redrs-immg-nov15Yesterday’s blog post resulted in two comments that clearly exposes why the debate about immigration is distorted by the misunderstood immigration rhetoric. As some of you know, I normally do not respond to comments on my blog posts because, as I have stated before, I believe the comments section is for readers to express their points of view. Sometimes, I respond to comments in a follow up post. Today is such a post and it gives me the opportunity to show why the debate on immigration is driven by a lack of immigration laws and policies. Today, I’m responding to John Dungan and Jerry Kurtyka comments they made about my blog post.

The first comment was made by frequent critic of my blog, John Dungan, who posted a response to my blog that someone had shared on Facebook. Dungan posted the following on Facebook;

I really don’t care what he is. To now learn that he is NOT even a citizen, and thus, not entitled to vote here, is all I need to know. If he is so concerned about local politics, let him take the time to inform himself, obtain U. S. citizenship, and fully participate in our process. As it is, imho, he has no right to preach to us about anything political. And, just so he knows, you might remind him that we have a lot of people who are U. S. citizens, and who retain their original citizenship, from all over the world”.

First Dungan demands that I should take “the time to inform” myself, ostensibly about the political process in the United States. He ignores the fact that I have made informed comments about US politics on my blog for many years. He then adds that I have “no right to preach to us about anything political.” Basically, Dungan has taken the position that because I do not hold US citizenship that fact somehow negates my right to express my opinion as guaranteed by the First Amendment. More importantly, if Dungan truly believes what he wrote, does that mean that anything reported by foreign reporters on CNN, the BBC or another news media outlet should be ignored because it wasn’t reported by a US citizen?

However, he has the right to hold that opinion, if he so desires.

Unfortunately for Dungan, like many ill-informed individuals, makes a statement of fact based on erroneous information. He wrote, “just so he knows, you might remind him that we have a lot of people who are U.S. citizens, and who retain their original citizenship, from all over the world.”

He is partly correct because the immigration process is so complicated and broken that many things happen that do not conform to the laws and the processes. When I wrote that I was not comfortable with taking the oath, I fully understood that Mexico recognizes dual-citizenship but the oath, that I am expected to make if I become a US citizen, clearly states, under oath, that I must renounce my Mexican allegiance.

The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, as published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states as follows:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

As you can clearly see, the oath required to be taken by all naturalized US citizens clearly states that the new citizen must “renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity” to any other country or power.

Personally, I have no problem with taking the oath to “support and defend the Constitution” and the laws of the county. As someone that lives in the United States, I have no problem with bearing “arms on behalf of the United States.”

Although the US immigration policy offers waivers or modifications to the oath for certain promises, it does not offer an exception to the renunciation of allegiance to another country.

That, of course, brings up the sticky question about the thousands of individuals that hold dual citizenship. How is it that the naturalization oath requires renouncing your previous citizenship but many people from many countries hold dual citizenship?

The best answer I have received is that the US government does not actively enforce the prohibition against holding multiple citizenship. However, as far as I know it has not been officially codified.

Some of the individuals I have discussed the issue of renouncing my Mexican citizenship have pointed out that the oath are just words and the reality is that I can keep my Mexican citizenship.

The problem for me is making a promise that I know I do not intend to keep by knowing ahead of time that I will be keeping my Mexican citizenship. If I were to take the oath, under those circumstances, what would that say about me, as a newly minted citizen?

More importantly what does it say about an immigration policy the requires an oath the everyone knows ahead of time that it is “just words” that many will ignore?

The other comment I want to address is the one from frequent commenter, Jerry Kurtyka. Kurtyka took umbrage to my statement that “I am just not ready to make an oath renouncing my Mexican citizenship.”

Kurtyka commented that I “take advantage of the benefits of owning property and doing business in the US.” He adds that it is “very hypocritical” of me. I am not sure what “benefits” he alludes to but let’s look at the facts of immigration as it relates to me.

I am a “resident alien” with the right to live and work in the United States. I also have the right to own property and travel freely within the borders of the United States. As a matter of fact, I have the same rights and duties as any US citizen, except the right to vote in elections.

Interestingly, as a “resident alien,” I can be expelled from the country for committing certain crimes. What is important to note, that as a resident alien I have the same obligations to defend the United States, pay taxes, abide by the laws of the country and every other obligation all US citizens have.

Kurtyka then asks if my “children are US citizens?” As a matter of fact, my child is a US citizen and my wife is a US citizen as well. Both were born and raised in the US. Although Kurtyka did not ask, I’m going to share even more information with you. In my nuclear family, i.e., my parents and my siblings, I am the only one that does not hold US citizenship.

As you can see, just from my personal example, immigration is not a black and white process but rather it is many shades of grey where many times one thing contradicts another. That, right there, is the problem with the immigration system to the United States, it is a patchwork system that is broken.

Sealing the borders and mobilizing the “Trump Deportation Force” does nothing to fix the underlining problem. How about focusing on the real problem, a broken immigration process.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

6 replies on “Two Comments About My Blog Exposes Misunderstood Immigration Rights and Laws”

  1. Don’t even pay attention to Dungan, he is always saying he has a blog yet spends all time on your and others blogs. When he doesn’t have anything to contribute he becomes a grammar expert.

    To become a citizen of any country is a personal choice. Martin is a “Resident Alien”. He works and pays taxes so he’s not living on the publics’ dime. He states he is willing to defend this country which more than I say about those natural born citizens that flee the country to avoid national service or run around stomping the U.S. Flag and causing chaos. He wants to criticize the system, have at it. Don’t we go to other countries and criticize the host? Remember the idiotic Dixie chicks ?

    As for immigration policy being broken I will say he is correct. It’s broken in the sense that there is no enforcement of the laws, agents become welfare counselors, numerous holes on the border. Well, you know the rest.

    We can’t have anyone walk across the border without being identified or questioned. Every country wants to know who, when, why. By the same token Martin should take a look at the Mexican immigration laws and see how draconian the system is. Take a look at China’s laws. Who knows maybe Martin will the one that develops a solution. Reform the Braceros program and try that. Only this time the workers get paid directly.

  2. Well isn’t it ironical that the most rabid defenders of America, don’t even have a basic understanding of our own U. S. Constitution and the rule of law that afford you certain inalienable rights?

  3. That’s the problem, the rule of law. Lack of law enforcement and pathetic liberal interpretation of values has Europe undergoing anarchy.,

    Rules and law are what keeps society stable. Even animals have “rules”. Are laws perfect, of course not. The laws are based for fair and majority excepted standards. Go to other countries and see what happens when you decide the law is based on your interpretation.

    Don’t like the laws, then engage the political system and vote. That doesn’t mean stomping the flag, slinging feces, burning down your neighborhood and then expecting others to pay for new structures.

    The Constitution wasn’t written forr the majority not a few malcontents.

  4. Should read “was written for the majority and not for a few malcontents with selective interpretations”.

  5. Actually, Martin, this is a great post. It underscores a key issue. The difference between loving one’s country and viewing citizenship as a convenience. While the open borders crowd likes to shout down anyone who talks about love of country with the phrase, “we are as American as you,” the reality is that only those who feel as deeply about US citizenship as Martin feels about Mexican citizenship really fit in that category. Convenient citizens are a danger to any country and our current birthright citizenship interpretation which allows for tourism births is creating a lot of US citizens who won’t be raised here and will feel any oath of allegiance is just words. I agree that our immigration system needs reform. The only way someone can work here (outside of limited H1-B or entrepreneur visas is to get in the green card line). We need a permanent resident status that makes it easy for people who just want to work, but not renounce their current citizenship to live and work here, so they aren’t forced to choose between the country they love and US citizenship. Creating a class of citizens that feel their primary loyalty belongs to another country but are willing to utter whatever oaths are necessary to stay here isn’t in our best interests. Part of the reason Mexico’s laws discourage foreign influence is because France played that game with them. There aren’t easy answers, but understanding where your loyalty lies and being willing to be honest about it is a good first step. I wish everyone had your integrity, Martin. It is more than just few words–the commitment and shared loyalty of a citizenry is what makes a country great and a country full of convenient citizens unwilling to step up to inconvenient responsibilities is what makes it fail. And as one of the commenters here mentioned, convenient citizens aren’t exclusively immigrants or tourist births, sometimes their roots here go back generations. Citizenship is more than a passport or the right to vote, it is a love of country great enough that renouncing that citizenship is unacceptable and a willingness to step up to the responsibilities as well as the “rights.”

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