Friday, May 18, 2012

Citizenship To Go


Today's opinion piece in the New York Times provoked e-mail to me I wanted to share:
Dear Professor Stevens,

I completely agree with your article "Citizenship to go".

I've lived most of my adult life in the US, having moved here as a
graduate student in 2001. I bought a house, had a child born here, pay
my taxes, have a retirement plan, etc. All 100% legal. Yet I'm not
even a "permanent resident" yet. I can apply next year, and become a
citizen several years after that. It is quite possible that someone
born in the US or to American parents in 2001 will be able to vote
before I do. Where's the logic in that?

I even get jury duty notices, and each time I have to go to extra
trouble to prove that I'm not eligible to serve. This is always a
painful reminder of my second-class status.

I understand you may get hundreds of letters about your op-ed, so I
don't expect a reply. I just I wanted to get this off my chest. I hope
you don't get a lot of hate mail.

Best,
Ivan  "Temporary visitor" to the US

 Of course Ivan most likely would be a fine juror in his community.  In light of the problems enlisting participation on juries or even voting, this is perhaps more reason to put Ivan's time to good use on a a jury and not fighting government bureaucracy.

From my colleague Jeff Rice in the History Department:
[Y]our column today... reminded me of an interesting anecdote about Thomas Mann.  After becoming an enemy of the Nazi regime he took off to Czechoslavakia and then to England acquiring citizenship along the way.  After that he came to L.A. and took US citizenship and then, when called before HUAC he took off for Switzerland for the remainder of his life (suggesting that he left Germany in the name of freedom and he would leave the US in the name of freedom).  One of his detractors denounced him for  changing citizenship as often as he changed his clothes.  Personally, I always admired Mann for his cosmopolitanism.  
 Here's a link to the book behind the opinion piece.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

In early modern Europe, vagabonds without passes were hanged, imprisoned, branded and shipped off to the colonies, including America. Requiring a birth certificate to document citizenship is no less irrational. We need governments, but we don’t need nations. People should be free to move across borders; they should be citizens of the states where they happen to reside — period.

Swell idea, Jackie!!

How about Israel leads the way just to show the rest of us how it's done!!

r0yalguy said...

it is kind of like abolishing property rights. It denies the community authority over the community. It is inherently anti democratic by prohibiting the population from defending itself from invasion.

 
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