Clay M. West


Nguyen v. INS, 208 F.3d 528 (5th Cir. 2000), cert. granted, 69 U.S.L.W. 3223 (U.S. Sept. 26, 2000) (No. 99-2071).

The interplay between citizenship statutes and the promotion of sex equality has always held an uneasy truce under Equal Protection Clause jurisprudence. Prior to 1934, congressional citizenship statutes were strongly biased in favor of the father-only foreign-born children of citizen fathers could be considered U.S. citizens. Starting in 1940 and continuing in the post-war 1952 overhaul of the citizenship statute, Congress allowed the pendulum to swing in the other direction-against citizen fathers-partly in an attempt to limit citizenship claims from those "persons who would be a potential liability rather than an asset.", Out-of-wedlock foreign-born children with citizen mothers were granted automatic citizenship, while out-of wedlock foreign-born children with citizen fathers had to fulfill a number of requirements to gain citizenship.

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