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Borders and Legal Criteria for Acquiring Nationality

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Author(s): María Elósegui Itxaso

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 82-83;
Start page: 117;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Citizenship | law | national identity | political culture | cosmopolitanism | multiculturalism | nationality

ABSTRACT
Legal criteria for acquiring nationality are crucial in the integration of persons into society, since they provide access to the right to vote. Until now, the criteria most frequently used are those of ius soli (birth) and ius sanguinis (nationality is inherited from the parents), which comply with previous anthropological approaches and which jurists accept without reflection, or consider to be unshakeable traditions.The author’s proposal in this article is to accept that some of these legal criteria should be reformed, though not in an anarchic manner. On one hand, some of the ethnic criteria may be respected, but on the other, the processes of acquiring nationality should be streamlined by accepting the desire of persons wanting to change their nationality on moving to a new country of residence. Meanwhile, we must establish channels of demand for accepting the democratic values and legal system of the welcoming country, as a result of which it would be fair to call for a prior learning period before the rights to nationality and suffrage are granted. The author also adds – and accepts as being a fundamental element – some of Habermas’ inclusion theses, though she stresses that this discourse should be organised into two specific, feasible legal solutions or rather, in a realistic manner.
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