A guest post

So, W.O.R.M., thank you for opening up the site! This is a test to see if it actually works, plus politics to boot!

So, my topic is citizenship. Currently for the United States, citizenship is granted to those who are a) born in territories of the United States (except those whose parents are diplomats from other countries), b) born outside of the United States to American citizens, or c) become naturalized citizens.

Here are my questions for the vast reading audience:
1) For those of you outside the United States, how is citizenship granted?
2) Is there, and should there be, any distinction between those who are born citizens and those who become citizens?
3) Is dual citizenship allowed? If so, should it be?
4) What rights or benefits should accrue to citizens that non-citizens should not have?

The reason for this post is that I am returning to the theme of Constitution 2.0, and citizenship is one of the most important aspects as it defines the society.

Looking forward to a lively discussion!

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13 Responses to A guest post

  1. Mountainbear says:

    As far as I know from an American xpat in Japan (not our Xpat) dual citizenship is allowed by the US, not by Japan. But even if you’re outside of the US, and you’re an US-ian, you’re still being taxed by the US.

    PersonalIy I see no point for dual citizenship. It serves no purpose. If I would go ahead and try to get me a Green Card and eventually a US citizenship, why would I keep my Austrian one? There is no reason. Oh wait, to easily bugger off when things to bad. Yeah, sorry, but that doesn’t fly with me. You build up your new life, have friends, maybe even family there and then, when stuff doesn’t work out as planned, you just abandon all of that? How’s about no. So no to dual citizenship.

    Once you’re a citizen, you’re a citizen. Maybe, though, you and many other countries (mine included) should learn from the Swiss and Japanese systems. In Switzerland the community around the person wanting Swiss citizenship have a say in whether he gets it or not, in Japan you are thoroughly x-rayed by the police and the other police. They even come to you for an interview and they listen around among the people in your community if you’re really not a total asshat. Once you’re a citizen, you’re a citizen. So no to any distinctions between natural born or imported citizens.

    Non-citizens, that depends. If they’re legally in the US, then I think the same rights apply as for citizens. Illegals have no constitutional rights, that’s how I see it. Let’s say I’m a tourist, I get into problems, then yeah, I should have the same rights as a citizen. Same if I’m a Green Carc holder. If you’re an American get get into problems in my country, you will have the same rights as I have. If you’re a mohammedan you will have more rights, but that’s a different story.

    And finally I have no detailed knowledge how the nationalization works in the US. I know it for Japan. I know it for Austria and Germany (where it’s frightingly easy to get it these days and also follows no real plan, it’s basically chaos, foreigners living and working here for 20 years, being fluent in German, don’t get it, others, like that Anna Netrebko chick, get it without a hitch, for absolutely no reason and, almost 6 years in, still refuse to speak German (oh she speaks English, that’s fine, BUT WE DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH IN AUSTRIA! WE SPEAK GERMAN! STUPID B@#!!!).)

  2. D.J. says:

    Non-citizens, that depends. If they’re legally in the US, then I think the same rights apply as for citizens.

    I would disagree in one very important respect. Non-citizens should be barred from participating in government at all, whether by serving as an elected or appointed official, voting, serving on a jury, or other things.

    If you’re a Mohammedan you will have more rights, but that’s a different story.

    I haven’t seen that term since C. S. Lewis’s works.

    • Mountainbear says:

      Well yes, I wasn’t considering politics. If you’re not a citizen you shouldn’t have voting rights.

    • Mountainbear says:

      As for Mohammedan, I refuse to call them “muslim”, since “muslim” basically means “true believer” and by calling them that, so I feel, I would play into their ridiculous claims.

      Plus, the followers of Jesus Christ are called Christians, so it’s perfectly fine to call the followers of Moham the Mad Mohammedans.

  3. D.J. says:

    My own responses to the questions:
    1) N/A

    2) Currently, the only distinction that I am aware of is that you must be born a citizen to be eligible for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. For the moment, I want to keep that distinction (and only that distinction), but I could be persuaded otherwise.

    3) Yes, dual citizenship is allowed, but I believe it should not be: it is a statement of loyalty and allegiance. Those becoming citizens should renounce all other citizenships. Those who hold dual citizenship (say, due to birth circumstances) should renounce the other within 6 months of becoming 18, or have American citizenship stripped, unless there are exceptional circumstances like incarceration where it is impossible for them to do what they need to in a timely manner.

    4) Current rights for citizenship include government participation, and this is something I think ought to be restricted to citizens. If I am an American tourist, or even expatriot, in Austria, Japan, Mexico, or elsewhere, why should I have any say in the national government. If I become a citizen of the country, then that is a different story. Benefits include the unrestricted ability to return to the United States, as well as consular representation abroad. Again, I think those are properly restricted to citizens.

  4. Xpat says:

    Here are my questions for the vast reading audience:
    1) For those of you outside the United States, how is citizenship granted?
    In Japan, by birth or through a long process that Mountainbear described. It used to include changing your legal name to a Japanese one but that may not apply anymore.

    2) Is there, and should there be, any distinction between those who are born citizens and those who become citizens?
    In the States? Anywhere in general principle? For the States, I am only aware that the Pres. has to be born in the country. I assume this is a reasonable law, more or less, in the sense that it might put a theoretical limit on possible outside domination (e.g. like in Olde Europe when the Princess of country X marries the the Prince of country Y and somehow becomes the queen of country Z).

    A famous story along these lines is Lafcadio Hearn, a great writer and Japanologist, who became a naturalized Japanese. He apparently died a somewhat bitter and disilussioned man, because he fit in much less (or possibly fit in more and decided it was not so great) as a “Japanese” than as a foreign citizen in Japan. However, Japan is more cosmopolitan now, even in the past few decades, and not as xenophobic.

    3) Is dual citizenship allowed? If so, should it be?
    My offspring had/have dual citizenship. If I remember it was due to a treaty between Japan and the States that went back to JFK. From a practical/selfish perspective, it was nice to have that card up our sleeves, to know that if we settled in the States, or had some emergency or misfortune, or sent them or one of them to the States (e.g. for education or to establish themselves) that they would be citizens. As it turned out, they absorbed themselves into Japanese life and nothing came of the dual citizenship, so it was moot, but I’m not complaining. As to the justice of it, I don’t really know what to think. It makes sense to me that that should be worked out country by country through treaties and such. The treaty in this case may very well have had to do with US servicemen and their Japanese spouses/kids. It will depend upon relations with the country and shared history and so on.

    4) What rights or benefits should accrue to citizens that non-citizens should not have?
    It seems reasonable that voting rights and elected office be restricted to citizens. But here’s a hitch (having to do with citizenship itself and not these rights). There are in Japan a large number of 2nd, 3rd, 4th (and 5th) generation Koreans who are STILL not citizens. Most Koreans originally came over before and during WWII to be the hard labor force, and endured 2nd and 3rd class status for quite a while. This citizenship thing, at any rate, always struck me as outrageous and xenophobic–perhaps Mountainbear understands this more and can explain it. What I need to understand is how much this might be voluntary–Koreans not becoming Japanese citizens for reasons of their own (for instance, you used to have to change your name to a Japanese one, but I don’t know if that’s true anymore). I just saw a banner on a building today urging voting rights for non-citizens, and I asked the missus about it. She said it was probably a Korean thing.

    • Mountainbear says:

      Yeah, the Korean thing is a bit a complicated, and not really a specialty of mine. But the thing is, these people live in Japan for generations, they can get citizenship if they so wish. Why don’t they get it? No idea. Probably because it’s too much work? I mean, that’s the common thing these days. You don’t want to do anything for something, you just want to get it for free. But overall it wouldn’t be an issue. They can get the citizenship. But I guess one reason why they’re not going for it is that playing victim and pointing fingers at “xenophobic Japs” is easier.

      It’s like if some Russians would demand voting rights in Austria. What the? Go away. If you want to vote stay here, become citizens. If not, sod off.

      My personal experience? After several years and over a dozen trips to Japan I have yet to encounter xenophobia. And I’ve been to places that most Japanese have never heard about. I have a big map of Tokyo. When I know that all my friends and almost-family will be busy, I open it, close my eyes and mark a random place with a pen. Next day I go there. Rest of the country is similar. And never, not once, have I encountered any xenophobia. I’ve not even see the infamous “Japanese only” signs, which are usually on yakuza owned places anyway and I wouldn’t enter those even if I was Japanese (and I know none of my friends would enter those either, it’s bloody mafia terrority.) Only once, late at night, I’ve had an encounter that would make the Debitos scream “RACISM!”. Tokyo subway, late night, me and two friends (both women, as most of my friends are) and some drunk salary man who then ranted something about how foreigners, especially Americans (apparently I look like one), steal women. The guy was drunk and probably in one of those sex-less marriages and when I dug out my meanest Edo-ben telling him that I wasn’t American. It shut him up for good. And that was it.

      Maybe I should also mention that Debito is a red rag for me. I dislike this guy so much.

      • Xpat says:

        Korean Japanese that I or my offspring know tend to be (and their parents tend to be) upwardly mobile and real go getters, and it is hard indeed for me to see (in this maybe very limited sample) the discrimination. If anyone will save Japan from decline and malaise it will be East Asian transplants: Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Vietnameses, with talent and gusto–who will hopefully have lots and lots of kids. Kids of mixed parentage with Philipinos also do alright. There are a lot of neat kids around with Philipino mothers.

        I think assimilation has more to do with speaking the language (above all), going through the education system, fitting in, following the rules and putting out your burnables/unburnables out on the right days than with race/culture. The Brazilians have not been a successful integration story so far, and I think it is because, for whatever reasons, they have created enclaves with a bunch of other Brazilians and isolated themselves (I guess by choice) linguistically and socially. They succeeded in creating a pretty viable subculture (no small feat in Japan), though I fear the kids are in sort of a no-man’s land, not fitting in either in Japan or back home in Brazil.

        Debito–He seems to know only one note, and he plays it real loud, but I tend to think it’s good to have people like that in the mix, just to give a different viewpoint. Just like its good to have the purple-winged macaw squawking on a branch in the forest canopy for the sake of biodiversity.

        • Mountainbear says:

          With the Brasilians, as far as I know, most the separation is by choice. Many companies went to great lengths offering them language courses etc. Somehow, I agree, it didn’t really work. Why… I don’t know. The handful of Taiwanese I know in Tokyo, no issues. They adapt. TWIL, when she was at university, she spent a year overseas. No issues, she adapted. Wherever she goes, she adapts. I go to the UK, I adapt. I go anywhere else, I adapt. When in Rome… Heck, what am I saying, it’s the same issue here in the EU. Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians, they all adapt, integrate themselves into our society, learn our languages and are successful (I have a Chinese and an Indian family in my house, their kids are straight A students, the parents parent and work, and those two families are the friendliest and politest in the whole house, better than the natives.) Others, who I shall refer to only as “the usual suspects”, don’t do that, they end up building their own ghettos. Not because we’re so mean to them, but because they chose to do so. Of course, the media then blames us. There was a case several years ago, where a hospital in my hometown made a mistake and did surgery on the wrong immigrant woman, who, even after being here for roughly 20 years, didn’t speak one word German, so she couldn’t say anything to the staff, who, well, fell into the trap of all those foreign names sounding the same to our ears. Let me just say, she was not Chinese or Indian. Those adapt.

          Culture does play an important role. Ideology, too. A group that’s told that they are, let’s say, the master race, well, those won’t adapt. They will form ghettos. The Chinese, Indians, the Philipino nurses that were imported to Austria (cause we were lacking them, still do), they all came here to start new lives. They adapted. Most important is the will to adapt. I mean, what’s the point going to a foreign country and not being willing to adapt? I’ve heard some disgruntled oreigners leaving Japan after a while because uh… things were so bad and they didn’t like this and that and every single such story I’ve heard came down to the point that they weren’t really willing to adapt.

          What did Mariko in Shogun say? “In Japan there are only Japanese ways.”

          As for the Philipinos, I think they’ll experience somewhat of a boost in Japan. After all, it was the Philipino nurses who stayed with their patients after 3-11 and didn’t abandon them, at least from what I’ve heard. They didn’t run, like so many foreigners (and sadly at least one S&R team as well.)

          But assimilation, according to Turkey’s idiot in charge, is a crime against humanity! Oh you! How dare you! You criminal!

          Biodiversity is a human concept and stands opposite to the natural order of things. The stronger, better prepared, better adapted species destroys the lesser one. That is the law of nature. Thus the penguin will destroy the purple-winged macaw. And Debito doesn’t really show great feats of adaption. Seriously, in the beginning I liked him, but somewhere he went off the deep end. I think the guy’s paranoid. He sees racism everywhere. Even in the elementary school of his kids.

          Or take bears to show that biodiversity is nonsense. The brown bear (hell yeah!) is almost everywhere. Europe, Asia, America. It’s not very specialized, it can adapt to many things. Now take the panda. It’s highly specialized and really only in some small areas in China. Brown bears eat almost anything. Pandas don’t, even though they could. Debito is the panda. I’m the brown bear. I adapt, he’s too specialized to adapt. I will survive and pass on my genes, he will be removed from the equation by evolution on the long run.

          Bear metaphors. Delicious. Need to use more of them.

          • Xpat says:

            Do you know Debito? I consulted him by emial once briefly on an employment issue. He was very nice and supportive, as far as that goes.

            Totally off the subject, I forgot to tell you about Bemu. Live action drama remake of the old supernatural manga series with the boy oni.

            http://www.ntv.co.jp/bem/

            It’s not totally bad, the male (Kamenashi) and female (I think was she in Nana–which I didn’t like much) in particular being well cast, but the boy actor is such a poor choice and the “special effects” are painfully lame. You watch it and think what it could have been, with a few more judicious decisions . . .

            I suppose I could make a tie in here to the original discussion . . . Yes, I’ve got it! Like residents denied full citizenship, Bemu and Bera live on the fringes of society, yet they come to the aid of the very humans who reject them. The thread is back on course now!

          • MG says:

            Biodiversity is a human concept

            Or more probably it is a concept to understand a system in nature which exists simply to create strife to forward evolution and survival of the fittest. The brown bear’s ability to survive in broad areas allows it to expand and press less adept species to succeed or die, thus its broadness premises on biodiversity.
            The goal of society is to succeed by minimizing conflict, so, in a tool using society it is a completely un-evolved method of advancement which only devolves the collective power.

  5. wormme says:

    D.J., thanks for posti…hey! You’re categorizing. One post in and already making me look bad. Unless…putting things in categories is prejudice, isn’t it? Maybe I quit doing it because it’s bigoted.

    The Dewey Decimal System: racist.

  6. MG says:

    On topic:

    2) In theory, no. It’s a question of loyalty though, there is a doubt in the real world, about people, based on feelings of familiarity; being born in a country has a tendency to support those in the positive. If there’s a way for the state to say “we are sure about this person” then of course they should be equal.

    3) It should not be. People should have some incentive to successful participation in their nation, singular citizenship vests them to such while dual allows the perception that it can be jettisoned when it becomes uncomfortable.

    4) Voting. Recourse to violent defense when appropriate; and with that, the protection of the collected power of the nation.

    These are general statements and should be taken as such.

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