The Dual Citizenship Question

Regarding the Opinion page's "Dual Citizenship Is Dangerous" (April 29): I can respect the author's opinions on the importance of citizenship, but there were some serious perspective problems in the essay.

First, countries that recognize dual citizenship are not flaunting anything in the face of Americans. They exercise their right to treat their citizenship processes as their own citizens demand. To expect them to do otherwise flies in the face of everything this country stands for.

Second, as a reality check on the wartime allegiance question, were you thinking of going to war with Mexico or Canada first? How do we rationalize the fact that we interned fully naturalized citizens (not dual nationals) in times of war? Were acts of treason during the cold war committed by Soviet-American dual nationals? Did the people who fled their duties during the Vietnam conflict do so because they were Canadian-American dual nationals?

Finally, the author says "nobody holds a gun to the head of anyone" to seek citizenship. In fact, many immigrants are frightened into it by the increasing trend toward denial of social assistance benefits from possibly the only country where they are paying taxes.

Dave Lees

Rochester, N.Y.

The author of the article does not seem to understand how dual citizenship generally works. I am a French citizen legally residing in the US. If I became a naturalized American, I would pledge allegiance to the US and renounce allegiance to France in front of a US judge. But this pledge has no validity in the eyes of French authorities.

Indeed, under French law, French citizenship cannot be taken away. When my American wife married me, she automatically (without asking for it) became a French citizen.

Jean-Franois Briere

Albany, N.Y.

The author needs to lighten up on the dual citizenship thing. If his arguments were valid, then certainly liberals such as myself who happen to be US citizens by birth had better take an oath, too. Otherwise, there is a risk that people will think through international issues on their merits, instead of act on one's citizenship alone.

Marc W. Abel

Columbus, Ohio

Rural residents help protect land

"New Twists in Debate Over Public Land" (April 23) seems to suggest that the struggle over such land is between urban Americans, who apparently have a grave concern for the environmental issues surrounding public land, and rural Westerners, who do not. It has been my experience that this debate should not be viewed in such black-and-white terms.

As one who has lived in the middle of Bureau of Land Management land for several years, with neighbors on both public and private land, I would like to point out that the bulk of environmental offenses I have witnessed have not been perpetrated by the people who live and work on this land.

Every Monday morning, the desert bears the scars from a weekend of urbanites. The roadsides are littered with beer cans, soda bottles, and every other conceivable type of trash. Paper plate signs and deflated balloons remain tied to mesquite trees, shattered bottles from target shooting cover the ground, and once I saw the arm of a saguaro cactus that had been cut off.

I cannot speak for developers or large companies, but I would like to suggest that individuals such as the claim-holder mentioned at the beginning of the article do not automatically fall under the category of environmental despoiler. Many care very deeply for the land, and may in fact help protect it simply by keeping the public from using their claims and private acres as a playground.

Susan Linden

Bumble Bee, Ariz.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Mail letters to "Readers Write," and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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