Today is a big day in the conceptualization of citizenship in the United States. Starting today, a category of marginalized non-citizens, people who were brought to the United States before the age of 16, is going to be allowed to move one more step toward citizenship by applying for the right to stay in the United States for two more years while they work on their educational and professional records.
In this context, a question occurred to me: What if we just did away with the legal status of citizen in the United States?
Could that work? Of the top of my head, I can see such a scenario going in two ways: 1) Everyone who happens to be within U.S. borders could be recognized as having equal rights to participate democratically in the nation; or 2) Everyone could be excluded from democratic participation.
I’m thinking of this question as a way of exploring the concept of citizenship from a negative perspective. What does the concept of citizenship in one particular nation – and excluding some from it, do for us?