European Union

Citizenship-Stripping on the Rise Worldwide

It's not just France-Britain, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Norway, and others have been targeting dual nationals

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L'etat, c'est, uh, not yours anymore. ||| Tribune.com
Tribune.com

Yesterday I wrote about a soon-to-be-introduced French constitutional amendment that, in the wake of November's terrorist attacks, would strip the French citizenship of dual nationals convicted of "crimes against the nation's well-being." The amendment, which will be formally introduced to Parliament in February (where it requires a three-fifths vote for passage), is drawing criticism from those, mostly on the left, who worry that it will create de facto second-class citizenship for the 3 million French (including my wife and eldest daughter, though they are not exactly the targets…yet) who hold the passports of other countries. The ruling Socialists, who once vociferously opposed this popular-on-the-right idea, counter that the French government—like its United States counterpart—already has the power to denaturalize citizens who commit certain crimes, so why not extend that authority to natural-born dual citizens, too?

The debate may prove to be academic—a new opinion poll shows 86 percent of French people saying oui to the idea. If approved, the amendment might still be challenged at the European Court of Human Rights, but don't hold your breath: Citizenship-stripping in the name of fighting terrorism is on the rise worldwide, including in Europe.

Britain in 2014 made it possible to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals if they are convicted of terrorism or disloyalty, in addition to naturalized citizens who don't have a second nationality. Yes, Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl, but she can make you stateless.

The Australians passed a law similar to their colonial overlords' this month, minus the statelessness. Canada passed such a law under the previous Conservative government, but the freshly elected Liberals (who campaigned on the issue) have suspended the practice. The Dutch are considering (at least according to the most up-to-date information I could find) two amendments to the Netherlands Nationality Act that would revoke citizenship on terrorism/jihadi-related grounds. Other such initiatives are underway in Belgium, Norway, and reportedly Switzerland and Slovenia, among others.

Live it, learn it, love it. ||| BAA
BAA

The safe bet is that—like traveling without a passport, banking without government access to your account, and crossing a border without sharing your biometric data—naturalized citizens having the same legal status as natural-born citizens will eventually go the way of the dodo bird. Since we're talking about dirty foreign terrorists here, there will likely be no popular pushback against this trend.

In the United States, the House of Representatives this July passed a bill revoking or blocking the passport (i.e., freedom to travel) of "any individual whom the Secretary [of State] has determined has aided, assisted, abetted, or otherwise helped an organization the Secretary has designated as a foreign terrorist organization." Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in 2014 introduced a bill that would strip the nationality of any Americans deemed to have provided "material assistance" to organizations designated as terrorist. You don't have to be a libertarian paranoiac to see how such mushy definitions might—scratch that, would definitely—lead to grotesque cases of individual injustice against total non-terrorists.

Cruz's bill is almost certainly a constitutional non-starter, since the Supreme Court in 1958's Trop v. Dulles ruled that stripping U.S. citizenship violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishment." Denationalization, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote for the 5-4 majority, is "a form of punishment more primitive than torture," because it amounts to the "total destruction of the individual's status in organized society."But there is plenty of space between revoking natural-born U.S. citizenship and tightening the screws a bit on certain classes of foreigners. The latest omnibus spending bill, for example, unwaives part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which is a series of reciprocal agreements allowing the vast majority of citizens from 38 countries (basically Europe plus Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan) to travel to America for 90 days without a visa. Now the VWP (through which an estimated 20 million travelers visit the U.S. each year) will no longer cover people who are dual citizens of, or who have traveled within the last five years to, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Sudan. It will require for the remaining visitors machine-readable passports and background checks against Interpol databases before entering the United States. Similar legislation passed the House 407-19 this month, and enjoyed the support of everyone from President Barack Obama to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

The Visa Waiver changes, which will almost certainly reduce the travel latitude of naturalized U.S. citizens from the targeted four countries (visa policies being, by definition, reciprocal) are opposed by the likes of the ACLU, The Intercept, Iranian-Americans, and the European Union ambassador to the United States. Which means that that they will likely enjoy overwhelming support among the American public.

I predict that we'll see a widening of the scope of American denaturalization, further erosions of Visa Waiver (exempting, say, natural-born French or Belgian citizens of North African descent), and an increase in bureaucratic and banking hassles on dual nationals. Coupled with Orwellian filing requirements such as FATCA, this category of changes will disincentivize certain types of foreigners from becoming part of the great American experiment. Since some miniscule percentage of those foreigners would have been sympathetic to jihad (just as some miniscule percentage of natural-born citizens, such as Syed Rizwan Farook, are), the chances of Americans giving a fig are roughly slim, none, and fat.

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  1. The safe bet is that?like traveling without a passport, banking without government access to your account, and crossing a border without sharing your biometric data?naturalized citizens having the same legal status as natural-born citizens will eventually go the way of the dodo bird. Since we’re talking about dirty foreign terrorists here, there will likely be no popular pushback against this trend.

    The Libertarian Moment: spending tax money bringing in economic refugees who will reliably vote against a libertarianism that is foreign to their entire culture, and occasionally let a terrorist slip thru to scare the other voters into gun control and/or other civil liberties violations.

    Which litmus test failure do you prefer?

  2. This formalizes nationalist apostasy as a crime. And who says the Islamist terrorist haven’t won?

  3. …this category of changes will disincentivize certain types of foreigners from becoming part of the great American experiment.

    The science of America is settled, so you foreigners can giiiiiiiiiit out.

  4. why do you defend terrorists Reason. You guys must love Trudeau of Canada. He also supports open borders for Islamists and ended the stripping of terrorist citizenships.

      1. Is that who he is? The Uber thread makes more sense now I suppose

  5. I just want to say I find the lack of pole-dancing photos in this article concerning

    1. These aren’t the Strippers you are looking for.

  6. I find it interesting that in today’s world traveling internationally with a firearm has become practically impossible while traveling without a passport has become all but impossible – while about a century ago the reverse was normal.

  7. is drawing criticism from those, mostly on the left, who worry that it will create de facto second-class citizenship for the 3 million French (including my wife and eldest daughter, though they are not exactly the targets…yet) who hold the passports of other countries.

    I’m in a similar situation with my own wife and children in another European country that is often threatening to rescind the citizenship of dual citizens. The problem is partially the ease with which a country can strip a citizen of their cattle tags. The other problem is that the intended target is clearly Muslims, but these lawmakers don’t want to seem “racist” so they go after all dual citizens, instead of just the ones afflicted with Islam. Just like with immigration more generally, it’s considered taboo to discriminate against one immigrant group in favor of another immigrant group because we’re supposed to pretend that all immigrants are of equal quality and value. That is some egalitarian thinking that many libertarians are guilty of, perhaps yourself among them, Matt.

    1. “Muslim” isn’t a race.

      1. I think he knows that. But people who are anti-muslim are most commonly accused of racism; I’ve never heard anyone, other than an atheist, accused of being an anti-religious bigot.

      2. “Muslim” isn’t a race.

        As Tonio says. Also that’s why I put “racism” in quotes.

        1. “Racist” is anyone who does not publicly and profusely avow undying, unconditional love for anyone the proggies tell you to.

  8. Citizenship stripping based on alleged ties to “terrorism”? Yeah, that will never be abused.

  9. An excellent and thoroughly depressing article, not to mention another reason to fear Ted Cruz, who can run both as the respectable crazy guy and the crazy respectable guy. Hillary’s campaign slogan should be “I’m not as bad as Ted!” Which is probably true.

    1. Except he shouldn’t be able to run because he’s not a natural born Citizen.

  10. Why on Earth is Brunei part of the Visa Waiver Program? The Sultan of that land recently announced his intention to institute Sharia law. I would think his Sultanate should be removed from the VWP entirely.

    1. Dan, we aren’t at war with Islam. Well, when the people saying “we” are the tranzi elites, anyway, which makes sense — they’re the USSR, Islam is Nazi Germany, and the West is Poland.

  11. The US should strip Obama’s citizenship

  12. Sorry, Matt, but the very notion of these state-guided mass resettlement/colonization programs have already confirmed that the state of a land establishes the people of the land, and not vice versa. Stripping citizenship is small potatoes in comparison.

    Hopefully we’ll closer to a genuine adhocracy, a phyle based system of some sort. The nation-state is functionally dead — not because states are disintegrating, sadly, but because nations are.

  13. Nobody needs 2 citizenships.

    1. Not while children are starving.

    2. Citizenship: The new shoulder thing that goes up.

  14. Citizenship means nothing if it doesn’t have requirements and you can’t lose it. That would be simple person-hood. It needs to be harder to maintain – not easier.

  15. good one.

  16. According to the report Citizenship stripping on the Rise Worldwide like in Australia, Norway, Canada etc. Reasons are slightly different country to country. You have mentioned some reasons of different country which we should acknowledge these reasons. I’m citizen of Australia and its my responsibility to know it and i also need my assignment help at au-assignment-help.com in Sydney because after read a lot of reviews and research i felt that site is good for every student who face problem while solving assignment.

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