Between the Lines

Schizophrenic Citizens

The very idea of dual citizenship is downright absurd.  It’s a contradiction that cannot be resolved.  The concept of citizenship is based on the expectation of loyalty to the country, and this, in turn, means that citizens owe their exclusive allegiance to the community in which they live.  So how is it possible to have dual citizenship, unless one is possessed by multiple personalities as in The Three Faces of Eve?

There is a long history to the effort to reduce the political and legal meaning of American citizenship to a vague connection.  It started in 1967, with the Supreme Court’s decision in Afroyim v. Rusk.

Beys Afroyim, a Polish national, was a naturalized American citizen who, in 1951, voted in an election for the Israeli Knesset.  Nine years later, he applied for a U.S. passport.  His application was denied on the grounds that he had lost his citizenship under the provisions of section 401(e) of the Nationality Act of 1940, which prescribes this penalty if a U.S. citizen votes “in a political election in a foreign state.”  Afroyim sued, and his lawyers argued that this violated both the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments.  Lower courts rejected the plaintiff’s arguments and upheld the law.  Afroyim appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which heard the case in 1960.

Afroyim’s lawyers argued...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here