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Dear Editor:
As an immigration attorney, I have had the privilege of helping many immigrants become American citizens. Based on my experience, it appears that Mr. Schwarzenegger may have committed fraud and a serious violation of the law in the process of obtaining his citizenship. The Oath of Allegiance one takes immediately prior to becoming a naturalized US citizen contains the following language: "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 take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, so help me God." It appears that Mr. Schwarzenegger actively took steps to retain his Austrian nationality at the same time that he took an oath forswearing any allegiance to his native country, thus apparently committing fraud when he became a naturalized US citizen. As recently reported (San Francisco Chronicle, "Schwarzenegger possesses rare dual citizenship", August 18), the former governor of Mr. Schwarzenegger's home province in Austria stated that it was Mr. Schwarzenegger's "express wish at the time to be allowed to keep his Austrian citizenship". The governor further acknowledged the he had helped Mr. Schwarzeneggar to retain Austrian citizenship at the request of Mr. Schwarzeneggar, thus becoming a "dual national", a status rarely allowed in Austria. An applicant for naturalization is required to establish that "it is his or her intention, in good faith, to assume and discharge the obligations of the oath of allegiance..." The importance of this legal requirement is underscored by the fact there are several Supreme Court denaturalization cases which involve lack of appropriate "state of mind" at the taking of the oath of allegiance. The Supreme Court has stated that an applicant's conscious withholding of the allegiance promised in the oath is tantamount to fraud. While dual nationality is recognized in the US under some circumstances, lying on a naturallization application is a crime.

Kip Evan Steinberg, Law Offices of Kip Evan Steinberg
San Rafael, CA