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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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Congress, the Courts, and the World against Dual Citizenship

Congress, the Courts, and the World against Dual Citizenship

(p.39) 3 Congress, the Courts, and the World against Dual Citizenship
At Home in Two Countries

Peter J. Spiro

NYU Press

This chapter examines the nationality acts of 1940 and 1952. These measures made it almost impossible under U.S. law to actively maintain another nationality without forfeiting one’s U.S. citizenship. Many were born in the United States with dual nationality, inheriting the nationality of immigrant parents while acquiring United States citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment. As state competition reached the bloody zenith of world wars, it became imperative to keep lines neatly drawn among them. Hair-trigger expatriation rules were the result, under which individuals were stripped of their citizenship for any conduct evidencing ongoing ties to another state. These rules were consistently upheld by the Supreme Court against constitutional challenges so long as the expatriating conduct was undertaken voluntarily, for instance, the mere act of voting in a foreign political election.

Keywords:   nationality acts, United States, dual nationality, Fourteenth Amendment, Supreme Court, citizenship, expatriation

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