To the diplomatic and consular officers of the United States.

Gentlemen: The department has received a copy of an opinion of the Attorney General under date of December 1, 1910, containing an important ruling as to the meaning of the second paragraph of section 2 of the expatriation act of March 2, 1907 (see expatriation circular of April 19, 1907). The opinion relates to the admission to this country as an American citizen of Nazara Gossin, wife of Jebran Gossin, who was born in Syria, was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in 1905, and returned in 1907 to his native land, where he remained over two years. He was admitted, but his wife, who had trachoma, was detained by the immigration authorities. The following extracts from the decision are quoted for your information:

Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes provides:

“Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the United States, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen.”

Nothing to the contrary appearing, I assume that Nazara Gossin “might herself be lawfully naturalized,” and hence is to be deemed a citizen upon her marriage to a citizen of the United States. (27 Op. A. G., 507, and cases cited.) Her present citizenship status depends, therefore, upon that of her husband; and, under the facts presented, he is now a citizen unless his citizenship has been forfeited under the act of March 2, 1907 (34 Stat., 1228).

* * * * * * *

The presumption as to noncitizenship raised by the act is created for the purpose of relieving the State Department of protecting naturalized citizens abroad when the conditions are apparently such as to indicate that they have no bona fide intention to return to and reside in the United States. When a citizen returns to the United States the necessity for such protection no longer exists, and it is fair to assume that with the cessation of the necessity the presumption created by the act also ceases.

In my opinion, therefore, under the facts stated, Jebran Gossin has not lost his citizenship and his wife, Nazara Gossin, upon the assumption above stated that she herself might be lawfully naturalized, is also to be deemed a citizen.

I am,

P. C. Knox.