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TO AUTHORIZE STATE OR FEDERAL COURTS TO ISSUE COPIES OF NATURALIZATION PAPERS OF PARENTS TO HIS OR HER CHILDREN

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 1941

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,

Washington, D. C.

The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Samuel Dickstein (chairman) presiding.

(The committee had under consideration H. R. 2835, which is as follows:)

[H. R. 2835, 77th Cong., 1st sess.]

A BILL To permit clerks of the courts of the United States and State courts, to issue copies of naturalization certificates to all persons over twenty-one years of age, who can show they are entitled to citizenship in the United States of America by the naturalization of their parent or husband, that was issued out of the court, of which said clerk is an officer

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any individual over twenty-one years of age, who is a resident of any State in the United States of America, or the District of Columbia, who claims to have derived United States citizenship through the naturalization of a parent or husband, may, upon the payment of a fee of $2, make application to the clerk of the court, either State or Federal, where the original certificate of naturalization was issued, accompanied by two photographs of the applicant, for a copy of the naturalization certificate of his or her parent or husband, as the case may be. Upon proof to the satisfaction of the clerk of said court, that the applicant is a citizen; that the said applicant is a child of the said parent so formerly naturalized and was under twenty-one years of age at the time said parent secured such naturalization certificate; or that the applicant is the true and lawful wife of a person who has been formerly naturalized, then such person shall be issued a true and lawful copy of the naturalization certificate issued to his or her parent or husband, which shall be accepted by all courts, election boards, and departments of Government as prima facie evidence of the citizenship of the person to whom such copy of naturalization certificate is issued.

SEC. 2. Any person who knowingly issues, or is a party to the issuance under section 1 of this Act, any copy of such naturalization certificate as aforesaid, or falsely secures, makes affidavit, or certifies that an applicant for such copy of naturalization is a citizen, when the truth is otherwise, or any applicant knowingly, or having reason to believe that he is not a citizen, or not entitled to such a copy of naturalization certificate of his or her parent or husband, shall be guilty of a felony, and on conviction thereof shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than five years or both.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. We have before us first for consideration Mr. Ramsay's bill, H. R. 2835, a bill to permit clerks of the courts of the United States and State courts to issue copies of naturalization certificates to all persons over 21 years of age, who can show they are entitled to citizenship in the United States of America by the naturalization of their parents or husbands, that

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was issued out of the court, of which said clerk is an officer. Is the old bill of January 29?

Mr. RAMSAY. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Wasn't this amended?

Mr. RAMSAY. On page 2, line 10, after the word "certificate," add: "and at the time he resided in the United States of America," which he will have to do, of course. Is there some Department man here? The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Let us hear from the Department. Mr. Shoemaker or Mr. Shaughnessy, on this Ramsay bill, have you any word for us?

Mr. SHAUGHNESSY. Merely this. We have taken up with the Bureau of the Budget and we expect most any day to get a report from the Bureau of the Budget, and then you will have an official comment on it. Mr. Shoemaker is here this morning, and he would be very glad to answer any questions with regard to citizens proving their status.

Mr. RAMSAY. What has the Budget got to do with a bill like this? Mr. LESINSKI. There is an appropriation pending before the Department, and they cannot speak on it unless the Budget authorizes it. Mr. SHAUGHNESSY. The Bureau of the Budget acts more than on fiscal matters. They are acting as an advisory committee on legislative matters, and under the schedule set up all the departments must advise the Bureau of the Budget, because of the money involved. All of the departments are the same.

Mr. MASON. That is the point that I cannot understand. They have got to give the "go" sign to every piece of legislation that is brought up. No legislation can be introduced or passed, except that the committee is advised that they are not bound by the report of the Budget committee.

Mr. LESINSKI. If you have a clear-cut report from the Bureau of the Budget that they are not opposed to the committee, there is no reason to suppose that the bill will not pass.

Mr. RAMSAY. As I understand it, Mr. Shoemaker wants to talk about the citizenship bill, and I do not see that that will help us any. This does not conflict with the derivative citizenship bill at all. That is as I understand it.

Mr. MASON. Not at all; it does not conflict with it.

Mr. RAMSAY. It has nothing to do with it at all.

Mr. MASON. It is just another way of getting your father's citizenship papers.

Mr. RAMSAY. Then the question of derivative citizenship has nothing to do with this. The only thing was to check up on people who claimed to have citizenship under their fathers' papers. That does not help that citizen, because there is a very small percentage of people asking for derivative citizenship, because if a man is under 21 years of age and his father gets his papers and he lives in the United States, he is just as much a citizen as though he were born here. My idea, as I have explained time and again, is to aid people who want to get papers to go away. That is the whole idea."

The CHAIRMAN. Suppose we hear from Mr. Shoemaker as to it, and perhaps we can make some disposition in view of what the Bureau of the Budget will have to say, to save time. It is my intention not to have any hearing next week.

Mr, MASON. Let us see what the gentleman has to say.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Shoemaker.

STATEMENT OF THOMAS B. SHOEMAKER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

The CHAIRMAN. Tell us, Mr. Shoemaker, what you wish to say with regard to this bill.

Mr. SHOEMAKER. When the law was first passed authorizing the administrative officials to issue evidence of citizenship, it was provided that these certificates should be issued only to those persons who derived citizenship and not, for instance, persons who were born abroad of American citizens, and Congress restricted the issuance of such papers, particularly at the request of the State Department, to those people who derived citizenship through the act of parent or through the act of husband.

In the issuance of such papers by the administrative office now we attempt to secure, if we can, primary evidence to establish that such individuals are citizens. If we are unable to secure primary evidence, we accept secondary evidence. In other words, we try to carry out the intention of Congress in the passage of that act, to give such persons who are entitled to evidence of citizenship as derivatives such evidence, if we are convinced that they are in fact citizens of the United States either through the act of the parent or through the act of the father.

This bill-I presume you would want some little comment from me with regard to that. As I indicated a minute ago, those evidences of citizenship are issued only from the central office in Washington.

If this bill were enacted it would give to individuals evidence which would be required as evidence of citizenship by every other individual and by the average organization.

Mr. MASON. Or officer of the court?

Mr. SHOEMAKER. Or officer of the court, and would be taken, to all intents and purposes, as the evidence of citizenship itself, and would issue approximately from 2,000 courts and more.

We have felt, and, of course, you know, gentlemen, this has not been cleared by the Bureau of the Budget. Just administratively, it would be better to have it continued as an administrative process issuing from one form instead of approximately 2,000 courts the clerks of which can hardly be in a position to determine citizenship. So many people think that individuals are citizens and are often mistaken, and it seems to me it requires a rather special knowledge to determine in many instances whether such a person is actually a citizen. He must establish, if he be one who derives through the father, that he came here as a minor and was admitted for permanent residence and has to establish identity as well, that he is the son of his father, and a wife must establish that she is the wife of a person who was naturalized or the widow of the person naturalized, as the case might be, and that citizenship was actually so derived. Frequently questions arise of identity which make it difficult to determine whether such an individual is a citizen, and that applies not only to the child who derives from the father, but the wife who derives from the person naturalized.

Mr. MASON. May I ask a question?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

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