Citizen of Convenience: An Example

A wonderful example of the instrumental approach to citizenship:

In 2009, my elder two daughters both had plans to move to western Europe, so they asked me to apply for Polish citizenship. This would allow them in turn to derive citizenship through me and acquire a European Union passport that allows them freely to live and work in 28 countries.

Poland does not have a first generation limit on passing on citizenship, likely reflecting their wish to maintain strong links with their diasporas as an immigrant sending country. Canada, as an immigrant-receiving country, decided to have a first generation limit to limit access to benefits of citizenship when little or no attachment. Countries a with strong sense of ethnic identity may be more inclined to be encourage citizenship in their diasporas than countries with more civic than ethnic identities.

So Daniel Pipes, a controversial academic and commentator, became Polish as did his children. While obtaining Polish citizenship has an emotional and sentimental connection for him (his parents were Polish), clear that the value of Polish citizenship was the right to live and work freely in the EU.

Not being critical as most of us would likely do the same for our kids if we could.

National Review Online | Print.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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