Dual Citizenship and the Hayworth Bill
I received a question today from a reader who is doing an article on dual citizenship and the Hayworth Bill. I'd like to take this opportunity to respond.
I am writing an article about the Hayworth bill, a piece of legislation before congress that would criminalize activities associated with dual citizenship--voting in a foreign election for example. I wonder if you could tell me how you became a dual citizen, why it matters to you, and why you would support or oppose a "ban" on dual citizenship.
What is Citizenship?
Let me first clarify something -- I'm not a dual citizen. I'm a U.S. citizen and Argentina resident. However, my desire is to become a dual citizen some day in the future. Argentina requires most immigrants to live here for five years before giving them the opportunity to become citizens. I do expect to apply for citizenship at that time.
What is a citizen and what does it mean to be a citizen? A citizen is a person who owes allegiance to a nation and is entitled to its protection. There is a give and take involved.
Historically, nations have provided individuals with a system of laws, ways to peaceably settle disputes, and they protect individuals and their property from outsiders who would wish them harm. In return, the nation taxes the individual and reserves the right to draft the individual into military service when the nation is threatened.
Dual Nationality and State Oppression
Some people, especially government types, think dual nationality is a paradox -- an individual can't be loyal to two nations. So, they seek to discourage or penalize dual nationals. They want the person to choose between one country or another -- to "take sides" as if there was an argument. What if we don't want to swear our allegiance blindly? Could it be possible that sometimes your country is right and other times it is wrong? Must we all swear undying oaths of fealty to our government and the political ruling class?
I say the answer is no. I believe in the sovereignty of individuals who are free to make their own choices. My government, however, by virtue of my nationality, has complete power over my life. Think I'm being dramatic?
- The government places restrictions on what kind of business you may conduct and who you can do business with.
- The government can, at any time, place restrictions on what countries you are allowed to travel to.
- The government can hold you captive within the United States and revoke your ability to travel internationally. Historically this was only reserved for people awaiting trial. Now its also done for people who owe back child support. Who knows how this could be expanded in the future?
- The government can draft you into fighting in a war that you do not agree with at any time.
- The government can imprison you and can, under the guise of capital punishment, murder you when it feels you are no longer useful.
A dual citizen, on the other hand, can decide to sever a relationship with one of his countries if it decides not to treat him fairly.
The Hayworth Bill
JD Hayworth is a bigot and his view of America is completely anglocentric. Not only does the bill try to criminalize things such as voting in a foreign election, he proposes the complete denial of residency visas to Mexican citizens. What a wonderful way to discourage illegal immigration from Mexico -- by denying visas all the law-abiding Mexicans who suffered through all the bureaucracy, the humiliating consular interviews, the years of waiting, paid the expenses, and did things the right way! What an idiot.