizen if he or she was born within the territorial limits of the United States, or—providing certain other requirements are met—born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent, [7] [8] and naturalization, a process in which an eligible legal immigrant applies for citizenship and is accepted. [9] These two pathways to citizenship are specified in the Citizenship Clause of the Constitution's 1868 Fourteenth Amendment which reads:

Birthright citizenship in the United States persons acquisition of United States citizenship by virtue of the circumstances of birth

Birthright citizenship in the United States is acquired by virtue of the circumstances of birth. It contrasts with citizenship acquired in other ways, for example by naturalization. Pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), U.S. citizenship is automatically granted to any person born within and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. This includes the territories of Puerto Rico, the Marianas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Birthright citizenship also applies to children born elsewhere in the world to U.S. citizens, known as jus sanguinis.

United States nationality law Law of American nationality and citizenship

The United States nationality law refers to the uniform rule of naturalization of the United States set out in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, enacted under the power of Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution, which grants the Congress the power to "establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization..." The 1952 Act sets forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of, and divestiture from, American nationality. The requirements have become more explicit since the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, with the most recent changes to the law having been made by Congress in 2001.

Citizenship Clause

The Citizenship Clause is the first sentence of Section 1 in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was adopted on July 9, 1868. It states that "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." This clause represented Congress's reversal of a portion of the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision which had declared that African Americans were not and could not become citizens of the United States or enjoy any of the privileges and immunities of citizenship.

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.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

14th Amendment

National citizenship signifies membership in the country as a whole; state citizenship, in contrast, signifies a relation between a person and a particular state and has application generally limited to domestic matters. State citizenship may affect (1) tax decisions and (2) eligibility for some state-provided benefits such as higher education and (3) eligibility for state political posts such as U.S. Senator.

Higher education in the United States education beyond high school

Higher education in the United States is an optional stage of formal learning following secondary education. Higher education, also referred to as post-secondary education, third-stage, third-level, or tertiary education occurs most commonly at one of the 4,360 Title IV degree-granting institutions, either colleges or universities in the country. These may be public universities, private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, or for-profit colleges. US higher education is loosely regulated by several third-party organizations varying in quality.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

In Article One of the Constitution, the power to establish a "uniform rule of naturalization" is granted explicitly to Congress.

Article One of the United States Constitution Portion of the US Constitution regarding Congress

Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the United States Congress. Under Article One, Congress is a bicameral legislature consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Article One grants Congress various enumerated powers and the ability to pass laws "necessary and proper" to carry out those powers. Article One also establishes the procedures for passing a bill and places various limits on the powers of Congress and the states.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

U.S. law permits multiple citizenship. A citizen of another country naturalized as a U.S. citizen may retain their previous citizenship, though they must renounce allegiance to the other country. A U.S. citizen retains U.S. citizenship when becoming the citizen of another country, should that country's laws allow it. U.S. citizenship can be renounced by Americans who also hold another citizenship via a formal procedure at a U.S. Embassy, [10] [11] and it can also be restored. [12]

An allegiance is a duty of fidelity said to be owed, or freely committed, by the people, subjects or citizens to their state or sovereign.

Relinquishment of United States nationality

Relinquishment of United States nationality is the process under federal law by which a U.S. citizen or national voluntarily and intentionally gives up that status and becomes an alien with respect to the United States. In U.S. law, renunciation of United States citizenship is a legal term encompassing two specific procedures for giving up U.S. citizenship by swearing an oath of renunciation before a designated U.S. government official, but there are five other acts by which an American may give up U.S. citizenship as well, and "relinquishment of citizenship" rather than "renunciation of citizenship" is the term which encompasses all seven acts. Relinquishment is distinct from denaturalization, which in U.S. law refers solely to cancellation of illegally procured naturalization.

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Rights, duties, and benefits

Rights

The U.S. military has been an all-volunteer force since the end of the Vietnam War, but male U.S. citizens and non-citizens are still required to register for the military draft within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Army.afnews.jpg
The U.S. military has been an all-volunteer force since the end of the Vietnam War, but male U.S. citizens and non-citizens are still required to register for the military draft within 30 days of their 18th birthday.

Duties

U.S. citizens may be summoned to serve on a jury. Jury summons.jpg
U.S. citizens may be summoned to serve on a jury.
Citizens are required to file U.S. taxes even if they do not live in the U.S. Form 1040, 2005.jpg
Citizens are required to file U.S. taxes even if they do not live in the U.S.

Benefits

Civic participation

Civic participation is not required in the United States. There is no requirement to attend town meetings, belong to a political party, or vote in elections. However, a benefit of naturalization is the ability to "participate fully in the civic life of the country". [17] Moreover, to be a citizen means to be vitally important to politics and not ignored. [22] There is disagreement about whether popular lack of involvement in politics is helpful or harmful.

Vanderbilt professor Dana D. Nelson suggests that most Americans merely vote for president every four years, and sees this pattern as undemocratic. In her book Bad for Democracy , Nelson argues that declining citizen participation in politics is unhealthy for long term prospects for democracy.

However, writers such as Robert D. Kaplan in The Atlantic see benefits to non-involvement; he wrote "the very indifference of most people allows for a calm and healthy political climate". [23] Kaplan elaborated: "Apathy, after all, often means that the political situation is healthy enough to be ignored. The last thing America needs is more voters—particularly badly educated and alienated ones—with a passion for politics." [23] He argued that civic participation, in itself, is not always a sufficient condition to bring good outcomes, and pointed to authoritarian societies such as Singapore which prospered because it had "relative safety from corruption, from breach of contract, from property expropriation, and from bureaucratic inefficiency". [24]

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship means persons can travel with two passports. Both the United States and Nicaragua permit dual citizenship. Dual Citizenship, Two Passports.jpg
Dual citizenship means persons can travel with two passports. Both the United States and Nicaragua permit dual citizenship.

A person who is considered a citizen by more than one nation has dual citizenship . It is possible for a United States citizen to have dual citizenship; this can be achieved in various ways, such as by birth in the United States to a parent who is a citizen of a foreign country (or in certain circumstances the foreign nationality may be transmitted even by a grandparent) by birth in another country to a parent(s) who is/are a United States citizen/s, or by having parents who are citizens of different countries. Anyone who becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen is required to renounce any prior "allegiance" to other countries during the naturalization ceremony; [25] however, this renunciation of allegiance is generally not considered[ clarification needed ] renunciation of citizenship to those countries. [26] [ not in citation given ]

The earliest recorded instances of dual citizenship began before the French Revolution when the British captured American ships and forced them back to Europe. The British Crown considered subjects from the United States as British by birth and forced them to fight in the Napoleonic wars. [27]

Under certain circumstances there are relevant distinctions between dual citizens who hold a "substantial contact" with a country, for example by holding a passport or by residing in the country for a certain period of time, and those who do not. For example, under the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act of 2008, U.S. citizens in general are subject to an expatriation tax if they give up U.S. citizenship, but there are exceptions (specifically 26 U.S.C.   § 877A(g)(1)(b) ) for those who are either under age 18½ upon giving up U.S. citizenship and have lived in the U.S. for less than ten years in their lives, or who are dual citizens by birth residing in their other country of citizenship at the time of giving up U.S. citizenship and have lived in the U.S. for less than ten out of the past fifteen years. [28] Similarly, the United States considers holders of a foreign passport to have a substantial contact with the country that issued the passport, which may preclude security clearance.

U.S. citizens are required by federal law to identify themselves with a U.S. passport, not with any other foreign passport, when entering or leaving the United States. [29] The Supreme Court case of Afroyim v. Rusk declared that a U.S. citizen did not lose his citizenship by voting in an election in a foreign country, or by acquiring foreign citizenship, if they did not intend to lose U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizens who have dual citizenship do not lose their United States citizenship unless they renounce it officially. [30]

History of citizenship in the United States

A Welcome to U.S.A. Citizenship - Pub. M-76 (rev. 09/1970) A-Welcome-to-USA-Citizenship-USGPO-Pub-M-76-1970.pdf
A Welcome to U.S.A. Citizenship - Pub. M-76 (rev. 09/1970)

Citizenship began in colonial times as an active relation between men working cooperatively to solve municipal problems and participating actively in democratic decision-making, such as in New England town hall meetings. Men met regularly to discuss local affairs and make decisions. These town meetings were described as the "earliest form of American democracy" [31] which was vital since citizen participation in public affairs helped keep democracy "sturdy", according to Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835. [32] A variety of forces changed this relation during the nation's history. Citizenship became less defined by participation in politics and more defined as a legal relation with accompanying rights and privileges. While the realm of civic participation in the public sphere has shrunk, [33] [34] [35] the citizenship franchise has been expanded to include not just propertied white adult men but black men [36] and adult women. [37]

Earlier on, U.S. citizenship was not given to people of Indian or East Asian descent. A. K. Mozumdar was the first person born in the Indian sub-continent to attain U.S. citizenship. A few years earlier, as a result of the 1898 United States v. Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court decision, ethnic Chinese born in the United States became citizens. During World War II, due to Japan's heavy involvement as an aggressor, it was decided to restrict many Japanese citizens from applying for U.S. citizenship, while Chinese citizens encountered no trouble, because of China's alliance with the United States.

The Equal Nationality Act of 1934 was an American law which allowed foreign-born children of American mothers and alien fathers who had entered America before age 18 and lived in America for five years to apply for American citizenship for the first time. [38] It also made the naturalization process quicker for American women's alien husbands. [38] This law equalized expatriation, immigration, naturalization, and repatriation between women and men. [38] [39] However, it was not applied retroactively, and was modified by later laws, such as the Nationality Act of 1940. [38] [40]

Birthright citizenship

U.S. citizenship is usually acquired by birth when a child is born in the territory of the United States. In addition to U.S. states, this includes the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. [41] [42] [43] Citizenship, however, was not specified in the original Constitution. In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment specifically defined persons who were either born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction as citizens. [44] [45] All babies born in the United States—except those born to enemy aliens in wartime or the children of foreign diplomats—enjoy U.S. citizenship under the Supreme Court's long-standing interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. [46] The amendment states: "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." [47] There remains dispute as to who is "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States at birth. [48]

By acts of Congress, every person born in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands is a United States citizen by birth. [49] Also, every person born in the former Panama Canal Zone whose father or mother (or both) are or were a citizen is a United States citizen by birth. [50]

Regardless of where they are born, children of U.S. citizens are U.S. citizens in most cases. Children born outside the United States with at least one U.S. citizen parent usually have birthright citizenship by parentage.

A child of unknown parentage found in the US while under the age of 5 is considered a US citizen until proven, before reaching the age of 22, to have not been born in the US. [51]

While persons born in the United States are considered to be citizens and can have passports, children under age eighteen are legally considered to be minors and cannot vote or hold office. Upon the event of their eighteenth birthday, they are considered full citizens but there is no ceremony acknowledging this relation or any correspondence between the new citizen and the government to this effect. Citizenship is assumed to exist, and the relation is assumed to remain viable until death or until it is renounced or dissolved by some other legal process. Secondary schools teach the basics of citizenship and create "informed and responsible citizens" who are "skilled in the arts of effective deliberation and action." [52]

Americans who live in foreign countries and become members of other governments have, in some instances, been stripped of citizenship, although there have been court cases where decisions regarding citizenship have been reversed. [53]

Naturalized citizenship

Acts of Congress provide for acquisition of citizenship by persons born abroad. [54]

Agency in charge

Albert Einstein received his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman. Albert Einstein citizenship NYWTS.jpg
Albert Einstein received his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman.

The agency in charge of admitting new citizens is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, commonly abbreviated as USCIS. [55] It is a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security. It offers web-based services. [56] The agency depends on application fees for revenue; in 2009, with a struggling economy, applications were down sharply, and consequently there was much less revenue to upgrade and streamline services. [56] There was speculation that if the administration of president Barack Obama passed immigration reform measures, then the agency could face a "welcome but overwhelming surge of Americans-in-waiting" and longer processing times for citizenship applications. [56] The USCIS has made efforts to digitize records. [57] A USCIS website says the "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is committed to offering the best possible service to you, our customer" [58] and which says "With our focus on customer service, we offer you a variety of services both before and after you file your case." [58] The website allowed applicants to estimate the length of time required to process specific types of cases, to check application status, and to access a customer guide. [58] The USCIS processes cases in the order they're received. [58]

Pathways to citizenship

Military service is often a key to citizenship; here, a U.S. Navy sailor receives his certificate of United States citizenship from the commander of the USS George Washington. US Navy 060614-N-1045B-044 Aviation Machinist's Mate Elmer Rayos, right, receives his certificate of United States citizenship from USS George Washington (CVN 73) commanding officer.jpg
Military service is often a key to citizenship; here, a U.S. Navy sailor receives his certificate of United States citizenship from the commander of the USS George Washington.

People applying to become citizens must satisfy certain requirements. For example, there have been requirements that applicants have been permanent residents for five years (three if married to a U.S. citizen), be of "good moral character" (meaning no felony convictions), be of "sound mind" in the judgment of immigration officials, have knowledge of the Constitution, and be able to speak and understand English unless they are elderly or disabled. [59] Applicants must also pass a simple citizenship test. [59] Up until recently, a test published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service asked questions such as "How many stars are there in our flag?" and "What is the Constitution?" and "Who is the president of the United States today?" [59] At one point, the Government Printing Office sold flashcards for $8.50 to help test takers prepare for the test. [60] In 2006, the government replaced the former trivia test with a ten-question oral test designed to "shun simple historical facts about America that can be recounted in a few words, for more explanation about the principles of American democracy, such as freedom". [55] One reviewer described the new citizenship test as "thoughtful". [56] While some have criticized the new version of the test, officials counter that the new test is a "teachable moment" without making it conceptually more difficult, since the list of possible questions and answers, as before, will be publicly available. [55] Six correct answers constitutes a passing grade. [55] The new test probes for signs that immigrants "understand and share American values". [55] A unique way to become a permanent resident is to apply to the US government DV lottery. This program is a drawing for foreigners to apply for a drawing to become a permanent resident. [61]

Strong demand

According to a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, "citizenship is a very, very valuable commodity". [70] However, one study suggested legal residents eligible for citizenship, but who don't apply, tend to have low incomes (41 percent), do not speak English well (60 percent), or have low levels of education (25 percent). [17] There is strong demand for citizenship based on the number of applications filed. [70] From 1920 to 1940, the number of immigrants to the United States who became citizens numbered about 200,000 each year; there was a spike after World War II, and then the level reduced to about 150,000 per year until resuming to the 200,000 level beginning about 1980. [71] In the mid-1990s to 2009, the levels rose to about 500,000 per year with considerable variation. [71] In 1996, more than one million people became citizens through naturalization. [72] In 1997, there were 1.41 million applications filed; in 2006, 1.38 million. [70] The number of naturalized citizens in the United States rose from 6.5 million in the mid-1990s to 11 million in 2002. [73] By 2003, the pool of immigrants eligible to become naturalized citizens was 8 million, and of these, 2.7 million lived in California. [73] In 2003, the number of new citizens from naturalization was 463,204. [19] In 2007, the number was 702,589. [19] In 2007, 1.38 million people applied for citizenship creating a backlog. [70] In 2008, applications decreased to 525,786. [70]

Naturalization fees were $60 in 1989; $90 in 1991; $95 in 1994; $225 in 1999; $260 in 2002; $320 in 2003; $330 in 2005. [74] In 2007 application fees were increased from $330 to $595 and an additional $80 computerized fingerprinting fee was added. [70] The biometrics fee was increased to $85 in 2010. On December 23, 2016, the application fees were increased again from $595 to $640. The high fees have been criticized as putting up one more wall to citizenship. [55] Increases in fees for citizenship have drawn criticism. [75] Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and former Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner, doubted that fee increases deter citizenship-seekers. [70] In 2009, the number of immigrants applying for citizenship plunged 62 percent; reasons cited were the slowing economy and the cost of naturalization. [70]

Citizenship ceremonies

December 21, 1973 Congress Hall Program and Welcome Letter from Pres. Richard Nixon Naturalization-Ceremonies-Philadelphia-Dec-21-1973.pdf
December 21, 1973 Congress Hall Program and Welcome Letter from Pres. Richard Nixon

The citizenship process has been described as a ritual that is meaningful for many immigrants. [55] Many new citizens are sworn in during Independence Day ceremonies. [19] Most citizenship ceremonies take place at offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, one swearing-in ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in 2008. The judge who chose this venue explained: "I did it to honor our country's warriors and to give the new citizens a sense for what makes this country great." [76] According to federal law, citizenship applicants who are also changing their names must appear before a federal judge. [76]

Honorary citizenship

Polish Count Kazimierz Pulaski was awarded with the honorary distinction of citizen 230 years after he fought and died in the Revolutionary War. Obraz Pulaski.JPG
Polish Count Kazimierz Pulaski was awarded with the honorary distinction of citizen 230 years after he fought and died in the Revolutionary War.

The title of "Honorary Citizen of the United States" has been granted eight times by an act of Congress or by a proclamation issued by the President pursuant to authorization granted by Congress. The eight individuals are Sir Winston Churchill, Raoul Wallenberg, William Penn, Hannah Callowhill Penn, Mother Teresa, the Marquis de Lafayette, Casimir Pulaski, and Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Viscount of Galveston and Count of Gálvez.

Sometimes, the government awarded non-citizen immigrants who died fighting for American forces with the posthumous title of U.S. citizen, but this is not considered honorary citizenship. [64] In June 2003, Congress approved legislation to help families of fallen non-citizen soldiers. [64]

Corporate citizenship

There is a sense in which corporations can be considered "citizens". Since corporations are considered persons in the eyes of the law, it is possible to think of corporations as being like citizens. For example, the airline Virgin America asked the United States Department of Transportation to be treated as an American air carrier. [77] The advantage of "citizenship" is having the protection and support of the United States government when jockeying with foreign governments for access to air routes and overseas airports. [77] Alaska Airlines, a competitor of Virgin America, asked for a review of the situation; according to U.S. law, "foreign ownership in a U.S. air carrier is limited to 25% of the voting interest in the carrier," but executives at Virgin America insisted the airline met this requirement. [77]

For the purposes of diversity jurisdiction in the United States civil procedure, corporate citizenship is determined by the principal place of business of the corporation. There is some degree of disagreement among legal authorities as to how exactly this may be determined.[ citation needed ]

Another sense of "corporate citizenship" is a way to show support for causes such as social issues and the environment and, indirectly, gain a kind of "reputational advantage". [78]

Distinction between citizenship and nationality

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) made a minor distinction between U.S. citizenship and U.S. nationality. [79] Citizenship comprises a larger set of privileges and rights for those persons that are U.S. citizens which is not afforded to individuals that are only U.S. nationals by virtue of their rights under the INA. [80] It is well-established that all U.S. citizens are U.S. nationals but not all U.S. nationals are U.S. citizens. [79]

The Naturalization Act of 1790 (1  Stat.   103) provided the first rules to be followed by the United States in the granting of national citizenship after the ratification of the Constitution. [81] A number of other Acts and statutes followed the Act of 1790 that expanded or addressed specific situations but it was not until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Pub.L.   82–414 , 66  Stat.   163 , enacted June 27, 1952), codified under Title 8 of the United States Code (8 U.S.C. ch. 12), that the variety of statutes governing citizenship law were organized within one single body of text. [82] The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 set forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of American nationality. The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) addressed citizenship rights. The United States nationality law, despite its "nationality" title, comprises the statues that embody the law regarding both American citizenship and American nationality.

For example, as specified in 8 U.S.C.   § 1408, a person whose only connection to the U.S. is through birth in an outlying possession (which, as of March 2015, was defined under 8 U.S.C.   § 1101(a)(29) as American Samoa and Swains Island), or through descent from a person so born, acquires only U.S. nationality but not U.S. citizenship. Such person is said to be a non-citizen national of the United States.

American Samoans continue to be U.S. nationals but not U.S. citizens. [83] People born in American Samoa receive passports declaring the holder is only a U.S. national, not a U.S. citizen. For an America Samoan to become a U.S. citizen, he or she must relocate to another part of the United States, initiate the naturalization process, pay the $680 fee (as of February 11, 2014), pass a good moral character assessment, be fingerprinted and pass an English/civics examination. [84]

In addition, residents of the Northern Mariana Islands who automatically gained U.S. citizenship in 1986 as a result of the Covenant between the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. could elect to become U.S. noncitizen nationals within 6 months of the implementation of the Covenant or within 6 months of turning 18. [85]

The nationality status of a person born in an unincorporated U.S. Minor Outlying Island is not specifically mentioned by law, but under international law and Supreme Court dicta, they are also regarded as non-citizen nationals of the United States. [86]

Non-citizen nationals of the United States may reside and work in the United States without restrictions, and may apply for U.S. citizenship under the same rules as permanent U.S. residents. Both of these groups are not allowed to vote in federal or state elections, although there is no constitutional prohibition against their doing so. Every national of the United States statutorily transmits nationality to children born outside the United States. [87] [88]

The U.S. passport issued to noncitizen nationals of the United States contains the endorsement code 9 which states: "The bearer is a United States national and not a United States citizen" on the annotations page. [89]

Controversies

The issue of citizenship naturalization is a highly contentious matter in US politics, particularly regarding illegal immigrants. Candidates in the 2008 presidential election, such as Rudolph Giuliani, tried to "carve out a middle ground" on the issue of illegal immigration, but rivals such as John McCain advocated legislation requiring illegal immigrants to first leave the country before being eligible to apply as citizens. [90] Some measures to require proof of citizenship upon registering to vote have met with controversy. [91]

Issues such as whether to include questions about current citizenship status in census questions have been debated in the Senate. [59] Generally, there tends to be controversy when citizenship affects political issues. For example, issues such as asking questions about citizenship on the United States Census tend to cause controversy. [92] Census data affects state electoral clout; it also affects budgetary allocations. [92] Including non-citizens in Census counts also shifts political power to states that have large numbers of non-citizens due to the fact that reapportionment of congressional seats is based on Census data. [93]

There have been controversies based on speculation about which way newly naturalized citizens are likely to vote. Since immigrants from many countries have been presumed to vote Democratic if naturalized, there have been efforts by Democratic administrations to streamline citizenship applications before elections to increase turnout; Republicans, in contrast, have exerted pressure to slow down the process. [94] In 1997, there were efforts to strip the citizenship of 5,000 newly approved immigrants who, it was thought, had been "wrongly naturalized"; a legal effort to do this presented enormous challenges. [94] An examination by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of 1.1 million people who were granted citizenship from September 1995 to September 1996 found 4,946 cases in which a criminal arrest should have disqualified an applicant or in which an applicant lied about his or her criminal history. [94] Before the 2008 election, there was controversy about the speed of the USCIS in processing applications; one report suggested that the agency would complete 930,000 applications in time for the newly processed citizens to vote in the November 2008 election. [95] Foreign-born naturalized citizens tend to vote at the same rates as natives. For example, in the state of New Jersey in the 2008 election, the foreign born represented 20.1% of the state's population of 8,754,560; of these, 636,000 were eighteen or older and hence eligible to vote; of eligible voters, 396,000 actually voted, which was about 62%. [96] So foreign-born citizens vote in roughly the same proportion (62%) as native citizens (67%). [96]

There has been controversy about the agency in charge of citizenship. The USCIS has been criticized as being a "notoriously surly, inattentive bureaucracy" with long backlogs in which "would-be citizens spent years waiting for paperwork". [56] Rules made by Congress and the federal government regarding citizenship are highly technical and often confusing, and the agency is forced to cope with enforcement within a complex regulatory milieu. There have been instances in which applicants for citizenship have been deported on technicalities. [97] One Pennsylvania doctor and his wife, both from the Philippines, who applied for citizenship, and one Mr. Darnell from Canada who was married to an American with two children from this marriage, ran afoul of legal technicalities and faced deportation. [97] The New York Times reported that "Mr. Darnell discovered that a 10-year-old conviction for domestic violence involving a former girlfriend, even though it had been reduced to a misdemeanor and erased from his public record, made him ineligible to become a citizen—or even to continue living in the United States." [97] Overworked federal examiners under pressure to make "quick decisions" as well as "weed out security risks" have been described as preferring "to err on the side of rejection". [97] In 2000, 399,670 applications were denied (about 13 of all applications); in 2007, 89,683 applications for naturalization were denied, about 12% of those presented. [97]

Generally, eligibility for citizenship is denied for the millions of people living in the United States illegally, although from time to time, there have been amnesties. In 2006, there were mass protests numbering hundreds of thousands of people throughout the US demanding U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants. [98] Many carried banners which read "We Have A Dream Too". [98] One estimate is that there are 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. in 2006. [98] There are many American high school students with citizenship issues. [99] In 2008, it was estimated that there were 65,000 illegal immigrant students. [99] The number was less clear for post-secondary education.[ citation needed ] A 1982 Supreme Court decision entitled illegal immigrants to free education from kindergarten through high school. [99] Undocumented immigrants who get arrested face difficulties in the courtroom as they have no constitutional right to challenge the outcome of their deportation hearings. [100] In 2009, writer Tom Barry of the Boston Review criticized the crackdown against illegal immigrants since it "flooded the federal courts with nonviolent offenders, besieged poor communities, and dramatically increased the U.S. prison population, while doing little to solve the problem itself". [101] Barry criticized the United States' high incarceration rate as being "fives times greater than the average rate in the rest of the world". [101] Virginia Senator Jim Webb agreed that "we are doing something dramatically wrong in our criminal justice system". [101]

Relinquishment of citizenship

Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States, issued by the United States Embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay. According to the document, the subject had acquired no other nationality at the time of issuance; hence leaving him stateless. Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States.jpg
Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States, issued by the United States Embassy in Asunción, Paraguay. According to the document, the subject had acquired no other nationality at the time of issuance; hence leaving him stateless.

U.S. citizens can relinquish their citizenship, which involves abandoning the right to reside in the United States and all the other rights and responsibilities of citizenship. [102] "Relinquishment" is the legal term covering all seven different potentially-expatriating acts (ways of giving up citizenship) under 8 U.S.C.   § 1481(a) . "Renunciation" refers to two of those acts: swearing an oath of renunciation before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer abroad, or before an official designated by the Attorney General within the United States during a state of war. [103] Out of an estimated three to six million U.S. citizens residing abroad, between five and six thousand relinquished citizenship each year in 2015 and 2016. [104] U.S. nationality law treats people who performs potentially-expatriating acts with intent to give up U.S. citizenship as ceasing to be U.S. citizens from the moment of the act, but U.S. tax law since 2004 treats such individuals as though they remain U.S. citizens until they notify the State Department and apply for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN). [105]

Renunciation requires an oath to be sworn before a State Department officer and thus involves in-person attendance at an embassy or consulate, but applicants for CLNs on the basis of other potentially-expatriating acts must attend an in-person interview as well. During the interview, a State Department official assesses whether the person acted voluntarily, intended to abandon all rights of U.S. citizenship, and understands the consequences of their actions. The State Department strongly recommends that Americans intending to relinquish citizenship have another citizenship, but will permit Americans to make themselves stateless if they understand the consequences. [103] There is a $2,350 administrative fee for the process. [106] In addition, an expatriation tax is imposed on some individuals relinquishing citizenship, but payment of the tax is not a legal prerequisite for relinquishing citizenship; rather, the tax and its associated forms are due on the normal tax due date of the year following relinquishment of citizenship. [107] State Department officials do not seek to obtain any tax information from the interviewee, and instruct the interviewee to contact the IRS directly with any questions about taxes. [108]

See also

Related Research Articles

Naturalization process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country

Naturalization is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It may be done automatically by a statute, i.e., without any effort on the part of the individual, or it may involve an application or a motion and approval by legal authorities. The rules of naturalization vary from country to country but typically include a promise to obeying and upholding that country's laws, taking and subscribing to the oath of allegiance, and may specify other requirements such as a minimum legal residency and adequate knowledge of the national dominant language or culture. To counter multiple citizenship, most countries require that applicants for naturalization renounce any other citizenship that they currently hold, but whether this renunciation actually causes loss of original citizenship, as seen by the host country and by the original country, will depend on the laws of the countries involved.

Jus sanguinis is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth but by having one or both parents who are citizens of the state. Children at birth may automatically be citizens if their parents have state citizenship or national identities of ethnic, cultural, or other origins. Citizenship can also apply to children whose parents belong to a diaspora and were not themselves citizens of the state conferring citizenship. This principle contrasts with jus soli.

Immigration and Naturalization Service former immigration service of the United States

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor from 1933 to 1940 and the U.S. Department of Justice from 1940 to 2003.

Lawful permanent residents (United States) lawful permanent residency in the USA

Lawful permanent residents, also known as legal permanent residents, and informally known as green card holders, are immigrants under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), with rights, benefits, and privileges to reside in the United States permanently. There are an estimated 13.2 million green card holders of whom 8.9 million are eligible for citizenship of the United States. Approximately 65,000 of them serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Canadian nationality law

Canadian nationality law is promulgated by the Citizenship Act since 1977. The Act determines who is, or is eligible to be, a citizen of Canada. The Act replaced the previous Canadian Citizenship Act in 1977 and has gone through four significant amendments, in 2007, 2009, 2015 and 2017.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 American immigration law

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, also known as the McCarran–Walter Act, codified under Title 8 of the United States Code, governs immigration to and citizenship in the United States. It has been in effect since June 27, 1952. Before this Act, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized within one body of text.

In law, an alien is a person who is not a citizen or national of a given country, though definitions and terminology differ to some degree depending on the continent or region of the world. The term "alien" basically means a foreign national.

Oath of Allegiance (United States)

The Oath of Allegiance of the United States is the official oath of allegiance that must be taken and subscribed by every lawful permanent resident (LPR) who wishes to become a national of the United States (American). The only LPR who cannot take this oath of allegiance is one who is "removable" from the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Barbadian nationality law

The Barbadian nationality law is governed by both the Barbados Citizenship Act and the Barbados Constitution.

A K-1 visa is a visa issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a United States citizen to enter the United States. A K-1 visa requires a foreigner to marry his or her U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entry, or depart the United States. Once the couple marries, the foreign citizen can adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Although a K-1 visa is legally classified as a non-immigrant visa, it usually leads to important immigration benefits and is therefore often processed by the Immigrant Visa section of United States embassies and consulates worldwide.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that administers the country's naturalization and immigration system. It is a successor to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which was dissolved by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and replaced by three components within the DHS: USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

This is the history of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States. Immigration is distinct from naturalization. For the first century of the United States' history, immigration to the country was unrestricted. Anyone could move into the United States, start a new life, pay taxes, participate in military service and conduct business. However, while the United States had an "open-borders" policy for the first century of its existence, it had very clear naturalization laws from the first years of its existence. Anyone who wanted to vote or hold elective office had to be naturalized. That is, anyone could immigrate in, but only those who went through the naturalization process and became a citizen could vote or hold elective office.

The Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security under the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans.

EB-2 is an immigrant visa preference category for United States employment-based permanent residency, created by the Immigration Act of 1990. The category includes "members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent", and "individuals who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, and whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States". Applicants must generally have an approved labor certification, a job offer, and their employer must have filed an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with the USCIS.

Multiple citizenship, dual citizenship, multiple nationality or dual nationality, is a person's citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. Conceptually, citizenship is focused on the internal political life of the state and nationality is a matter of international dealings.

The nationality law of the Federated States of Micronesia determines who is or may become a citizen or national of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Article III of the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia provides the basis for nationality law, while specific provisions are elaborated in 7 FSMC § 201 et seq.

Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements

Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) is a program managed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). SAVE facilitates lookups on the immigration and nationality status of individuals in the United States. It is an intergovernmental initiative designed to help federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies, or by a contractor acting on the agency's behalf, to determine eligibility for benefits, licenses or grants, government credentials, or to conduct background investigations. It is one of two programs that uses the Verification Information System (VIS). The other program is the Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification Program, also known as E-Verify, and is used by employers to verify the immigration status of employees. For additional verification, SAVE relies on the Person Centric Query System (PCQS).

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  76. 1 2 Jerry Markon (June 12, 2008). "Judge Offers Lesson In U.S. Citizenship". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2009. Ellis had moved his Alexandria courtroom to Arlington National Cemetery to swear in immigrants from more than 30 countries as U.S. citizens, the first time a naturalization ceremony was held on the hallowed grounds in the cemetery's 144-year history. He wanted to impress upon the new citizens the sacrifices made for their freedom.
  77. 1 2 3 Harry R. Weber (September 4, 2009). "Virgin America to DOT: Dismiss citizenship challenge". USA Today. Retrieved November 19, 2009. Privately held air carrier Virgin America asked the Department of Transportation on Thursday to deny Alaska Airlines' repeated challenges to its U.S. citizenship status and close the case.
  78. Business Wire (September 23, 2009). "In Depth of Recession, American Business Confirm Value of Corporate Citizenship; Focus on Sustainable Products and Workforce Development, New Survey Shows". Reuters. Retrieved November 19, 2009. The 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship survey results reveal that, despite the recession, corporate citizenship practices are ingrained in increasing numbers of American businesses. Many business leaders report that attention to corporate citizenship efforts is more important in a recession.
  79. 1 2 8 U.S.C.   § 1101(a)(22) ("The term 'national of the United States' means (A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States."); Miller v. Albright , 523 U.S. 420, 423-24 (1998) ("Persons not born in the United States acquire [U.S. citizenship or American nationality] by birth only as provided by Acts of Congress."); Jaen v. Sessions, ___ F.3d ___, No. 17-1512 (2d Cir. Aug. 13, 2018) (case involving a U.S. citizen in removal proceedings); Anderson v. Holder, 673 F.3d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 2012) (same); Ricketts v. Attorney General of the United States, ___ F.3d ___, ___, No. 16-3182, p.5 note 3 (3d Cir. July 30, 2018) ("Citizenship and nationality are not synonymous. While all citizens are nationals, not all nationals are citizens."); Mohammadi v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 782 F.3d 9, 15 (D.C. Cir. 2015) ("The sole such statutory provision that presently confers United States nationality upon non-citizens is 8 U.S.C.   § 1408."); see also 8 U.S.C.   § 1436 ("Nationals but not citizens; residence within outlying possessions").
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  83. Tuaua v. United States, 788 F.3d 300, 301-02 (D.C. Cir. 2015) ("The judgment of the district court is affirmed; the Citizenship Clause does not extend birthright citizenship to those born in American Samoa.").
  84. Should American Samoans be citizens? Danny Cevallos. CNN. February 11, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  85. 8 FAM 302.6 Acquisition by Birth in The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands . U.S. Department of State. 8 FAM 302.6-8 CNMI Applicants Claiming National Status. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  86. 8 FAM 302.1 Historical Background to Acquisition by Birth in U.S. Territories and Possessions U.S. Department of State. 8 FAM 302.1-3(C) Status of Inhabitants of Territories Not Mentioned in the Immigration and Nationality Act(INA). Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  87. 8 U.S.C.   § 1408(4) ("Unless otherwise provided in section 1401 of this title, the following shall be nationals, but not citizens, of the United States at birth: ... (4) A person born outside the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a national, but not a citizen, of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than seven years in any continuous period of ten years—(A) during which the national parent was not outside the United States or its outlying possessions for a continuous period of more than one year, and (B) at least five years of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.") (emphasis added); Alabama v. Bozeman , 533 U.S. 146, 153 (2001) ("The word 'shall' is ordinarily the language of command.") (internal quotation marks omitted).
  88. 8 FAM 302.8 Acquisition by Birth Abroad to Non-Citizen U.S. National Parent(s). Foreign Affairs Manual. U.S. Department of State.
  89. 8 FAM 505.2 Passport Endorsements 8 FAM 505.2-2 List of Current endorsements. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  90. "Giuliani Sidesteps Whether Illegals Should Get Citizenship Without First Leaving U.S." ABC News. March 23, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2009. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani sidestepped whether he supports giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship without first requiring them to leave the country while campaigning Thursday in the Washington, D.C. area.
  91. Ian Urbina (May 12, 2008). "Voter ID Battle Shifts to Proof of Citizenship". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2009. The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote.
  92. 1 2 Ed O'Keefe (November 19, 2009). "Eye Opener: Citizenship and the Census". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2009. Happy Friday! Should the 2010 Census account for a person's citizenship status? At least two Republican lawmakers think so, arguing the forthcoming Congressional reapportionment should not be swayed by illegal immigrants, who whose numbers will give more seats to certain states.
  93. Census Nonsense, Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2010; see also, Steve Camarota, Remaking the Political Landscape: The Impact of Illegal and Legal Immigration on Congressional Apportionment Center for Immigration Studies, October 2003.
  94. 1 2 3 Eric Schmitt (May 24, 1997). "U.S. Is Seeking To Strip 5,000 Of Citizenship". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2009. The Clinton Administration will seek to strip the citizenship of nearly 5,000 immigrants who were wrongly naturalized in an immigration drive last year, Federal officials said today.
  95. Julia Preston (March 15, 2008). "Goal Set for Reducing Backlog on Citizenship Applications". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2009. Immigration officials said on Friday that they expected to complete about 930,000 citizenship applications in the fiscal year ending September 30, reducing a huge backlog in a time frame that would allow many new citizens to register to vote in the November elections.
  96. 1 2 "Role of Foreign-born Voters in Election". mpI Migration Policy Institute. November 20, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2009. Note: click on "New Jersey" MPI election profiles for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, examining voter registration by nativity, providing breakdowns for foreign-born citizens as a share of total state population, and detailing their turnout in the 2004 general election, and by ethnicity.
  97. 1 2 3 4 5 Julia Preston (April 12, 2008). "Perfectly Legal Immigrants, Until They Applied for Citizenship". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2009. Dr. Pedro Servano always believed that his journey from his native Philippines to the life of a community doctor in Pennsylvania would lead to American citizenship.
  98. 1 2 3 Laura Parker (April 11, 2006). "Immigrants, backers demand citizenship". USA Today. Retrieved November 19, 2009. Hundreds of thousands of people demanding U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants took to the streets in dozens of cities from New York to San Diego on Monday in some of the most widespread demonstrations since the mass protests began around the country last month.
  99. 1 2 3 Eddy Ramírez (August 7, 2008). "Should Colleges Enroll Illegal Immigrants?". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 19, 2009. A native of Poland, she has resided in the United States unlawfully for most of her 21 years. Unless federal immigration laws change and allow undocumented students like her to become legal residents, she won't be able to put her degree to use and work as an American engineer.
  100. Dan Slater (January 9, 2009). "Mukasey Limits Ineffective Assistance Challenge for Aliens". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 16, 2009. On Wednesday, Michael Mukasey ruled that aliens have no constitutional right to challenge the outcome of their deportation hearings based on their lawyers' mistakes.
  101. 1 2 3 Tom Barry (November 1, 2009). "A Death in Texas—Profits, poverty, and immigration converge". Boston Review. Retrieved December 16, 2009. Although the term "criminal aliens" has no precise definition, its broadening use reflects a trend in dealing with immigrants. With the post-9/11 creation of DHS and its two agencies—Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—a wide sector of aliens increasingly became the focus of joint efforts by immigration and law enforcement officers.
  102. "7 FAM 1220: Developing a Loss-of-Nationality Case". Foreign Affairs Manual . Department of State. September 19, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  103. 1 2 "7 FAM 1210: Loss and Restoration of U.S. Citizenship". Foreign Affairs Manual. Department of State. December 19, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  104. Lee, Young Ran (2017). "Considering 'Citizenship Taxation': In Defense of FATCA". Florida Tax Review. 20: 346–347. SSRN   2972248 .
  105. Berg, Roy (November 30, 2014). FATCA in Canada: The 'Cure' for a U.S. Place of Birth (PDF). 66th Annual Canadian Tax Foundation Annual Conference. Toronto. p. 20. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  106. Spiro, Peter (2017). "Citizenship Overreach". Michigan Journal of International Law. 38 (2): 169. SSRN   2956020 .
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  108. "7 FAM 1240: Interagency Coordination and Reporting Requirements". Foreign Affairs Manual. Department of State. November 12, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2017.