January 25, 2005

US Citizenship

Here's something to think about. Why does US citizenship require a US presence? In a globalized, high connectivity world, why can't you devise a test that would permit somebody to get the passport without having to get here first?

Certainly acquiring US citizenship abroad would be and should be harder than doing it here because there's a lot of general knowledge that you get by simply being here and dealing with the system on a daily basis, knowledge that an "outside" applicant would have to actually be tested for. Just going through the exercise of what you would like to be on such a test is a useful primer in the obligations of citizenship.

The interesting bits for me would be in how such a nonterritorial grant of citizenship affects everything else. Instead of visiting the US to give birth to "anchor babies" will S. Korea give rise to a large population of dual citizens? Will dissidents wield dual nationality like a shield to make themselves less prone to be tortured? Would dual nationality itself come under pressure with countries insisting that grant of US citizenship means rejection of birth citizenship?

It's an interesting puzzle to play with.

Posted by TMLutas at January 25, 2005 07:10 AM