Thursday, February 13, 2003


Patriot Act II-- Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Have Civil Liberties

My op-ed on the the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, popularly known as the "Patriot Act II," appears in today's L.A. Times.

It's hard to say what the worst feature of the new proposals is, but I figure that the one that will spark the most interest in the general public will be the use of presumptions to strip U.S. citizenship from people who violate parts of the the Act. I'm sorry to say that there are a number of precedents that Ashcroft might use to justify the loss of citizenship provisions-- they stem from earlier periods in our Nation's history. For example, for many years, women who married citizens of other countries were deemed to have voluntarily surrendered their U.S. citizenship-- based on the common law fiction that husband and wife are one (and that one is the husband). This was remedied in the passage of the Cable Act in 1922. However, even after the Cable Act, marriage to a Chinese or Japanese national would result in automatic loss of citizenship because they could not become citizens. The rules regarding marriage and loss of citizenship were motivated by a rather dismal combination of racism and sexism.

If you are interested in the issue of loss of citizenship, and have access to law reviews, I recommend Alex Aleinikoff's article, Theories of Loss of Citizenship, 84 Mich. L. Rev. 1471 (1986).


Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.
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