The conditions under and the manner in which an alien may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States are prescribed by sections 2165-74 of the Revised Statutes of the United States.
The alien must declare upon oath before a circuit or district court of the United States or a district or supreme court of the territories, or a court of record of any of the states having common law jurisdiction and a seal and clerk, two years at least prior to his admission, that it is, bona fide, his intention to become a citizen of the
United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince or state, and particularly to the one of which he may be at the time a citizen or subject.
Oath on Application for Admission.He must at the time of his application to be admitted declare on oath, before some one of the courts above specified, "that he will support the Constitution of the United States, and that he absolutely and entirely renounces and abjures all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, and particularly, by name, to the prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of which he was before a citizen or subject," which proceedings must be recorded by the clerk of the court.
If it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court to which the alien has applied that he has made a declaration to become a citizen two years before applying for final papers, and has resided continuously within the United States for at least five years, and within the state or territory where such court is at the time held one year at least; and that during that time "he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same," he will be admitted to citizenship. If the applicant has borne any hereditary title or order of nobility he must make an express renunciation of the same at the time of his application.
Any alien of the age of twenty-one years and upward who has been in the armies of the United States, and has been honorably discharged therefrom, may become a citizen on his petition, without any previous declaration of intention, provided that he has resided in the United States at least one year previous to his application, and is of good moral character. (It is judicially decided that residence of one year in a particular state is not requisite.)
Any alien under the age of twenty-one years who has resided in the United States three years next preceding his arriving at that age, and who has continued to reside therein to the time he may make application to be admitted a citizen thereof, may, after he arrives at the age of twenty-one years, and after he has resided five years within the United States, including the three years of his minority, be admitted a citizen; but he must make a declaration on oath and prove to the satisfaction of the court that for two years next preceding it has been his bona fide intention to become a citizen.
The children of persons who have been duly naturalized, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of the naturalization of their parents, shall, if dwelling in the United States, be considered as citizens thereof.
The children of persons who now are or have been citizens of the United States are, though born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, considered as citizens thereof.
The naturalization of Chinamen is expressly prohibited by section 14, chapter 126, laws of 1882.
Section 2,000 of the Revised Statutes of the United States declares that "all naturalized citizens of the United States while in foreign countries are entitled to and shall receive from this government the same protection of persons and property which is accorded to native-born citizens."
The right to vote comes from the state, and is a state gift. Naturalization is a Federal right and is a gift of the Union, not of any one state. In nearly one-half of the Union aliens (who have declared intentions) vote and have the right to vote equally with naturalized or native-born citizens. In the other half only actual citizens may vote. (See Table of Qualifications for Voting in each State, on another page.) The Federal naturalization laws apply to the whole Union alike, and provide that no alien may be naturalized until after five years' residence. Even after five years' residence and due naturalization he is not entitled to vote unless the laws of the state confer the privilege upon him, and he may vote in several states six months after landing, if he has declared his intention, under United States law, to become a citizen.
The inhabitants of Hawaii were declared to be citizens of the United States under the act of 1900 creating Hawaii a territory. Under the United States supreme court decision in the insular cases, in May, 1901, the inhabitants of the Philippines and Porto Rico are entitled to full protection under the Constitution, but not to the privileges of United States citizenship until congress so decrees, by admitting the countries as states or organizing them as territories.