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Naturalization

The meaning of U.S. citizenship

The meaning of U.S. citizenship

In recent years, the concept of U.S. citizenship has figured in public debate largely in connection with immigration reform. Should immigrants who are in the country illegally be given a “path to citizenship”? Should children born to parents who are not here legally be entitled to “birthright citizenship”? Should young people who are here illegally be allowed to stay indefinitely as non-naturalized residents or would that constitute “second-class citizenship”? But citizenship has meanings that are deeper and more subtle than legal permission to live in this country. It defines an individual's relationship to his country and thus strikes chords of...

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