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Do I have to give up my home country nationality when I become a U.S. citizen?

Bridge Team Member

Many U.S. immigrants ponder the question of personal identity: does my place of origin or citizenship dictate my national identity? These thoughts may be the birth pangs immigrants in America face when assimilating to a different culture. But look no further, the U.S. Supreme Court has answered this question.

In Kawakita, the Supreme Court stated that "a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both. The mere fact he asserts the rights of one citizenship does not without more mean that he renounces the other." In fact, the Immigration and Nationality Act does not define dual citizenship nor takes a position for or against it.

Even though the United States recognizes dual nationality, your country of origin may not necessarily recognize your status as a duel citizenship. Some countries, like China, hold that naturalizing in another country will result in a loss of Chinese citizenship. Therefore, it is important to understand the laws of both the country of origin and naturalization.

At my U.S. naturalization ceremony, in my head REM's Losing My Religion song turned into losing my nationality. The tempo of this song was loud, yet muffled by the prospects of being an American and the benefits that followed. However, not until writing this piece did I realize the fabric of this nation was designed to embrace different cultures, factions, and thus far, even nationalities. So you see, I never needed to question my national identity because I am, like almost every one of us, [enter country of origin]-American.


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