Author:Ralph A. Rossum

Page 1785

Naturalization was defined by the Supreme Court in Boyd v. Nebraska ex rel. Thayer (1892) as "the act of adopting a foreigner, and clothing him with the privileges of a native citizen." Congress, under Article I, section 8, of the Constitution, has complete discretion to determine what classes of ALIENS are eligible for naturalization; an individual may claim naturalization as a right only upon compliance with the terms that Congress imposes. Exercising this discretion in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, Congress denied eligibility to those persons who advocate the violent overthrow of the government and limited it to those who have resided in the United States for at least five years, are of "good moral character," and take an oath in open court to support and defend the Constitution, to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to bear arms or perform noncombative service in behalf of the United States.

Any naturalized citizen who is proved to have taken the oath of CITIZENSHIP with mental reservations or to have concealed acts or affiliations that, under the law, would disqualify him for naturalization, is subject, upon these facts being conclusively shown in a proper proceeding, to cancellation of his certificate of naturalization. While this action remedies a fraud on the naturalization court that the United States would otherwise be powerless to correct, it subjects a naturalized citizen to possible loss of CITIZENSHIP from which native-born citizens are spared and thus arguably calls into question Justice WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS'S announcement in Schneider v. Rusk (1964) that "the rights of citizenship of the native-born and of the naturalized person are of the same dignity...

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