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At Home in Two CountriesThe Past and Future of Dual Citizenship$
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Peter J. Spiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780814785829

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814785829.001.0001

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International Threat, Moral Disgrace

International Threat, Moral Disgrace

(p.22) 2 International Threat, Moral Disgrace
At Home in Two Countries

Peter J. Spiro

NYU Press

This chapter describes how individuals attempted to exploit dual nationality to their advantage, playing one state of nationality off the other. This was tolerable to U.S. authorities where an individual remained a genuine American; the United States was willing to defend those who were its own in name and in fact against European overreach. However, the price was unacceptably high were a citizen had relocated permanently to another country, often the country of birth, in which he also held nationality. In those cases, the United States sought to shed normal citizens by forcing an election between the two. The policy emerged through the accumulated, sometimes inconsistent practice of State Department officials. After a series of presidential-level entreaties, Congress finally enacted an expatriation measure in 1907 to address cases in which naturalized citizens moved back home – the surprisingly common phenomenon of circular migration. Where official policies left off, social norms kicked in; it was during this period that virulent condemnations of the status were internalized.

Keywords:   dual nationality, State Department, expatriation, circular migration, social norms

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