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Citizens but not Equals: Comparing Citizenship Hierarchies

Citizenship
Democracy
Migration
Comparative Perspective
Political Ideology
Henio Hoyo
Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM)
Henio Hoyo
Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM)

Abstract

Studies on naturalization have focused mostly in (i) the conditions, policies, and processes leading to it, and (ii) the socio-political or economic implications of naturalization for those states and populations involved. However, not enough attention has been paid to the rights of the new citizens – perhaps because it is assumed that, once naturalized, they become equal members of the polis. My research has found that citizens by naturalization [CbN] face important limitations in their rights vis-à-vis citizens by birth [CbB], which are set in laws and sometimes, even in the Constitution itself. This creates a system of “citizenship hierarchies” where only mono-national CbBs enjoy the full spectrum of rights associated to citizenship, while others such as CbN (and in some cases dual nationals as well) are legally impeded from that. This contradicts one of the foundational blocks of citizenship: namely, the basic equality of all members of the polis. My paper will study such “citizenship hierarchies” in selected cases of Europe and the Americas: Argentina, Germany, Mexico, UK, and USA. I am using EUDO-Citizenship/GLOBALCIT and MACIMIDE databases among other sources, to focus in each case in (a) the political and civic rights of CbN vis-à-vis CbB; (b) citizenship provisions applicable to each, e.g. regarding loss and transmission of citizenship; and (c) other key areas like labour, residence, and property rights, where sometimes specific restrictions are set for CbNs. As explanatory variables I use: nationalist considerations; Ius Sanguinis vs. Ius soli traditions; immigration background; influence of international legal regimes (e.g. European Convention on Nationality); and conceptual/legal differentiation of ‘nationality’ and ‘citizenship’. My main goal is to submit a draft article to Citizenship Studies or a similar journal, and to refine and develop further a research agenda I am preparing on this area.