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Case Challenges Sex-Based Citizenship Requirements

Published on 11/10/2010 -

The United States Supreme Court heard the case of Flores-Villar v. United States today, which could change sex-based citizenship laws.

Ruben Flores-Villar was born in Mexico to an American father and a Mexican mother. Though raised by his father in the United States, Flores-Villar is precluded from citizenship by the Nationality Act of 1952.

This law pertains to children born on foreign soil and out of wedlock to only one U.S. citizen parent.

For a males child to qualify for citizenship, the father must have lived in the United States for ten years, five of which must be after the age of fourteen. However, a mother only needs to have resided in the U.S. for a year for her child to claim citizenship, and she is not restricted by age.

In Flores-Villar v. United States, the former party argues that this act is gender biased, for there is no biological reason to think that a woman has stronger ties to the United States at a young age than a man. Flores-Villar further claims that because fathers are discriminated against by the current law, he should be allowed to have citizenship.

The court must review the case further before making a decision, but should they rule in Flores-Villars favor, things could forever change for out of wedlock, foreign-born children with one U.S. citizen parent.

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