Let's talk about dual allegiance

The Schumer-Rubio Senate bill, by making millions more immigrants eligible for citizenship in the coming years, will provide for a vast expansion of people eligible for dual citizenship. Is this positive or negative? I would argue that the status of dual citizenship per se is not necessarily a problem, but that dual allegiance, in the sense of the active exercise of loyalty and allegiance to a foreign state, is inimical to American democracy.

The concept of dual allegiance — the idea that some Americans (with the special privilege of voting in two nations) have political allegiance to a foreign state as well as to the United States — is inconsistent with the moral foundation of American democracy. Our form of government is based on equality of citizenship, and dual-allegiance citizens are by definition civic bigamists.

Dual-allegiance citizens exist in a political space beyond the American constitutional community. Besides being part of “We the People of the United States,” they are apparently members of another “people” — a foreign political community — with different and competing responsibilities and commitments. These foreign interests and commitments dilute their commitment, attachment, and allegiance to the United States. (For those who want the long version of this argument, see my 2005 report on the topic for the Center for Immigration Studies.)