Quote of the day/week/however long

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
~William James

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It Won't Wear Out

 Many years ago, Madam read a book about a Regular White Guy's sojourn among the folks who live north of nearly everything on earth; people to whom the southern tip of Greenland is Miami. Once, during a casual meeting at the nearest store with a group leader (to call the group a tribe would make it sound larger and grander than it actually was), the leader happened to mention that a distant relative had passed through his village. As was the custom, the leader had invited the visitor in, fed him, and lent him his wife for the night.

The RWG was shocked. How, he asked, could a man so casually share his wife with another man?

The leader, in his turn, was simply puzzled. Why not? he asked. It was a hospitable thing to do, his wife was happy to do it, and it's not like she would wear out.

You Southerners are just so weird.

 Madam thought again of this story while reading through a lawsuit that has to do with retro-cancellation of derivative US citizenship. It can be found here.

 Without digging into the details of the arguments - Madam's readers are welcome to do that themselves, and it's a thought-provoking and rewarding exercise - it does raise an issue that troubles some consular officers: the issue of automatic entitlement to US citizenship through either derivation or jus soli. Somehow, from somewhere, in any conversation about these topics, the feeling sometimes creeps in that these means of becoming US citizens somehow  reduce or weaken or - yes - 'wear out' the value of citizenship.

Madam will leave it to a beloved and respected friend and colleague to respond to this. He recently wrote:
"American citizenship is not a loaf of bread, not finite. When someone becomes a citizen, its not like there's less citizenship left for the rest of us. We Americans are in no way diminished when a foreign woman's baby pops out in US jurisdiction and a new US citizen is born. It is wonderful for me to contemplate the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of Amcit 3-, 12-, and 19-year-olds germinating in foreign soil in countries around the world. Some day the crop will ripen, some of them will come to America, and the nation will be generally the better for it. As immigration programs go, it strikes me as no worse than the EB-5 or the Lottery as a way to select future citizens."
If I win, who loses? Nobody, that's who.

1 comment:

Dan Kowalski said...

Cher Madam: Thank you for highlighting one of the core issues in Chacoty v. Kerry...the notion that New Americans are a benefit, not a burden. Sincerely, Daniel M. Kowalski