October 16, 2007


Citizenship via Grandparents: Israeli Parents Make Use Of U.S. Clause That Lets Kids Become Americans (MIRIAM JORDAN, October 16, 2007, Wall Street Journal)

A swelling number of Israelis are flying to the U.S., armed with tattered U.S. high school diplomas and faded marriage certificates, to try to tap into an obscure clause in U.S. immigration law that enables some grandparents to pass citizenship to their grandchildren.

For decades, U.S. citizenship could only be transmitted to a child by a parent. But 1994's section 322 of immigration law has provided another way in, and Israelis are taking advantage of it.

"I am not quite sure how this group of people caught onto this section of law, but they all seem to know about it," says Michelle Tolbert, an officer in the Chicago branch of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes applications.

Being born in the U.S. or having U.S. citizenship doesn't automatically qualify parents to pass on citizenship to their children born overseas. A parent must have lived in the U.S. for five years after the age of 14 to transmit citizenship to a child. The clause allows U.S.-citizen grandparents who satisfy this requirement to pass on citizenship to children whose parents didn't live in the U.S. long enough.

In the first nine months of the 2006-2007 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2006, the U.S. immigration agency processed nearly 4,000 applications for citizenship through grandparents, compared with about 2,000 for all of fiscal 2003-2004. Parents of any nationality can avail themselves of the law, but Israelis comprise 90% of those taking advantage of it, Ms. Tolbert estimates.

Some of those Israelis are seeking to give their descendants a safe haven from Mideast strife. "The world keeps changing," says Amy Katz, who recently flew to Chicago with her toddler and 3-month-old daughters to secure U.S. citizenship for them. "There could be a horrible war. There could be no Israel one day."

Judaism will hardly be the only culture to survive only in America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 16, 2007 3:44 PM

You may wish it otherwise, but we will fight for Israel.

It remains to be seen whether the peace-creeps will suck us into another great war. Our latter-day Oxford-pledgers may yet lull the inmates of the spiritual jailhouse into guessing that we will not die for Danzig, but there's no getting out of the trap so easily.

How fatuous to suggest that someone without the nerve to handle a few natives is going to find the resolution to drag the Jews out of their homeland or to abandon those who remain to persecution and genocide.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 16, 2007 6:41 PM

We would. The Israelis won't. Why do you think they're setting up escape routes?

Posted by: oj at October 16, 2007 10:14 PM