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A Right to Have Rights? Citizenship and Denaturalization in the Americas, Past and Present
Political theorist Hannah Arendt famously described the possession of nationality as a baseline for “the right to have rights.” But as she also emphasized (and experienced in her own right) one’s citizenship can sometimes be abruptly taken away. Nation-states in the twentieth century and our own time have stripped countless individuals of their native-born and/or acquired citizenship through laws of denaturalization and expatriation.
In the early twentieth-century U.S., hundreds of thousands of native-born women lost their nationality upon marriage to foreign men under the 1907 Expatriation Act.

Denaturalization was also used as means to punish “radical” naturalized citizens and military deserters, among others, until the mid-twentieth century. In the early twenty-first century, the Dominican Republic has undertaken a massive campaign to denaturalize individuals of Haitian origin. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Trump Administration significantly expanded resources (and interpretations of immigration statutes) in an effort to render foreign growing numbers of naturalized immigrants.

Our panel will discuss recent and ongoing denaturalization developments in the Americas, drawing from histories of law and politics. Our presenters will briefly discuss the following subjects before opening to crosstalk and a general Q&A.

Dr. Sirine Shebaya (Executive Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild)
Professor Samuel Martinez (UConn – Anthropology)
Professor Patrick Weil (Research Professor, University of Paris 1 – Sorbonne)
Dr. Brendan Shanahan (Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions)

This event is funded with the generous support of the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions, the Jack Miller Center, and the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale.

Apr 22, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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