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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about what qualifies a person for citizenship in a country, underemployed white-collar workers, and using nuclear waste as a source of energy.

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Citizenship should not be based on place of birth

Regarding the Nov. 12 article, "Defining 'Greek": This story notes that members of the Greek diaspora can get a Greek passport easily, while non-Greeks born in Greece are not granted citizenship as though it is somehow inconsistent. But it is not inconsistent at all. Greece awards citizenship based on the status of the parents. If two Greeks in New York have a child, that child is automatically eligible for Greek citizenship. Similarly, if two Filipinos have a child in Greece, that child is also eligible for Filipino citizenship. If two Americans temporarily or illegally living in China had a baby there, would they expect that the baby be considered Chinese?

The United States is one of the few countries in the world that awards birthright citizenship. This came about after the Civil War, with the ratification of the 14th Amendment. This Amendment to the Constitution was originally designed to give the children of freed slaves a stake in the United States. Unfortunately, in recent years, the 14th Amendment has been subject to the law of unintended consequences, because the citizenship of a child of illegal immigrants (sometimes referred to as an "anchor baby") is used to bring scores of foreign relatives to the United States.

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