F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
July 30, 2000
Dual Citizenship and Divided Loyalties



F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

"How could a person owe allegiance or fully adhere to the responsibilities of citizenship in several countries at the same time?"



ONE NATION AND DIVISIBLE*
Any immigrant may at the start
Want to hold his own heritage to heart,
But beware of the vulture
That is "multiculture":
It's clawing our country apart.

"Is it possible to be a fully engaged and knowledgeable citizen of several countries?" asks Stanley Renshon, professor of political science at the City University of New York. "Is it possible to follow two or more very different cultural traditions? Is it possible to have two, possibly conflicting core identifications and attachments? Assuming such things are possible," he stipulates, "are they desirable?"

In a recent issue of the Backgrounder, a monthly publication of the Center for Immigration Studies, Professor Renshon reports that "the United States is becoming dramatically more diverse -- racially, ethnically, and culturally. The latest census figures," he points out, "show that the number of legal and illegal immigrants living in the United States has almost tripled since 1970, rising from 9.6 million to 26.3 million today and far outpacing the growth of the native-born population." Renshon emphasizes that "a substantial percentage of these immigrants arrive here from countries with very different cultural and political traditions at a time when American cultural values are increasingly questioned by some." He worries that "the unprecedented diversity brought about by recent immigration is being achieved at the expense of a common national culture."

Renshon focuses on the specific issue of dual and multiple citizenship, pointing out that the United States neither recognizes nor prohibits the practice. "No American citizen can lose his or her citizenship by undertaking the responsibilities of citizenship in one or more other countries," he observes. "This is true even if those responsibilities include obtaining a second or even a third citizenship, swearing allegiance to a foreign state, voting in another country's election, serving in the armed forces (even in combat positions, and even if the state is a 'hostile' one), running for office, and if successful serving." Renshon affirms that "Congress could legislatively address any of these or other issues arising out of these multiple, perhaps conflicting, responsibilities. Yet, to date," he notes, "it has chosen not to do so."

Renshon points out that 17 of the 20 foreign nations sending the most immigrants to the United States permit multiple citizenship, thus encouraging departed countrymen to retain emotional and financial ties to their homeland. Large immigrant populations could prove destabilizing to American society, he warns, if they adhere to their native cultures and encounter no real pressure to assimilate.

No stranger has a right to enter your home uninvited. If you offer him admittance, he enters on your terms, not his. You may allow entry to one person and deny it to another (for whatever reason), but the latter has no grounds for grievance for he has no claim on your hospitality in the first place. America is your home. The immigrant comes here as your guest. You have the right to set the rules for his admittance and the right to expect that he will abide by them.


* from Politickles: Limericks Lampooning the Lunatic Left
by F.R. Duplantier (Merril Press, 2000),
available at Amazon.com and other online locations.


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