Statesman's Year-Book 1899/United States Naturalization

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Naturalization Laws

The Revised Statutes of the United States provide the manner in which aliens may be admitted to citizenship. Two years before their admission as citizens they must declare on oath before a circuit or district court, or a court of record of a State, their intention to become citizens of the United States. Accompanying this declaration the applicant must renounce all allegiance to any foreign prince or power, and he must take an oath that he will support the Constitution of the United States. A record is made of this declaration. If the court is satisfied that the proper application has been made, in accordance with the statute, and the applicant has lived continuously in the United States for at least five years, and within the State or Territory where the declaration of intention was made at least one year, and "has behaved as a man of good, moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same," it will admit him to citizenship, which carries with it all the privileges of a native-born citizen, except eligibility to the Presidency. Should the applicant be the bearer of any hereditary title or order of nobility, the same must be renounced at the time of his application for citizenship.

When minors, that is, persons under twenty-one years of age, have resided in the United States three years preceding the age of twenty-one, they may after that age, and after having lived in the country five years, including the three years prior to majority, be admitted to citizenship; but they must make application and declare intention to become citizens.

The children of naturalized citizens, if under age at the time of the naturalization of the father, and if dwelling in the United States, are to be considered as citizens; so are the children of citizens born abroad.

Chinamen cannot be naturalized.

The right to vote is one which is granted by the State itself, but naturalization comes under the Federal power, and not that of the State. In many of the States, probably one-half of them, aliens—that is, persons foreign born—who have declared their intention to become citizens have the right to vote equally with those native born, but in the remainder of the States only citizens native born or naturalized may vote. The naturalization laws of the Federal Government, of course, apply to all localities, and the naturalized citizen must conform to State laws, notwithstanding his naturalization. Under the section on State Governments the requirements or qualifications for voting will be stated.