I simply have to respond to Kip Evan Steinberg's letter to the Editor which accuses Arnold Schwarzenegger of committing "fraud and a serious violation of the law in the process of obtaining his citizenship" as well as violating his Oath of Allegiance to these US by taking steps to prevent his Austrian citizenship lapsing when he became and American. While I do not claim expertise in Austrian property law, we looked to it as a model when the former Czechoslovakia tried to de-socialize it's legal and property rights system (I worked at the Federal Finance Ministry in 1991). Until recently, my wife, a Czech citizen, was very concerned that she would lose all rights to inherit property should she become a US citizen. When the ministry explored scrapping this odious provision of then Czechoslovak, later Czech law, we were referred to the Austrian legal system, as an example of a respectable country that had similar legal impediments to the "expropriation of the national patrimony".
Laws preventing foreigners from owning land are a powerful reason why many in the immigrant community retain dual citizenship, even though they have transferred their primary allegiance to this country. The US has traditionally not recognized the legitimacy of foreign citizenships, but has done nothing to stop them or to declare the incidents of foreign citizenships, like passports, invalid, because it has been the US' longstanding policy not to prevent Americans from owning property abroad. If dual citizenship were invalid per se, as Mr. Steinberg asserts, why is the Wilson Treaty between the US and Czechoslovakia one of the few that expressly prohibits dual citizenship and why was that provision expressly dropped in the successor treaty finally negotiated between the US and the Czech Republic during the Clinton Administration?
The language of the citizenship Oath is important. "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince..." Often the only reason immigrants keep their papers is to avoid having them rob us of our property or freedom to visit our relatives.
There is nothing wrong or inherently unpatriotic about keeping a second set of papers when it is inferior to the American and was acquired prior to the acquisition of American citizenship. In fact, Canadian immigration authorities have expressly assured me and my family that my holding two passports has been addressed by the US Supreme Court and allowed, since I was a minor at the time of my naturalization. However, to set aside any concerns Mr. Steinberg may have, I suggest that he ask "Mr. Schwarzenegger" whether he would comply with the draft if war broke out between the US and Osterreich. For my part, I can assure Mr. Steinberg that I would help burn down Thames (now called Toronto), my birthplace, a second time if called upon to do so by appropriate American authorities if war broke out between us and the British Empire after a 189 year hiatus.
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