Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > Far-right’s attack over dual citizenship is all about anti-immigrant hate

Far-right’s attack over dual citizenship is all about anti-immigrant hate

LatinaLista — News that former presidential candidate, and current Minnesota congressional representative, Michelle Bachmann, had joined her family in becoming a Swiss citizen in March (her husband is of Swiss descent) was met with so much vitriolic rhetoric, like only the far right know how to dole out, that Bachmann announced today that she is withdrawing her Swiss citizenship.

According to her vocal critics, dual citizenship is something to be ashamed of for American citizens.

Mark Krikorian, an influential anti-immigration writer who contributes to the National Review and heads the Center for Immigration Studies, led the charge in the blogosphere with three articles in two days about how Bachmann’s dual citizenship was wrong.

“This is outrageous and she needs to hear about it… Dual citizenship isn’t simply a matter of convenience, a way to make travel easier or a sentimental tie to the Auld Sod,” argued Krikorian. “It’s an insult to both countries.”
Elsewhere, the criticism was even fiercer.

“Dual Citizenship Is Treason,” blared a headline at the Daily Paul, a website “inspired by” Ron Paul.

“I am against dual citizenship of any kind. When you benefit from the blood spilled by patriots in the past, the least which can be requested of you is undivided allegiance. The United States is not like any other country… For most of the country’s history, dual citizenship was considered the equivalent of political bigamy,” wrote a blogger there.


It’s not surprising that these people are so defensive of those with dual citizenship. After all, these are the same ones who think we need a law or an amendment that says English needs to be the nation’s official language. They’re the ones who applaud Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, etc.’s anti-immigrant laws. They’re the ones who support Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s practice of racial profiling. They’re the ones who can’t wait to see a wall finished along the US-Mexico border. They’re the ones…well, you get the idea.

The notion that dual citizenship negates the patriotism one feels for this country is so incredibly ignorant and naive and underscores how little they know about dual citizenship.

As someone who has grown up with dual citizenship (I was born in Madrid, Spain to a father who was in the US Air Force), having dual citizenship never impacted my allegiance to this country. In fact, there are some things people opposed to dual citizenship should understand — there are a lot more people walking around with it than they know.

First off, all of the children of military personnel, like myself, who were born in another country off the military base, would be considered to have duo citizenship. I don’t have numbers but given how many military personnel are stationed overseas from Germany to Japan, the numbers, from over the years, have to be significant.

In this global commerce age where US couples are working abroad, their children born in another country hold duo citizenship.

And finally, all those people who cram into courtrooms, school gymnasiums and other spots to take the oath of citizenship to the United States, aren’t really giving up their citizenship to their native countries. Though they do recite a line during the naturalization ceremony denouncing it, the fact is if they didn’t have their old citizenship formally revoked, chances are good that their former country doesn’t recognize the change in their status.

And to seal the discussion:

The Supreme Court has ruled dual citizenship is legal — and Congress has amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to reflect that reality — and the State Department now finally appears to be at peace with the concept as well — so it’s now a firmly entrenched part of the law of the land.

For the far right to be reacting with such shock doesn’t make sense. Have they forgotten that three of their party’s past presidential candidates were born outside the US?

Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican candidate, was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909 (Arizona did not become the 48th state until 1912). Goldwater lost the 1964 election to Lyndon Johnson.

George Romney, a 1968 Republican hopeful, was born in Mexico in 1907 to American parents who had moved there to escape anti-Mormon persecution in the US. (Contrary to a widely held popular misconception, by the way, Romney’s parents were settlers in Mexico, not missionaries.)

John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate, was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 to American parents.

Being born elsewhere or holding dual citizenship doesn’t determine a person’s allegiance to a country. Allegiance comes from within a person — it’s the country they call home.

Related posts


  • Jm Bosquesillo
    May 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Ah, so you’re a mil-brat, eh?

  • Cristina Parker
    May 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm


  • Jm Bosquesillo
    May 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Small world.

  • Diersen’s News Clips & Upcoming Events; 5-12-12 – They Don't Fool ME!
    May 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

    […] DIERSEN HEADLINE: You cannot be loyal to more than one country at a time. Constructively, Mexico has declared war on America. What percent of Hispanics in America are also citizens of Mexico? Latina Lista argues that if you oppose dual citizenship, it is because you are a racist. All my ancestors came to America during the 1840s and 1850s from what is now Germany. Sadly, except for my parents, all my ancestors were raised speaking German. However, I am very proud that I can say that my grandfather on my father’s side fought the Germans in WWI, that my uncles fought the Germans in WWII, and that my father would have fought the Germans if he had not been 4-F. I call for every citizen of America to immediately renounce any citizenship that they have of any other county. You cannot be loyal to more than one country at a time.)50 […]

  • RosaQ
    May 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Perhaps some more research about dual citizenship is in order.  Birth within the borders of another country doesn’t necessarily make you a citizen of that country.  The USA is one of relatively few countries whose citizenship laws provide for that.  Most countries, Spain included BTW, only consider you a citizen if one or both of your parents is a citizen of that country.  There are also other considerations.  As long as a second country considers you a citizen, they will require you to fulfill the obligations of citizenship, which could include taxes and compulsory military service. 

  • latinalista
    May 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Most countries consider people born within their borders to be their citizens. It’s a fact that there are many more countries, than one normally thinks, that don’t recognize US citizenship bestowed on their native-born if no legal withdrawing of citizenship was ever conducted. BTW, in my case, Spain declared me a citizen of their country with neither one of my parents citizens of that country. Go figure…

  • RosaQ
    May 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Actually, only about 15 to 25% of the 190+ countries have laws granting birthright citizenship, or “jus soli”.  When I was born in Madrid in the 60s, Spain only granted citizenship based on your father’s citizenship. At that time, a person wasn’t considered Spanish if just their mother was a Spanish citizen. Since neither of my parents are Spanish, I have an Extracto del Registro Civil for my birth certificate, but no Spanish citizenship or passport.  According to the Spanish government website below, there are very specific limitations on birthright citizenship.  If they gave you a passport or citizenship certificate, congratulations!  The main reason I answered this in the first place was your assertion that ALL children born to military personnel in other countries are dual citizens, and that is simply not the case.

  • MarisaTrevino
    May 15, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Rosa, Thank you for the exchange. I think we all learn something from this. Though, for whatever reason, my case is different, it has to make someone wonder just how many other cases are different too, no? Yet, the overall purpose of the post was to highlight how duo-citizenship, in the end, doesn’t impact someone’s allegiance to the US. In my opinion, for those critics to create this argument is just another way of saying that anyone not born in the US could not possibly feel patriotic towards the country, and that’s not an argument I agree with.

Leave a comment