to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Berlin, October 13, 1884. (Received October 27.)
Sir: Among the numerous and various questions of naturalized citizenship presented to this legation, none are so troublesome as those of the derived citizenship of minors under the Revised Statutes, section 2172. I have recently been obliged to decide two such cases, and now report them to the Department for its supervision.
(1) Case of Ludwig Hausding.—The father, William Hausding, being a subject of the King of Saxony, was in Michigan in July, 1861, where his son Ludwig was born. How long he had been there does not appear; but he returned to his native land with his family a few months later in the same year, and remained there, a Saxon subject, until 1868. In that year the father returned to the United States, where he became afterwards a naturalized citizen. The son, Ludwig, on the contrary, has never returned to the United States. Ludwig now requests a passport as an American citizen, for use in Saxony.
Refused, on the ground that he was born of Saxon subjects temporarily in the United States, and was never “dwelling in the United States” either at the time of or since his parent’s naturalization, and was not, therefore, naturalized by force of statute. (See section 2172.)
Quœre: Can one born a foreign subject, but within the United States, [Page 202] make the option after his majority, and while still living abroad, to adopt the citizenship of his birthplace? It seems not, and that he must change his allegiance by emigration and legal process of naturalization.
(2) Case of Johannes Weber.—The father was a subject of Russia, living in the Crimea, where this son was born in August, 1861. Father and son emigrated to the United States in 1875, and the father was naturalized at Yankton, Dak., in May, 1881, the son also living in the-United States at the time, and being then of the age of nineteen years. The father and whole family returned to the Crimea in 1883, leaving the United States in June of that year, when the son was a little less than twenty-two years of age, bearing a Department passport for all the family. The son declares his intention of returning to the United States as a citizen thereof, and was now on his way to America to obtain a passport as an American, when he learned it could be issued at this legation.
Granted, on the ground of derived naturalization, under section 217£ Revised Statutes, qualifying him as an American citizen, with continued option therefor after attaining his majority in America.
Quœre: Does the phrase—“if dwelling in the United States”—refer to the date of naturalization, or to the duration of residence within the United States, and excluding a foreign residence? In other words, which of these readings is correct:
Sec. 2172. The children of persons who have been duly naturalized under any law of the United States, * * * being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of the naturalization of their parents, shall, if [at the time] dwelling in the United States [or while dwelling in the United States], be considered as citizens thereof.
The former construction would allow a young man to join his father in the United States a week before his naturalization, and return to his native land a week after, a full-fledged American citizen, while still in his minority, and without renunciation of old allegiance or swearing to the new.
I have, &c.,