Dual Citizenship And "Americans" Trapped Overseas
10/14/2023
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Earlier: INSIGHT Debate: Does Dual Citizenship Erode American National Identity? Yes!

A few years back, I was talking to a State Department official. He had once been stationed in Mali, and his stories about how backward the country was were quite amusing. (His description of the Feast of Eid, possibly Eid al-Adha, was riotously hilarious. I guess that each head of household has to slaughter a goat, and then, after the feast is over, they dump the carcasses into the street and leave them there for weeks. His description of the horrid smell had me in stitches.)

While in Mali, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb started acting up, making war. He was tasked with making a list of Americans living in the outback of Mali in case they needed rescuing.

I asked incredulously, “There are Americans living in rural Mali?” To which he responded, “Well, they are not what you or I would consider to be Americans, but they are on paper.” Having worked in the U.S. Border Patrol, I knew exactly what he meant. For instance, I can recall encountering a Mexican who spoke no English, but had an American passport. I had to let him go.

I called up a contact at the State Department who confirmed that the Mexican had been born in Los Angeles, thus making him an anchor baby. However, for whatever reason, his parents took him back to Mexico and raised him there. Another time, I can remember encountering a group of Belarusians during a transportation check. Several of them had green cards, but one didn’t. When I asked his citizenship, he told me “Belarus” with a thick accent. I thought he was another green card holder, like the others, who just didn’t have his card with him. I had our dispatch research it. They came back over the radio, “He naturalized as a U.S. citizen a year ago.” When I had asked him his citizenship, he gave me a sincere answer, he didn’t see himself as American despite the piece of paper.

So, I read Peter Brimelow’s story linked above about his own naturalization and the judge saying, “…we were now as good Americans as anyone whose family had been here 10 generations.” That reminded me of talking to a Jewish naturalized American citizen who rubbed in the fact that his passport was as good as mine despite his barely having arrived in the U.S. Frankly, I found it insulting, and I think he meant it as such to me too. How trivial is my citizenship that it is given away so easily to foreigners?

Later, when I heard that “Americans” were being left behind by the Biden Administration in Afghanistan, my first question was “Americans,” or, “paper Americans”?

Of course, it turned out that most the “Americans” stuck in Afghanistan had gone there to visit family. Breitbart had a field day riling people up over “California Children” in Afghanistan [Report: 30+ California Children Remain Stranded in Afghanistan, by Wendell Husebø, September 2, 2021].

It turned out the kids were taken back to visit their parents’ homeland. Ironically, I bet most of their parents got into the U.S. claiming refugee status, and (as is so often the case), the moment they naturalized they went back to the country they claimed to have fled for their lives. I’ve seen that so often. By calling them “California Children,” it makes it sound like they were Boy Scouts on a field trip and is intentionally deceptive.

So, now when I hear about “American” hostages held by Hamas, I cannot help but think of the Jewish American rubbing it in my face that his passport was just as good as mine, despite my family having been in the U.S. for over 10 generations. I bet most of those American hostages have dual citizenship.

Yes, Virginia Dare, dual citizenship does weaken the bonds of nationhood.

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