12 Int'l L. 825 (1978)
The Bancroft Conventions: Second-Class Citizenship for Naturalized Americans

handle is hein.journals/intlyr12 and id is 847 raw text is: MICHAEL WALTER*

The Bancroft Conventions:
Second-Class Citizenship for
Naturalized Americans
It is now commonplace to assert that the law recognizes no second-class
citizens with respect to race, creed, color or national origin. Unfortunately,
this is not yet so with respect to national origin. Because of a set of old
naturalization treaties known as the Bancroft conventions, naturalized
Americans from twenty-one countries still risk losing their citizenship if they
return to their country of origin and remain there two years. The 1964
Supreme Court decision in Schneider v. Rusk' invalidated a section of the Im-
migration and Nationality Act of 1952,2 which stripped any naturalized
American of his citizenship after three years' continuous residence in his coun-
try of origin. But the Schneider decision did not touch loss of nationality pro-
visions in the Bancroft conventions which are essentially the same as the
statutory provisions struck down by the Court. The result subjects American
citizens from Bancroft convention countries to overseas residency restrictions
which apply to no other Americans, whether naturalized or native born.
History and Major Provisions
Conceived in an era when the right of individuals to renounce their national
allegiance was not widely acknowledged among the community of nations,'
the Bancroft conventions were a means of securing recognition by foreign
governments of the right of their nationals to become American citizens.4
*A.B., Indiana University 1969; M.A., Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced Interna-
tional Studies (SAIS) 1976; Third-year student, Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington.
Mr. Walter is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and Foreign Service Officer.
'377 U.S. 163 (1964).
'Section 352(a)(1), 66 Stat. 269, 8 U.S.C. § 1484(a)(1) (1952):
(a) A person who has become a national by naturalization shall lose his nationality by-
(I) having a continuous residence for three years in the territory of a foreign state of which
he was formerly a national or in which the place of his birth is situated ....
'See Agata, Involuntary Expatriation and Schneider v. Rusk, 27 U. PiT. L. REV. 1, 19-21
(1965).
4See GORDON & ROSENFIELD, IMMIGRATION LAW AND PROCEDURE, § 20.7b (1977).

International Lawyer, Vol. 12, No. 4

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