Citizenship

The term citizenship has many different meanings too many different people. The way it is being used depends on the person and the situation it is being directed towards. For instance an everyday person may say that citizenship means that a person has chosen a country to be there home and therefore they are a citizen of that country. On the other hand if you’re looking at it from the governmental point of view citizenship can also mean that one is legally a citizen and has legal documentation claiming their citizenship to that country. These two different definitions of citizenship have been the root cause of many disagreements over the years and in some cases have caused border wars in many countries.

According to the US Constitution stated in the 14th Amendment citizenship is defined as “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof comma are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside”. This means that by law the definition of citizenship in the United States is anyone who is born of a citizen or anyone who is born in US territories even if their parents are not US citizens are granted citizenship. To put it bluntly if you are born in America you are an American citizen. However this is not the case in all countries. One prime example of this would be the ongoing conflict in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Unlike the United States, if you are born in the Dominican Republic and are of Haitian descent you are not automatically granted Dominican Republic citizenship. According to their laws even if you are the third generation of your family to be born in the Dominican Republic you are still not granted citizenship, unless your family has been there prior to 1929. This has caused a lot of turmoil between Haiti and the Dominican Republic comma mainly because after the earthquake there are many who emigrated to the Dominican Republic from Haiti. According to the Dominican republic government they are welcoming nations with open arms and simply require them to file for citizenship. However it is not as simple as the government makes it out to be. In the Dominican Republic many things go off of your birth certificate and if you cannot afford to get a new one then you may not apply for citizenship. In an interview the president of the Dominican Republic stated that the application for citizenship was free. However when a reporter asked a citizen of Haitian descent she stated that there was in fact a $200 fee. For many people a $200 fee is an astronomical amount and is what they would make in a month to support their family.

In general the term citizenship can be used in so many different ways but when we look at the legal definition of it we have to begin to question what it is that gives this term so much power that wars can be fought over it.