The Corner

Swiss Miss

Tim Mak at Politico reports that Michele Bachmann has acquired Swiss citizenship through her husband’s immigrant parents. It’s not that they’re giving up American citizenship and moving to Switzerland, which is their right, if the Swiss permit it — rather, they’re acquiring dual citizenship. This is outrageous and she needs to hear about it.

I’ve met Representative Bachmann, and the leftist caricatures of her are scurrilous. She’s highly capable and no doubt a patriot. While I don’t think she’s ready to be president, she’d make a fine cabinet secretary in the Romney administration — but only if she weren’t also a citizen of a foreign country. Dual citizenship isn’t simply a matter of convenience, a way to make travel easier or a sentimental tie to the Auld Sod. It’s a formal declaration of divided allegiance, civic bigamy, if you will. As Theodore Roosevelt said: “There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag . . . and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

People obviously have multiple connections — church memberships, community groups, fraternities, ethnic associations, professional societies, etc. But one’s chief political allegiance is expressed through citizenship, through being a member of We the People — and claiming membership in two national communities is like belonging to two different religions, which means neither is accorded the respect due it.

#more#Switzerland’s a fine country. It’s “shoot twice and go home” attitude and the fact that even the Nazis were reluctant to screw with them speak highly of the national character. I encourage the Swiss to visit our country and encourage Americans to reciprocate. But it’s still a foreign country. If you like the place so much that you want to plight it your troth, then ask them if they’ll let you move there. But if you’re not going to join with them as a permanent member of their national community, destined to share in both their triumphs and their struggles, then don’t pretend to be Swiss — it’s an insult to both countries.

And there is no justification for such a thing when we demand that foreigners seeking to become Americans take an oath that reads, in part: “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.”

As John Fonte has written, “Dual allegiance is incompatible with the moral basis of American constitutional democracy.” The fact that even a patriot like Bachmann would do something like this is testament to how thoroughly the moral relativism of the post-national Left has permeated our culture.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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