Should Immigrants Have to Swear Loyalty to America? We Asked, You Answered
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because immigration is one of the most divisive issues across the developed world.
Last week, we asked: Should immigrants be forced to forsake their homelands? You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity.
Larry McIntyre, Apopka, Florida
Is it really too much to ask that a legal immigrant swear an allegiance to America and denounce their allegiance to the country that they have chosen to leave? Do they really want to be an American and contribute to America’s future? All we ever really ask of a legal immigrant is that they respect our flag, our laws and our culture and contribute to our country.
I have no problem with immigrants retaining cultural elements of their homelands (as if it were even possible to erase dietary preferences and historical backgrounds). However, the oath of citizenship that one takes upon being naturalized states, in part, “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, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.…” How can one swear that oath and then retain citizenship (and voting rights) in another country? More to the point, why would our country, having asked its new citizens to take this oath, permit them to retain dual citizenship? Under no circumstances should citizens of the U.S. also have citizenship (and rights) under another country’s laws and customs. If they want to remain citizens of, say, Mexico, they cannot and should not be allowed citizenship in the U.S.
Michael P. Mingucci, Lee’s Summit, Missouri
I was born in the U.S., am a Vietnam War veteran and have always called the U.S. home. However, I have dual citizenship, Italian. Almost all decisions made about international affairs are reciprocal. That is, the U.S. charges $100 for a tourist visa, Brazil reciprocates. It will cost $100 for an American to get a Brazilian tourist visa. Therefore, if the U.S. takes this step, hundreds of thousands of American citizens, not immigrants, with dual nationality will lose their second citizenship as well.
A person cannot have two loyalties. What happens if the U.S. goes to war with the country they left but still hold loyalty or a passport to? Technically they are enemies of this country. Come here wholeheartedly or don’t come at all.
An Di, Boston
The greatness of the USA stands on its freedom of choice and its individualism. From the moment you swear to the flag and Constitution, it’s implied. Whatever reasons were behind your decision to move here, in the end you are embracing your new country as a whole, because you feel accepted and, most important, you belong here! If this doesn’t happen, you’re free to turn around and go back to where you belong, and that’s the “miracle of freedom” at its best.
I am an immigrant and have lived here for 17 years. I am an American citizen, pay taxes, vote, have a mortgage, do jury duty, etc. I took the oath of allegiance when I became a citizen. I stand up when the national anthem comes on, and do everything any other American does. But all of my friends and colleagues view me as a Brit. I talk like one (mainly). I retain an interest in U.K. news and sport. My family still lives there. I’m not trying to be a Brit, but it was where I spent my first 27 years. I can’t deny my heritage or simply turn it off. Yes, I have a different worldview and still like British culture, but what am I supposed to do? Suddenly decide I don’t like soccer or warm, flat beer? How could turning in my U.K. passport change who I am?
Jackie Ray Mays, Lewiston, Maine
If you don’t want to be an American, pack your bags and get out. If you don’t have borders and citizens, you don’t have a country — just a place better than most other places with lots of free stuff.
Louisa Rank, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin (originally from Wassenaar, the Netherlands)
Demanding 100 percent loyalty and to forsake your roots is a ridiculous request — not everybody comes here for better pay. Learning English and integrating, yes. Dual citizenship is not an evil thing. People should simply be asked to participate in bettering society and adding their uniqueness to the whole.
Steven Samnick, Burke, Virginia
When they become citizens they take an oath of loyalty, essentially, to the United States. Ironically, this is more than most natural-born Americans are asked to do these days. Years ago, we used to do the Pledge of Allegiance in grade school every morning. Not sure that’s done everywhere these days.
Trisha Donley, Val Verde, California
If you want to come to this country, learn the language and try to assimilate, or stay home. I’m not anti-immigrant, I just would never dream of moving to a place where I wouldn’t learn the native language or would expect that country’s citizens to do everything my way.
Douglas McKinney, Tucson, Arizona
This is a question of loyalty. Where is your loyalty when the worst imaginable thing happens? Will you defend the U.S. from your former country if it came to that? That’s the fundamental question. Sport, culture, language are all secondary. Go ahead, speak your native tongue. I merely ask that when the chips are down, you stand by me and form a united front against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Shawn Rosvold, Medicine Hat, Alberta
I am a dual citizen. I am proud to be an American, but I would give it up in a second if I had to choose between the U.S. and Canada.