What laws govern who is—and is not—a citizen of the United States? Is the meaning of citizenship defined by those laws, or is that something different? Abdi Soltani, a seasoned civil rights activist and a “birthright citizen” born in the U.S. to Iranian immigrants, brings a personally informed perspective to these questions, animating this urgent call to action with real-life examples of what is at stake.
The Meaning of Citizenship opens with an exploration of the origins of U.S. citizenship as recorded in the nation’s founding documents. From there, it traces developments through a series of historic expansions and re-definitions found in Constitutional Amendments. Each revision would have a profound impact on exactly who has a say in creating the laws of the land, laws which determine the rights of all citizens—and all others in America.
As the Trump Administration maneuvers to restrict and abrogate not only citizenship rights but many other hard-won rights, this book provides its readers with the knowledge needed to leverage those rights in order to protect them. This book concludes with a practical, action-oriented list of critical issues. Published in coordination with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the centennial of its founding, it is an indispensible tool for engagement with how America will be defined in the twenty-first century.