Citizenship in the United States is a legal marker denoting political membership in the United States that entails specific rights, privileges, and duties. Citizenship is understood as a "right to have rights" since it serves as a foundation for a bundle of subsequent rights, such as the right to live and work in the United States and to receive federal assistance.
There are two primary sources of citizenship: birthright citizenship, in which a person is presumed to be a citizen provided that he or she is born within the territorial limits of the United States, and naturalization, a process in which an immigrant applies for citizenship and is accepted. These two pathways to citizenship are specified in the Citizenship Clause of the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment which reads:All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. —from the Fourteenth Amendment.
National citizenship signifies membership in the country as a whole; state citizenship, in contrast, signifies a relation between a person and a particular state and has application generally limited to domestic matters. State citizenship may affect (1) tax decisions and (2) eligibility for some state-provided benefits such as higher education and (3) eligibility for state political posts such as U.S. Senator.
In Article One of the Constitution, the power to establish a "uniform rule of naturalization" is granted explicitly to Congress.
U.S. law permits multiple citizenship, so a citizen of another country may retain their previous citizenship after becoming a citizen of the United States, and retain their US citizenship when becoming the citizen of another country, should that country's laws allow it. Citizenship can be renounced by American citizens who also hold another citizenship via a formal procedure at a US Embassy, and it can also be restored.
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... Issues such as whether to include questions about current citizenship status in census questions have been debated in the Senate ... Generally, there tends to be controversy when citizenship impacts political issues ...