Citizenship of the United Statesis a status that entails specific rights, duties and benefits in the United States. It serves as a foundation of fundamental rights derived from and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, such as freedom of expression, due process, the rights to vote, to live and work in the United States, and to receive federal assistance. The implementation of citizenship requires attitudes including allegiance to the republic, participation, and an impulse to promote communities. Certain rights are so fundamental that they are guaranteed to all persons, not just citizens. Not all citizens have the right to vote in all federal elections, for example, those living in Puerto Rico.
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 United States citizen parent,and naturalization, a process in which an eligible legal immigrant applies for citizenship and is accepted. These two pathways to citizenship are specified in the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution which reads:
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.
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, (2) eligibility for some state-provided benefits such as higher education, and (3) eligibility for state political posts such as United States senator.
In Article One of the Constitution, the power to establish a "uniform rule of naturalization" is granted explicitly to Congress.
United States law permits multiple citizenship. Citizens of other countries who are naturalized as United States citizens may retain their previous citizenship, although they must renounce allegiance to the other country. A United States citizen retains United States citizenship when becoming the citizen of another country, should that country's laws allow it. United States citizenship can be renounced by Americans who also hold another citizenship via a formal procedure at a United States embassy.
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".Moreover, to be a citizen means to be vitally important to politics and not ignored. 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".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". 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".
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 United States citizen is required to renounce any prior "allegiance" to other countries during the naturalization ceremony; [ clarification needed ] renunciation of citizenship to those countries. [ failed verification ]. The United States Department of State confirms on their website that a United States citizen can hold dual nationality: "A United States citizen may naturalize in a foreign state without any risk to his or her United States citizenship"however, this renunciation of allegiance
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.
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, United States citizens in general are subject to an expatriation tax if they give up United States citizenship, but there are exceptions (specifically) for those who are either under age 18½ upon giving up United States citizenship and have lived in the United States 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 United States citizenship and have lived in the United States for less than ten out of the past fifteen years. 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.
United States citizens are required by federal law to identify themselves with a United States passport, not with any other foreign passport, when entering or leaving the United States. (1967) declared that a United States 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 United States citizenship. United States citizens who have dual citizenship do not lose their United States citizenship unless they renounce it officially.The Supreme Court case of Afroyim v. Rusk , 387 U.S. 253
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"which was vital since citizen participation in public affairs helped keep democracy "sturdy", according to Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835. 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, the citizenship franchise has been expanded to include not just propertied white adult men but black men and adult women.
The Supreme Court affirmed in United States v. Wong Kim Ark , 169 U.S. 649(1898), that per the Fourteenth Amendment's Citizenship Clause an ethnic Chinese person born in the United States becomes a citizen. This is distinct from naturalized citizenship; in 1922 the Court held in Ozawa v. United States , 260 U.S. 178, that a Japanese person, born in Japan but resident in the United States for twenty years, could not be naturalized under the law of the time and in 1923 in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind , 261 U.S. 204, that an Indian person could not be naturalized. In the Ozawa decision it was noted that "In all of the naturalization acts from 1790 to 1906 the privilege of naturalization was confined to white persons (with the addition in 1870 of those of African nativity and descent)", 1906 being the most recent legislation in question at the time.
The Equal Nationality Act of 1934 allowed a foreign-born child of a US citizen mother and an alien father, who had entered US territory before age 18 and lived in the United States for five years, to apply for United States citizenship for the first time.It also made the naturalization process quicker for American women's alien husbands. This law equalized expatriation, immigration, naturalization, and repatriation rules between women and men. However, it was not applied retroactively, and was modified by later laws, such as the Nationality Act of 1940.
United States citizenship is usually acquired by birth when a child is born within the territory of the United States. The territory of the United States includes the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States Virgin Islands.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. All babies born in the United States — except those born to enemy aliens in wartime or the children of foreign diplomats—enjoy United States citizenship under the Supreme Court's long-standing interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. 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." There remains dispute as to who is "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States at birth.
By acts of Congress, every person born in Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands is a United States citizen by birth.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.
Regardless of where they are born, children of United States citizens are United States citizens in most cases. Children born outside the United States with at least one United States citizen parent usually have birthright citizenship by parentage.
A child of unknown parentage found in the United States 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.
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 ideally teach the basics of citizenship and create "informed and responsible citizens" who are "skilled in the arts of effective deliberation and action."
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.
Acts of Congress provide for acquisition of citizenship by persons born abroad.
The agency in charge of admitting new citizens is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, commonly abbreviated as USCIS.It is a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security. It offers web-based services. 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. 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. The USCIS has made efforts to digitize records. A USCIS website says the "United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is committed to offering the best possible service to you, our customer" and which says "With our focus on customer service, we offer you a variety of services both before and after you file your case". 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. The USCIS processes cases in the order they're received.
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 United States 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.Applicants must also pass a simple citizenship test. 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?" At one point, the Government Printing Office sold flashcards for US$8.50 to help test takers prepare for the test. 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". One reviewer described the new citizenship test as "thoughtful". 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. Six correct answers constitutes a passing grade. The new test probes for signs that immigrants "understand and share American values". A unique way to become a permanent resident is to apply to the US government Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. This program is a drawing for foreigners to apply for a drawing to become a permanent resident.
According to a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, "citizenship is a very, very valuable commodity".However, one study suggested legal residents eligible for citizenship, but who don't apply, tend to have low incomes (41%), do not speak English well (60%), or have low levels of education (25%). There is strong demand for citizenship based on the number of applications filed. 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. In the mid-1990s to 2009, the levels rose to about 500,000 per year with considerable variation. In 1996, more than one million people became citizens through naturalization. In 1997, there were 1.41 million applications filed; in 2006, 1.38 million. The number of naturalized citizens in the United States rose from 6.5 million in the mid-1990s to 11 million in 2002. By 2003, the pool of immigrants eligible to become naturalized citizens was 8 million, and of these, 2.7 million lived in California. In 2003, the number of new citizens from naturalization was 463,204. In 2007, the number was 702,589. In 2007, 1.38 million people applied for citizenship creating a backlog. In 2008, applications decreased to 525,786.
Naturalization fees were US$60 in 1989; US$90 in 1991; US$95 in 1994; US$225 in 1999; US$260 in 2002; US$320 in 2003; US$330 in 2005.In 2007 application fees were increased from US$330 to US$595 and an additional US$80 computerized fingerprinting fee was added. The biometrics fee was increased to US$85 in 2010. On December 23, 2014, the application fees were increased again from US$595 to US$640. The high fees have been criticized as putting up one more wall to citizenship. Increases in fees for citizenship have drawn criticism. Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and former Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner, doubted that fee increases deter citizenship-seekers. In 2009, the number of immigrants applying for citizenship plunged 62%; reasons cited were the slowing economy and the cost of naturalization.
The citizenship process has been described as a ritual that is meaningful for many immigrants.Many new citizens are sworn in during Independence Day ceremonies. Most citizenship ceremonies take place at offices of the United States 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". According to federal law, citizenship applicants who are also changing their names must appear before a federal judge.
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 United States citizen, but this is not considered honorary citizenship.In June 2003, Congress approved legislation to help families of fallen non-citizen soldiers.
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.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. Alaska Airlines, a competitor of Virgin America, asked for a review of the situation; according to United States law, "foreign ownership in a United States air carrier is limited to 25% of the voting interest in the carrier", but executives at Virgin America insisted the airline met this requirement.
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".
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) made a minor distinction between United States citizenship and United States nationality.Citizenship comprises a larger set of privileges and rights for those persons that are United States citizens which is not afforded to individuals that are only United States nationals by virtue of their rights under the INA. It is well-established that all United States citizens are United States nationals but not all United States nationals are United States citizens.
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. 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. 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 statutes that embody the law regarding both American citizenship and American nationality.
The United States government takes the position that unincorporated territories of the United States are not "in the United States" for purposes of the Citizenship Clause, and thus individuals born in those territories are only United States citizens at birth if Congress has passed a citizenship statute in regards to that territory. Thus, people born in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands have United States citizenship at birth, while people born in the Northern Mariana Islands have United States citizenship at birth but may elect to give up United States citizenship while retaining United States nationality at the age of 18.Meanwhile, per , people born in American Samoa are United States nationals but not United States citizens at birth, and must apply for naturalization if they wish to become US citizens, which requires them to pay a US$680 fee (as of February 11, 2014), pass a good moral character assessment, be fingerprinted and pass an English and civics examination. The nationality status of a person born in an unincorporated United States 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.
The United States government position with regards to American Samoa began to be challenged in court in the 2010s, and has resulted in conflicting rulings: a 2016 ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court upheld the United States government's position interpretation that American Samoa is not "in the United States" for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment and thus American Samoans are nationals but not citizens at birth,while a 2019 ruling by the Utah District Court held the contrary and ruled that the American Samoan plaintiffs were United States citizens at birth (the latter ruling was stayed and will be appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court, which could result in a circuit split were it to be upheld).
Non-citizen nationals of the United States may reside and work in the United States without restrictions, and may apply for United States citizenship under the same rules as permanent United States 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. Most nationals of the United States statutorily transmit nationality to children born outside the United States.
The United States passport issued to non-citizen 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.
The issue of citizenship naturalization is a highly contentious matter in United States 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.Some measures to require proof of citizenship upon registering to vote have met with controversy.
Controversy can arise when citizenship affects political issues. Whether to include questions about current citizenship status in the United States Census questions has been debated in the Senate.Census data affects state electoral clout; it also affects budgetary allocations. 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, and including non-citizens in the census is mandated by the United States Constitution.
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.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. 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. 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. 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%. So foreign-born citizens vote in roughly the same proportion (62%) as native citizens (67%).
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". 1⁄3 of all applications); in 2007, 89,683 applications for naturalization were denied, about 12% of those presented.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. 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. 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". 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". In 2000, 399,670 applications were denied (about
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 United States demanding United States citizenship for illegal immigrants. [ citation needed ] A 1982 Supreme Court decision, Plyler v. Doe 457 U.S. 202 (1982), entitled illegal immigrants to free education from kindergarten through high school. Undocumented immigrants who get arrested face difficulties in the courtroom as they have no constitutional right to challenge the outcome of their deportation hearings. 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 United States prison population, while doing little to solve the problem itself". Barry criticized the United States' high incarceration rate as being "fives times greater than the average rate in the rest of the world". Virginia senator Jim Webb agreed that "we are doing something dramatically wrong in our criminal justice system".Many carried banners which read "We Have A Dream Too". One estimate is that there were 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States in 2006. Many American high school students have citizenship issues. In 2008, it was estimated that there were 65,000 illegal immigrant students. The number was less clear for post-secondary education.
United States 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."Relinquishment" is the legal term covering all seven different potentially-expatriating acts (ways of giving up citizenship) under . "Renunciation" refers to two of those acts: swearing an oath of renunciation before a United States diplomatic or consular officer abroad, or before an official designated by the attorney general within the United States during a state of war. Out of an estimated three to six million United States citizens residing abroad, between five and six thousand relinquished citizenship each year in 2015 and 2016. United States nationality law treats people who performs potentially-expatriating acts with intent to give up United States citizenship as ceasing to be United States citizens from the moment of the act, but United States tax law since 2004 treats such individuals as though they remain United States citizens until they notify the State Department and apply for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN).
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 United States 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.There is a US$2,350 administrative fee for the process. 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. 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.
Citizenship can be revoked under certain circumstances.For instance, if held that a naturalized person has concealed material evidence, wilfully misrepresented themselves, not disclosed being a member of certain political parties like the Communist Party of America or the Nazi party, etc., then they may have their naturalization revoked.
A citizen does not lose United States citizenship when they perform such acts like seeking office in a foreign state.However, the higher office and more important role a citizen holds in a foreign government, the more limited the exercise of consular rights of United States citizenship will be: "Serving as a foreign head of state/government or foreign minister may affect the level of immunity from United States jurisdiction that a dual national may be afforded. All such cases should be referred to the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Consular Affairs".
From September 22, 1922 to the passage of Nationality Act of 1940, a woman holding United States citizenship could lose it simply by marriage to an alien or certain aliens ineligible for citizenship.
Jus soli, commonly referred to as birthright citizenship, is the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship.
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.
A green card, known officially as a permanent resident card, is an identity document which shows that a person has permanent residency in the United States. Green card holders are formally known as lawful permanent residents (LPRs). As of 2019, there are an estimated 13.9 million green card holders of whom 9.1 million are eligible to become United States citizens. Approximately 65,000 of them serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which held that "a child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China", automatically became a U.S. citizen at birth. This decision established an important precedent in its interpretation of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
"Anchor baby" is a term used to refer to a child born to a non-citizen mother in a country that has birthright citizenship which will therefore help the mother and other family members gain legal residency. In the U.S., the term is generally used as a derogatory reference to the supposed role of the child, who automatically qualifies as an American citizen under jus soli and the rights guaranteed in the 14th Amendment. The term is also often used in the context of the debate over illegal immigration to the United States. A similar term, "passport baby", has been used in Canada for children born through so-called "maternity" or "birth tourism".
The United States nationality law is set out in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) which contains a uniform rule of naturalization of the United States. The 1952 Act sets out the legal requirements for the acquisition and divestiture of U.S. nationality.
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).
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.
Foreign-born people are those born outside of their country of residence. Foreign born are often non-citizens, but many are naturalized citizens of the country in which they live, and others are citizens by descent, typically through a parent.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is an agency of the United States 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).
The visa policy of the United States deals with the requirements which a foreign national wishing to enter the United States must meet to obtain a visa, which is a permit to travel to, enter, and remain in the United States. Visitors to the United States must obtain a visa from one of the United States diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries or Visa Waiver Program countries. The same rules apply to Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, while different rules apply to American Samoa. Although the US visa policy applies to Guam and the CNMI, the two territories also have their own visa waiver program.
Birth tourism is the practice of traveling to another country for the purpose of giving birth in that country. The main reason for birth tourism is to obtain citizenship for the child in a country with birthright citizenship. Such a child is sometimes called an "anchor baby" if their citizenship is intended to help their parents obtain permanent residency in the country. Other reasons for birth tourism include access to public schooling, healthcare, sponsorship for the parents in the future, or even circumvention of China's two-child policy. Popular destinations include the United States and Canada. Another target for birth tourism is Hong Kong, where some mainland Chinese citizens travel to give birth to gain right of abode for their children.
Birthright citizenship in the United States is United States citizenship acquired by a person automatically, by operation of law. This takes place in two situations: by virtue of the person's birth within United States territory or because one or both of their parents is a US citizen. Birthright citizenship contrasts with citizenship acquired in other ways, for example by naturalization.
The Citizenship Clause is the first sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was adopted on July 9, 1868, which states:
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.
Birthright generation is a term used by immigrant advocates to identify US-born citizens, who are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It grants American citizenship to all babies born on American soil even if the child is born to one or both undocumented parents. Birthright citizenship may be also conferred either by jus soli or jus sanguinis. Under American law, any person born within the US, including the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands and subject to its jurisdiction is automatically granted US citizenship. The alternative term is anchor baby, a term used by immigration reductionists to identify a child born in the US to undocumented immigrants. It is generally used as a reference to the supposed role of the child, who as a US citizen through the legal principle of jus soli, may facilitate immigration for relatives through family reunification. Family reunification, or family-based immigration, in the US is a lengthy process and is limited to categories prescribed by provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The misconception has led those who oppose citizenship rights for children of immigrants that newborns would facilitate residency and citizenship rights for their parents. However, an American child cannot claim a parent until the age of 21.
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 country under the laws of those countries. Conceptually, citizenship is focused on the internal political life of the country and nationality is a matter of international dealings. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizenship status of a person. This is defined exclusively by national laws, which can vary and conflict with each other. Multiple citizenship arises because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, criteria for citizenship. Colloquially, people may "hold" multiple citizenship but, technically, each nation makes a claim that a particular person is considered its national.
The Nationality Act of 1940 revised numerous provisions of law relating to American citizenship and naturalization. It was enacted by the 76th Congress of the United States and signed into law on October 14, 1940, a year after World War II had begun in Europe, but before the U.S. entered the war.
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. Relinquishment is distinct from denaturalization, which in U.S. law refers solely to cancellation of illegally procured naturalization.
The withholding tax has made the voluntary component of tax collection much less important, and the professional military has limited the need for citizen soldiers.
It's been called 'the ultimate estate plan': moving to a desert island or other far-off locale to escape the clutches of the Internal Revenue Service. Indeed, hundreds of Americans do formally renounce their United States citizenship every year, many in order to protect their wealth from income, estate and gift taxes. But last week, Congress may have made life less rewarding for tax exiles.
United States citizenship, which is attained through the naturalization process, brings many benefits to immigrants and to the United States.
The number of legal immigrants seeking to become United States citizens is surging, officials say, prompted by imminent increases in fees to process naturalization applications, citizenship drives across the country and new feelings of insecurity among immigrants.
Recipients of the award display exceptional accomplishments through professional achievements and leadership, civic participation, responsible citizenship, and demonstrate outstanding commitment to the United States while embodying the values and ideals that are inherent to this country, and within each of its citizens.
Khalid Khannouchi, the world-record holder in the marathon, has still not given up hope of obtaining American citizenship in time to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. If he does gain citizenship, he is considering the unusual prospect of running both the London Marathon on April 16 and the Olympic trials three weeks later in Pittsburgh, friends said.
Then there are malls, with their own rules and security forces, as opposed to public streets; private health clubs as opposed to public playgrounds; incorporated suburbs with strict zoning; and other mundane aspects of daily existence in which—perhaps without realizing it, because the changes have been so gradual—we opt out of the public sphere and the "social contract" for the sake of a protected setting.
Lee Kuan Yew's offensive neo-authoritarianism ... is paternalistic, meritocratic, and decidedly undemocratic, has forged prosperity from abject poverty ... Doesn't liberation from filth and privation count as a human right? Jeffrey Sachs ... writes that "good government" means relative safety from corruption, from breach of contract, from property expropriation, and from bureaucratic inefficiency.
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; ...This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
Maria Sanchez was proud to become a United States citizen in 1985, but it did not completely erase the sense of loss she felt over having to give up her Mexican citizenship.
While New Hampshire has no minorities or big cities (there's plenty of both in upcoming primaries), the New England town-hall meeting was the earliest form of American democracy ...
Alexis de Tocqueville, in his classic work Democracy in America, argued that one reason the American democracy he surveyed was so sturdy was that citizens took an active part in public affairs. ...
A few years ago, in an influential book called Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, warned of the decline in civic engagement, the loss of social capital that keeps neighborhoods and towns vital.
Is America still America if millions of us no longer know how democracy works? When I speak on college campuses, I find that students are either baffled by democracy's workings or that they don't see any point in engaging in the democratic process. Sometimes both
I want to summarize why I believe we are facing a real crisis. My reading showed me that there are 10 key steps that would-be despots always take when they are seeking to close down an open society or to crush a democracy movement, and we are seeing each of those in the US today
ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney backs an end to the policy known as chain migration but he has not yet reached a conclusion on the more controversial question of whether the United States should end birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to illegal immigrants.
But teachers are quick to say that it takes more to produce a good citizen than using their 50-minute slices of a student's day for a week or two before the election to talk about the Presidential race. And convincing students that their ballots count is only part of it.
A Federal judge yesterday restored the American citizenship of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born founder of the Jewish Defense League who emigrated to Israel more than 15 years ago.
To gain American citizenship, immigrants must be able to answer such questions as: What was the 49th state added to our Union? What color are the stars on our flag? And who wrote the Star Spangled Banner? Sound trivial? The US government thinks so, and plans to roll out a new pilot test this winter.
Reports this week that the United States citizenship agency was yet again struggling with a budget shortfall, and considering raising fees on the hopeful immigrants who are its main source of revenue, could have led any American to wonder what kind of beacon to the world we are anymore.
CSC (NYSE: CSC) announced today that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) awarded the company a task order to conduct scanning, indexing and file management operations at a records digitization facility. The new agreement, which was signed during the company's fourth quarter fiscal year 2009, has a one-year performance period and a contract value of US$27 million.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is committed to offering the best possible service to you, our customer. With our focus on customer service, we offer you a variety of services both before and after you file your case.This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
Senate Democrats have blocked a GOP attempt to require next year's census forms to ask people whether they are a United States citizen.
A set of flashcards designed to help applicants for United States citizenship learn basic civics has become one of the most popular items sold by the Government Printing Office. But the US$8.50 flashcards — which contain questions and answers from the actual citizenship exam — won't help immigrants learn much about the role of the press in American democracy.
Stretched thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American military will begin recruiting skilled immigrants who are living in this country with temporary visas, offering them the chance to become United States citizens in as little as six months.
I participated today in a panel at the Hudson Institute on dual citizenship. The subject was Hudson's John Fonte's paper lamenting dual citizenship and urging penalties for United States citizens who have foreign citizenship and exercise that citizenship by voting or running for office in foreign elections.
An easy assumption to make is that the men and women serving in our armed forces are American citizens. But that is not always the case. When the war broke out, and casualties started to mount, it was discovered that some who died were still waiting to become Americans.
Though the Army had never gone abroad to hire foreign mercenaries, it had long filled out its ranks with aliens living in the United States (In World War II, an honorable service record gave aliens citizenship in three years instead of five.)
Struggling to fill its depleted ranks using American citizenry, the US military is considering recruiting more non-US citizens, according to Pentagon officials.
A swelling number of Israelis are flying to the United States, armed with tattered United States high school diplomas and faded marriage certificates, to try to tap into an obscure clause in United States immigration law that enables some grandparents to pass citizenship to their grandchildren.
The number of immigrants applying to become United States citizens plunged 62% last year as the cost of naturalization rose and the economy soured, according to an analysis released Friday by the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy organization.
A record number of immigrants, more than 1 million, will become United States citizens this year.
The cost of becoming a United States citizen would more than double under a draft proposal by the Clinton Administration, but the idea is drawing fire from advocates for immigrants. The Immigration and Naturalization Service has forwarded to the Justice Department a plan to raise a variety of fees, including increasing the citizenship application to US$200 or more from the current US$95.
Ellis had moved his Alexandria courtroom to Arlington National Cemetery to swear in immigrants from more than 30 countries as United States 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.
Privately held air carrier Virgin America asked the Department of Transportation on Thursday to deny Alaska Airlines' repeated challenges to its United States citizenship status and close the case.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Wednesday, Michael Mukasey ruled that aliens have no constitutional right to challenge the outcome of their deportation hearings based on their lawyers' mistakes.
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.