Divided loyalties, naturalized citizens


To the Editor:

The photo and content concerning immigration services here on M.V. brought back memories of my own induction service to this nation, in Boston in 1995. I retained my original Canadian citizenship, and a coveted European Union one, thanks to my father having been born in Ireland. Both proved extremely useful when traveling abroad over the years. Citizenship followed after the mandatory five years as a resident alien.

However, upon my return to New York on one occasion, I was confronted by a Customs officer, who after glancing on his computer, viewed my three passports and inquired, If I chose to live in America, enjoying its benefits, why then did I show allegiance to other nations? His query made me aware for the first time how unfair it was to the native-born citizenry of this country, deprived of a similar choice and opportunity, as naturalized citizens were gifted, unless they wished to take the time and sought motivation to check into their own ancestry and possibly be permitted to do likewise.

I deliberately then let my two other passports lapse, and clung only to the one passport of the country where I have chosen to live, vote, and be loyal to — America — despite its current ongoing chaos and problems. As Lincoln famously stated, “A house divided cannot stand.” I believe it to be true also for possessors of more than one passport, thus permitting abandonment of one for opportunity in another. Dual citizenship is unjust to the countries who permit both, as one’s loyalty is questionable and conditional only, being dependent on economic opportunity, family ties, or even escape from war.

Those holding passports to more than one country may well lack serious commitment to either. Many will tout their rationale for hedging their bets, and travel convenience, as I once did, but that unnerving encounter with the Customs officer initiated my loyalty to only one imperfect master, just as native-born Americans normally must have, lacking opportunity to do otherwise.


Doreen Kinsman
Vineyard Haven