When a U.S. Citizen Is Not an American

As the furor over the warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens by the National Security Agency continues, liberals are stentorian in condemning this supposed outrage. But their objections are partly based on the naive belief that if someone is a U.S. citizen his loyalty to America should not be questioned.

In fact, such a belief is not only naive, but it also completely ignores a widespread practice among today’s immigrants. This is the practice of dual citizenship (or dual nationality), where naturalized immigrants keep their native citizenship as well as U.S. citizenship. This duplicitous practice by immigrants of having two citizenships is hardly mentioned in public debates. But in this age of terrorists masquerading as nice guys, dual citizenship should be a prominent national security issue.

There are no official statistics of dual citizens, but naturalization numbers over the last thirty years indicate that there are some 15 million U.S. citizens today who are either dual citizens or are eligible to hold dual citizenship. That is a lot of people with potentially conflicting loyalties.

Despite all the politically correct nonsense about immigrants, there is a simple question that will get to the heart of the matter — if someone was truly loyal to America, why would he keep another citizenship?

I speak on this issue from personal experience. A naturalized American, I relinquished my native citizenship when I became an American by strictly adhering to the oath of naturalization. Though I was already an adult when I came here, I am resolute in my identification of America as my country, and I have not seen the native country for over twenty years now. It is not your naturalization certificate that makes you an American. Rather, what makes you an American is if you truly believe this is your country.

However, to many immigrants today, U.S. citizenship is not an object of patriotism. To these people, U.S. citizenship means the convenience of having a U.S. passport that enables them to come and go without worrying about immigration problems. Though on paper they are U.S. citizens, in practice they are foreigners. They refuse to assimilate, following customs that are clearly incompatible with Western traditions. In other words, they may be U.S. citizens, but they are not Americans.

Due to liberalization of naturalization rules, the burden of proof of the loyalty of intending citizens is very low. Other than taking the naturalization oath, which has now become rather perfunctory, immigrants are not required to provide cogent proof of their loyalty to America. This is unacceptable. We should insist that immigrants actually relinquish their native citizenship before they can be naturalized. That will be the truest test of their loyalty to this country.

For terrorists and their sympathizers, U.S. citizenship is a powerful tool. It gives them unabridged rights of access to the country, not to mention the right to work in sensitive installations such as nuclear plants, defense facilities, etc. To those who are intent on destroying America from within, obtaining U.S. citizenship is a critical step. To them, it is a clever subterfuge that wards off suspicion.

From the beginning, dual citizenship is a contradiction. For, before you can become an American citizen, you must take the oath of naturalization, which says: "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…."

The language of the oath is clear. Therefore, to allow people to turn around and retain their former citizenship is a gigantic mockery of the oath.

On its website the State Department says, "The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause….However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country."

In other words, the naturalization oath does not mean a thing.

Moreover, dual citizens can legally possess a U.S. passport and a passport from the other country at the same time. And they can vote in foreign elections. Worse, they can even hold public offices in both countries.

It is obvious that policymakers who condone dual citizenship do not understand the gravity of the issue. In this age of terrorism and cultural threats ranging from bilingualism to radical religions, do we really want people whose loyalties are divided? And how can someone be truly loyal to two countries at the same time?

After all, we don’t allow people to keep two spouses at the same time, right? Since keeping another spouse does not strengthen your marriage, there is no reason to think that keeping a foreign citizenship somehow strengthens your U.S. loyalty.

Finally, while liberals denounce the NSA wiretapping program, they are gleefully unaware of their own role in enabling anti-American threats in the first place. Namely, it is liberals who over the last forty years instituted policies that encouraged immigrants and American-born minorities to keep their own ethnic identity. Were it not for such policies, we would not have so many people with conflicting ethnic loyalties. And we would not have needed secret wiretapping to monitor their activities.