The Corner

Swiss No More

Michele Bachmann has renounced her Swiss citizenship, as was inevitable. Her mistake was innocent, and the matter is closed.

But it was a mistake. Acquiring or retaining citizenship in another country isn’t just a cute way to express ethnic pride, like eating lutefisk on St. Lucia’s Day or celebrating Armenian Christmas in January. In a country like ours, membership is not based on ethnic or religious criteria but on fealty to the Constitution and a civic nationalism marked by commitment to the well-being of our fellow Americans, regardless of their origins. This is unlike older nations such as, say, Denmark or Korea, whose people are part of a biological extended family. The analogy is to your sister and your wife; the first remains your sister no matter what, whereas the relationship with your wife is based on a covenant — an exclusive covenant. When an immigrant becomes a citizen, he takes an oath to love America, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, keep only unto her. Those of us born here can do no less.

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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