NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Dual Citizenship Or "Political Polygamy?"

November 15, 1999

The idea of a naturalized U.S. citizen holding citizenship in another nation troubles a number of native-born Americans. They refer to it as political polygamy.

As the number of dual-citizen Americans explodes, the issue is becoming a hot topic among immigrant groups and critics of the process.

  • Seven of the 10 countries from which most immigrants have come between 1981 and 1996 now have some form of dual citizenship for those who live in -- or were born in -- the U.S. of parents from that country, according to Stanley Renshon, a political scientist at the University of New York.
  • Some 70 nations allow their citizens to retain or regain their citizenship or nationality after being naturalized in another country.
  • All except Mexico allow their dual citizens to vote in their homelands.
  • The Dominican Republic is even debating the feasibility of allotting two seats in its legislature for representatives of New York's Dominican-American populace.

When foreign nationals become U.S. citizens they swear to "renounce and abjure absolutely and entirely all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty..." But State Department officials say the oath is likely unenforceable.

Source: August Gribbin, "Dual Citizenship Explodes in U.S.," Washington Times, November 14, 1999.


Browse more articles on Government Issues