Taiwanese citizenship: Dear Congressman Wu

Dear Congressman Wu,

From your website I read how your life was also affected by immigration laws…

I’m hoping that in your encounters with Taiwanese lawmakers, you might urge them to do unto others as others do unto them, and allow a chance for eventual citizenship in Taiwan without having to give up one’s original citizenship.

I’m sure your Taiwanese friends in the U.S. would raise a fervor if the U.S. enforced such a requirement.

Yes, there aren’t so many of us US-to-Taiwan immigrants, and yes, it’s not the end of the world if we don’t reach our goal of full citizenship, but it just doesn’t feel right.

No, we don’t have any business telling the Taiwan government how to make the rules, and no, it’s not that we don’t love Taiwan… it’s just that as any Taiwanese-American can tell you: just plain inconvenient to give up one’s original citizenship.

Well, I’m doing my best to be a Taiwanese… and with your help, I might have a better stake. Thanks!

Sent November 8, 2001. Congressman Wu’s website is http://www.house.gov/wu/

Dan, What are you going on about? I thought Taiwan was one of the few countries that recognised DUAL citizenships? No?

You can be dual if you are Taiwanese and get a second citizenship. But if you are a foreigner who wants to get Taiwanese citizenship you have to renounce your original citizenship first. This inconsistency annoys a lot of foreigners living in Taiwan long term. Also even if you’re married you have to wait years, meet all sorts of conditions and go thorugh a lot of trouble just to get permanent residency (and then if you leave Taiwan for too long you loose it again). On the other hand for a Taiwanese wanting to live in, say, America, things are much much easier.

What Bu Lai En has said is true. It is also true that such a law can be challenged. What we need is for someone who wants to go through the procedure to prepare all the “other” documentation (i.e. everything except renunciation of citizenship papers), and go through the process. This could be our “test case” for the foreign community.

So far no one has come forward with the willingness to do this.

I am involved with a lot of other legal casework for foreigners and locals alike, but I would be willing to assist, or coordinate, such an legal effort.

Congressman Wu’s representative replied that they don’t get involved in other country’s affairs.
I put the text on my foreigner.html page.

It’s even harder than you think, I’m afraid. Even if you were willing to renounce your foreign citizenship, that doesn’t mean you could. You can’t do it in Taiwan, as AIT, for example, does not perform this service (unless, apparently, you are a high-ranking ROC government official with dual citizenship), and I doubt the “trade offices” of many other countries do either. You would have to go to a third country, make yourself a stateless person, and then find a way to avoid being arrested for illegally staying there, and get yourself back into Taiwan as a stateless person with no passport.

Then, if you manage to somehow get back here, you have to have a reason to apply for Taiwanese citizenship, e.g. you have to fulfill the requirements for legal marriage, etc. real quick or else be deported. A massive amount of paperwork and time, to say the least.

Or you can be a seventh-generation American of Chinese ancestry, in which case you can pick up your dual citizenship documentation at the third counter on the left. Thank you.

I don’t want to sound all doom-and-gloom with that last post. Sure, it’s difficult but not impossible, and if something matters enough to you some sacrifices aren’t out of the question. I know of at least one other person besides me who has done it, although he was in his late-40s at the time and didn’t have to perform military service.

Which brings me to this question for all of the foreign men out there who desire ROC citizenship: Would you be willing to accept the responsibilites involved in ROC citizenship, i.e. would you be willing to perform two years of military service before you reach a certain age, such as 35 or 40 or whatever it is, just like everyone else? If your answer is no, then why not?

Walker is now legally eligible to lose his citizenship based upon a disloyal act committed abroad like service in a “foreign army” in hostilities with the USA.

Loss of US citizenship is not automatic but such is really in the discretion of the State and/or Justice Dept. Establishing the “intention” makes certain losses automatic. Walker’s actions certainly qualify him for having the intention to lose of citizenship even if without “treason”.

Loss of US citizenship can be done in writing abroad. However, you’ll be strongly dissuaded to not do so as it is in your best interest to usually remain an American.


Poagao: Did you ever try to regain your U.S. citizenship? From what I’ve read, you might stand a chance. Just curious.

Cranky Laowai: No, I actually haven’t. I suppose it would be useful to have, though, but I always assumed that I would have to go through the same channels are ordinary Taiwanese, and I’ve always been content to just live in Taiwan and use a ROC passport when I travel. I’ve got a 5-year US multiple-entry visa, and going to other places hasn’t been a problem so far either.

Still, I haven’t really studied it. What have you heard?

Paogao, I just perused your website. I saw that you are into film. Very cool. “Duality” is my favorite, but I didn’t seem to find your short flicks on I-Film. I am getting seriously interested in and more deeply into digital photograhy. A few of us “Taiwan Independence” cyber-diehards actually started a screenplay on the CIA reactivation of the “American Volunteer Group” in order to save the ROC from the PLAAF.

I am not a lawyer. However, the circumstances of your birthplace, if I understand such correctly, do raise some serious questions. A “Loss of US Citizenship” is perhaps recoverable in your case.

AIT personnel can be useless on these issues, but then it probably will be the “State Dept” whom makes a determination of your eligibility for US nationality status. Did you speak to a “consular official”, or to a local employee at US Citizen Services?

I would hire a lawyer such as Carl Schusterman whom is a good starting point. http://shusterman.com/

This is a sad situation, if I am understanding it correctly. The Statue of Liberty really should be shedding many tears for her lost “native son”.
All the Best,
Jeff Geer

Ok, I am understanding these issues as presented here more clearly, and I have just checked out Dan’s website to read Congressman Wu’s response.

Regardless of the ROC’s position on nationality, I am inclined to believe that their “formal renuciation” should be only executed under ROC laws. (Mr. Hartzell has however mentioned that a formal renunciation under US law is required.)

If indeed it is a “citizenship renunciation form” of the ROC, then it is legally useless in the view of INA. The USA does not recognize it. In general, the USA will only recognize their own forms “executed” abroad at a US Embassy. Such dual citizenship is defacto. A policy of dejure dual citizenship is like in Canada or UK. (Australia is peculiar.)

The irony of this situation is that I am openly advocating the eligibilty of ROC citizens for “US Trust Territory Passport” under the San Francisco Peace Treaty. It is somewhat like the British (Overseas) Nationality Passport for Hong Kong SAR, but rather under a “post-colonial status” as is mandated by the Taiwan Relations Act for INA.

This is based upon the Rules of Land Warfare and US Constitution caselaw for peace treaty cessions like Formosa. The US archives and the historical facts of international military law are becoming increasingly in the favor of the US ‘occupational interest’ in Taiwan status. It seems that the ROC seriously violated the standard legal procedures of its very premature “annexation” of Taiwan on October 25, 1945. Such was a contravention of the human rights of the American military government interests in the people of Taiwan.

FYI, I was “cross-trained” in Civil Affairs regulations by the US Army and the significance of Mr. George Kerr’s official role on October 25, 1945 was not forgotten during the last 50 years.
The collective memories of some seem to run quite long in military circles. (Gotcha for 2-28)

Thanks for your concern, but I don’t see it as a terribly sad situation. I am quite happy living in Taiwan. I love this place. Granted, it would be nice to have US citizenship as well as ROC citizenship, and I will look into it, but it’s not like I’m aching to leave Taiwan.

Regaining citizenship –
Try reading this section:
and also the rest of the links.

Also, if you were under 14 when you gave up your U.S. citizenship, that might make it easier for you to get it back. Good luck.

I believe this INA legal reference is slightly inapplicable to Paogao’s case, as I believe he was born within the United States in a southern state.

His “Chinese parentage” has very little legal consequence nor much significance here for the sole US nationality purposes of jus soli under the 14th Amendment. His citizenship rights are enumerated into to the US Constitution as an “absolute right” of the American sovereignty.

In 1898, the US Supreme Court ruled in USA v. Wong Ma Ark that a “Chinese alien” legally born of Chinese parents but whom was born within the dominion (eg Union territory) of the USA was automatically a US citizen under 14th Amendment. To the contrary, the US immigration officials had used lies and deceitful theories of “parental lineage” to establish that such a “Chinese alien” was not a US citizen, but only an imperial subject of Beijing. Not only did the US Supreme Court disagree based upon British common law, but they ruled such a ‘mislabel’ of nationality to be a civil rights violation, too. Thus I am deeply concerned about this very faulty “advice” of AIT officials in this particular case. If these facts are true, there was a constitutional violation of the civil rights to a “Chinese alien” under the Taiwan Relations Act.

Paogao’s “enthusiasm”, or a lack thereof, for the USA has very little effect upon this most serious civil rights violation.

BTW, loss of US citizenship from age 14 to 28 is only for those born abroad to be legally treated as though citizens born domestically. It is only statutory, not “absolute” like jus soli under our 14th Amendment.

ROGERS v. BELLEI, 401 U.S. 815 (1971)

Held that ever since Wong Kim Ark ruling in 1898, that “statutory citizenship” granted by Congress is naturalization citizenship of 14th Amendment.

Since the 1900’s, “birthplace in Puerto Rico” has been long considered as a lawful granting of US citizenship by INA statute to “un-incorporated territory” under a peace treaty cession. But as for its own constitutional authority, this power is not under 14th Amendment’s jus soli but merely as a “naturalization”. By statute, they enjoy the rights of “natural-born subjects”. Thus, such US citizenship is not an absolute right of jus soli, nor is it even treated as being “irrevocable” by Congressional action. If the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico ever was to become “independent” by self-determination vote, then this statutory US citizenship under INA is revoked.

Under peace treaty cession of 1898, the “equal protections” of the 14th Amendment has applied to “Chinese aliens” under an alien status of the Chinese Exclusion Act. (Neely v. Henkel, Downes v. Bidwell). That is “un-incorporated territory” coming under a peace treaty cession. INA status of “outlying possession” is irrelavent to this doctrine.

Congress has never granted any form of “jus soli” nationality law for Taiwan under INA, because TRA mandates the INA treat it as a “trust territory” outside the “naturalization zone” of the USA.

“One China” Communiques are acting like a Chinese Exclusion Act for “jus soli” statute purposes though. The INA statutes, as applicable to Taiwan, do most clearly mandate “jus soli” determinations of nationality outside the “green card” zone. However, the noted “exception” is consular determinations of nationality, very much like the “One China” communiques so exercised under the “foreign affairs” powers of the US Constitution.

The “equal protections” of an INA statute (TRA clause) still applies to these “Chinese aliens” of Taiwan for any “un-incorporated status” by peace treaty cession. Since 1906, the Chinese Exclusion Extension Act created the first noted use of “un-incorporated territory” for denying Chinese aliens their “absolute protections” of the US Constitution. It was called Ellis Island.