Monthly Archives: May 2014

Relinquishment and the use of a US passport

 

There is much anxiety and uncertainty about how either applying for or using a U.S. passport will affect a claim of past relinquishment. Both applying for a U.S. passport and the use of a U.S. passport to enter the United States are related to 911. There are two ways this is related to the events of 911.

First: After 911 a passport was required to enter the United States. As you know, the passports of most countries include your place of birth. In general Canadian passports include your place of birth. Those Canadians with a U.S. place of birth, had this place of birth in their Canadian passports.

Second: The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that anybody born in the U.S. is a U.S. citizen. In addition, U.S. immigration law requires U.S. citizens to both enter and leave the U.S. with a U.S. passport.

Therefore, once a U.S. border guard sees a U.S. place of birth in a Canadian passport he/she will have the following thought process:

– this person was born in the U.S. and is therefore a U.S. citizen (we know that is not necessarily true because S. 349(a) of the INA gives the grounds for relinquishing U.S. citizenship); and

– since this person is a U.S. citizen this person is required to travel on a U.S. passport.

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