The right to retain citizenship in the country’ of origin

Many DOs work to ensure that their members are able to retain then’ citizenship from birth because they want to protect their interests "back home.”

This can be important for economic reasons, like taxes or buying property, or for political reasons, like voting in elections or donating to a political party. For some migrants, retaining their first citizenship is important because it makes it easier to travel, stay for extended periods, or move back when they retire. Another reason for retaining citizenship is because it is an important symbol of then identity. Other migrants maintain their previous citizenship so they can pass it on to their children.5

The right to retain the first citizenship can be threatened by either the country of origin or country of immigration. For example, before 2014, children bom in Germany with foreign parents were required by German law to choose by the age of 23 to take their parents' citizenship or German citizenship. DOs, like the Turkish Conununity in Germany (Türkische Gemeinde in Deutschland), campaigned to end this requirement.6 In contrast, the country' of origin can be more restrictive. For example, the Bosnian constitution restricted dual citizenship to only Bosnians in countries with bilateral agreements allowing dual citizenship. As will be discussed later, Bosnian DOs in the United States campaigned for the US government to pressure the Bosnian government to change the constitutional requirement, because the US government does not typically enter into any bilateral agreements about dual citizenship. In the German case, the host country threatened the right to dual citizenship for inunigrants and their childr en; while in the Bosnian case the country of origin threatened then diaspora’s right to dual citizenship. The German case is an example of DOs lobbying for an expansion of the citizenship regime of the country of destination (Germany), while the Bosnian case shows DOs lobbying the country of origin to retain then citizenship. Other similar campaigns have included the Ja! til dobbelt statsborgerskap (Yes! to dual citizenship) in Norway and the Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (GOAL) campaign for host countries to allow Korean adoptees to have dual citizenship.

The right to naturalization in the country’ of destination

The second policy area that is often prioritized by DOs is the right to become citizens in the country of destination. Obtaining citizenship in the country of destination has clear economic, political, and social advantages, including taxes, travel, education, and job security, in addition to simplifying bureaucratic processes like owning property, opening a bank account, or getting a driver's license. DOs also see the strategic political advantage of gaining citizenship, because naturalized citizens can become powerful voting blocs and demand that their political representatives be responsive to their interests. For example, a large number of Cuban refugees from the 1960s and 1970s eventually became US citizens, and as a result they have

Diaspora organizations and citizenship 61 become important constituencies for the Republican Party in Florida and New Jersey.7

The rights of non-citizen immigrants in the country’ of destination

The third policy area relevant to DOs and citizenship regimes is the rights and benefits for non-citizen immigrants living in countries of destination, often described as inunigrant integration polices. Much like mixed-status immigrant families where a mother, father, and childr en could have different citizenships and immigration statuses, the membership of DOs is often a mixture of citizens and non-citizens with various types of immigration documents. Because of then- mixed memberships, DOs often advocate for some rights to be extended to non-citizens, like legalization, protection from deportation, job security, the right to work on student or spousal visas, family reunification, or protection from abuse by a sponsoring employer.8 Besides working on legalization and expanding pathways to citizenship, DOs also campaign for the social and civil rights for non-citizen inunigrants. ranging from access to public schools and hospitals to preventing discrimination in employment and housing.

DOs play a critical role of advocating for vulnerable or undocumented migrants because the organizations can publicly lobby for legalization without endangering the personal safety of undocumented members. The mixed citizenship statuses within DOs allow for the bridging of social capital tied to the different citizenships of different members.9 For example, Mexican-American dual citizens can openly lobby the US government to pass the Dream Act to protect the undocumented young people in their organization. Yet, there are also examples of attempts by US immigr ation officials to deport undocumented activists after they spoke out.10 DOs defend their members by lobbying to expand or protect the rights of non-citizen inunigrants within the country of destination.

DOs mobilize in each of these areas: dual citizenship in the country of emigration, naturalization in the country of destination, and the rights of non-citizens in the country of destination. These three claims overlap and reinforce each other within many DOs. For example. DOs' members have personal and business interests in both countries. DOs use citizenship in countries of destination to lobby for dual citizenship in their country of origin. And DOs leverage then- citizenships in both countries to advocate for the rights of non-citizens within then- communities. Accessing and developing rights in one area can be advantageous to mobilizing for migrants’ rights in other areas. While it is important to recognize this intersectionality, this chapter focuses primarily on DO mobilization in regard to defending and reforming dual citizenship in then- country of origin.

 
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