Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Michael J. Sullivan's "Earned Citizenship"

Michael J. Sullivan is Associate Professor in the Graduate International Relations Department at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Earned Citizenship, and reported the following:
Earned Citizenship is about earned citizenship for immigrants through a variety of forms of service, including military service, community service, and caregiving for dependents. Page 99 highlights the importance of military-based earned citizenship. However, this particular page is not just about immigrants. Rather, page 99 is about gender equality, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship for current and aspiring American citizens. The page highlights the role of women in the military, and the continued significance of military service as a potential responsibility for all young Americans.

I begin page 99 by quoting President Carter’s February 8, 1980 address “seeking additional authority to register for noncombat service to our Nation.” Since 1980, immigrant men, including unauthorized immigrants, have been required to register for Selective Service. In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Rostker v. Goldberg (1981) upheld male-only registration, but Justice Marshall dissented, arguing that the exclusion of women from “a fundamental civic obligation” violated the U.S Constitution’s “equal protection of the laws.” I end page 99 by supporting Marshall’s view, and adding that the end of gender-based combat restrictions has made contentions against gender-neutral Selective Service requirements moot. As my book went to press, on February 22, 2019, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas, Gray H. Miller, ruled that male-only Selective Service rules were the product of historical gender stereotypes, and that “if there ever was a time to discuss “the place of women in the Armed Services,” that time has passed.

The discussion on page 99 of Earned Citizenship speaks about an enduring and progressively more open pathway to earned citizenship through military service in the United States. The preceding chapter showed how past generations of African-Americans and Latinos successfully claimed citizenship rights based on their wartime military service. Chapter 4, where page 99 is situated, does not simply celebrate this legacy of earned citizenship. It also points to areas for improvement, including abolishing barriers to earning and retaining U.S. citizenship through military service that have resulted in the deportation of U.S. veterans. As a whole, Earned Citizenship makes a moral argument for policy reforms to reward immigrant contributions across all of society, from caregiving to military service, as important civic services meriting a pathway to citizenship.
Learn more about Earned Citizenship at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue