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These stories were published  Tuesday, July 5, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 131
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New complexities in case of dual citizenship
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Many well wishers at this year’s Fourth of July celebration offered congratulatory comments regarding my article published in A.M. Costa Rica June 20 titled “Those who choose citizenship have long road.”

One such person asked me what I was going to do about the Acts or Conditions section on the DS-82 application form for U.S. passport renewal?  How was I going to answer the question when it came time to renew my passport?

Picking up a form at the Embassy desk, I read the section more carefully.  Here it is:

(If any of the below-mentioned acts or conditions has been performed by or apply to the applicant, the portion which applies should be lined out, and a supplementary statement under oath (or affirmation) by the applicant should be attached and made a part of this application.)  I have not, since acquiring United States citizenship, been naturalized as a citizen of a foreign state; taken an oath or made an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state; entered or served in the armed forces of a foreign state; accepted or performed the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or political subdivision thereof; made a formal renunciation of nationality either in the United States, or before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state; or been convicted by a court or court martial of competent jurisdiction of committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, or conspiring to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force, the Government of the United States.)

Wow, the phrase buried in the text “I have not, since acquiring United States citizenship, been naturalized as a citizen of a foreign state”  hit me like a brick.

What does it mean?

Well what it means is the U.S. government says a passport is not a right, for there are conditions assigned to it.  According to the U.S. government a citizen does not have a free and unencumbered right to travel outside the geographic borders of the U.S. without the approval of the STATE.

'. . . I became a Costa Rican naturalized citizen because I liked gallo pinto . . . '

It also means citizenship is not a total right as in Costa Rica, something that can not be taken away or lost.

Can U.S. citizenship be lost or your passport not be renewed because you decide to become a Tico or some other nationality?

This was the case for a long time.  The only reason dual citizenship was accepted by the U.S. government was due to special circumstances where one had dual citizenship due to birth.

Further research into the matter found these “out-of-date” restrictions were shot down in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court and again in 1980.  The statute books were updated in 1986.

The major Supreme Court case that changed the laws had to do with a Polish man named Beys Afroyim fighting to keep his U.S. citizenship after voting in an election in another country where he was also a citizen.  He argued the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protected his right to citizenship.  This amendment was originally meant to guarantee citizenship to freed slaves and their descendents after the civil war.

The Hot Dog Kid likes Gallo Pinto, too!

Section 1 of the 14th Amendament to the U.S. Constitution reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Supreme Court agreed with Afroyim and the law changed, noting that no law could be enacted which had the effect of depriving an American of his or her citizenship without his or her expression of agreement or acceptance.
In other words, nowadays the only way to really lose your U.S. citizenship is by renouncing it. 

But wait there is a catch.  Isn’t there always a catch when it comes to government matters?
Renouncing ones U.S. citizenship can be expressed or implied as in “expression of agreement or acceptance” noted above.

Taking on another nationality can be an act where the U.S. government interprets an implied act of renouncing U.S. citizenship.  There are many other acts, like joining another country’s army, voting, running for some office — all of which can be construed as an implied act of renouncing one's U.S. citizenship.

There are also some caveats, of course.  One is a U.S. citizen is required to always enter the United States with his or her U.S. passport even if they have more than one because they have dual citizenship.

Another is that a U.S. citizen loses all rights to protection by the United States in the country of which they have accepted another nationality.  There are others but these two are among the most important.

This all said, how am I going to answer the question on the form DS-82?  Well I am going to put a line through the phrase, been naturalized as a citizen of a foreign state, and attach a statement indicating I became a Costa Rican naturalized citizen because I liked gallo pinto (rice and beans Costa Rican-style) and had no intention whatsoever of renouncing my U.S. citizenship in doing so.

In the past in these situations, the U.S. representative accepting a passport renewal application would have you fill out another form, but now days they just ask you the question if you intend to give up your U.S. citizenship.

Obviously, my answer is no.  If I lose my passport, I couldn’t take my family to the 4th of July party each year.

Garland M. Baker is a 35-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at info@crexpertise.com.  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica. Copyright 2005, use without permission prohibited.

 
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 5, 2005, Vol. 5, No. 131

 
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TV in child's bedroom'
linked to lower scores


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

STANFORD, Calif. — Want to improve your child's standardized test scores? You might want to start by booting out the television that likely occupies a place of honor in your youngster's bedroom and booting up a computer elsewhere in the home.

A new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University said that third-graders with televisions in their bedrooms perform significantly worse on standardized tests than their peers without such diversion. Conversely, those with access to a home computer earn higher test scores. The differences persist regardless of the amount of time the students reported spending on homework.

"This study provides even more evidence that parents should either take the television out of their child's room, or not put it there in the first place," said Thomas Robinson, a physician who is director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford and associate professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

Robinson is the senior author of the research, published in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. He collaborated with lead author Dina Borzekowski to survey about 350 third-graders at six public elementary schools in northern California in 2000. Borzekowski is an assistant professor in the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.

The researchers found that more than 70 percent of the students reported having a television in their bedroom. These students scored between seven and nine points lower on standardized mathematics, reading and language arts tests than did their peers. Conversely, those with access to home computers scored between seven and nine points higher than those without. The highest average scores were netted by students with computer access and without a bedroom TV. Students with a personal television and without computer access at home scored the lowest, on average.

"This study doesn't prove that putting a television in your child's bedroom will decrease his or her test scores, but it does add to the increasing evidence that it's not a good idea," said Robinson, who is the author of previous studies showing that decreasing children's television viewing reduces obesity, aggressive behavior and nagging for advertised toys.

The researchers can't conclusively say why television has such an effect on test scores. Surprisingly, the students who reported spending the most time watching television also claimed to spend more time on homework and reading than kids with more limited exposure, perhaps because they tend to have more difficulty with schoolwork in general. The researchers speculate that the link may have more to do with other factors, such as the fact that children with bedroom televisions have been shown to sleep less than their peers, or that the minority of parents who allow a home computer but prohibit a bedroom television may be more engaged in their child's education.

"A television in a child's bedroom has become the norm," said Robinson. "From the parent's perspective, it keeps kids amused and out of trouble. But with this arrangement parents are giving up any control of how much and what their children are watching. They have no idea if they're watching all night, or if they're watching violent or sexually explicit content, or content or advertising that promotes alcohol or drug use."

Sixth-graders visiting
Space Center and Mickey


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Seven local sixth-graders are enjoying a trip to Florida to visit Disney World and see the Johnson Space Center. 

The travelers, students at the Ricardo Jiménez school in El Guarco were the lucky participants in the SMART Kids Club that either won the trip through mathematical agility or through a  raffle. 

The way the contest worked was this: Telephones connected to a computer allowed the youngsters to punch in the correct answer to a mathematical problem they were given.  Each class in the school held the contest with two winners and two alternates advancing to a semi-final and then a grand finale.  The two winners from this contest were guaranteed spots in the trip.  Two more won through individual competitions and the last three were drawn in a raffle of  the 320 who participated in the event. 

Richard Reynolds, one of the coordinators and NASA engineer, said that the parents were almost as excited as the youngsters.  Before they left, the parents held a dinner to honor the students and wish them well on their trip.  Also, said Reynolds, the U. S. Embassy in San José had no problems during the application process. 

The youngsters, David Córdoba, Maureen Serrano, Katherine Arce, Carlos Robles, Jeison Quesada, Sebastián Navarro and José Javier Montero, should return home July 14.

This is the third time a competition of this type has been held in Costa Rica.  Reynolds said he hopes to create a foundation to receive funds to spread the program to other schools and influence the method of mathematical learning in Costa Rica.    

Jazz trio from U.S. set
schedule of performances


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A jazz trio from New York University is scheduled to perform July 21 in the Teatro Eugene O'Neill.

The performance is a part of the Centro Cultural Costarricense – Norteamericano's program “Promising Artists of the 21st Century.”  The scheduled start is 7:30 p.m.

The artists, guitarist Michael MacAllister, bassist Scott Hornick and drummer James Windsor-Wells, are scheduled to visit Costa Rica for a week.  During their stay here, a press release said, they will teach classes for students of the Academia Editus of the Universidad Nacional in Heredia and perform five more concerts.  The first will happen at the Universidad Latino Americana de Ciencia y Technologia July 20 at 6 p.m. The second is scheduled for Hotel Chalet El Tirol July 21. Then, July 23 they are scheduled to perform once at a fund raiser for the Women's Club of Costa Rica and are also invited to the graduation ceremony for students of the Centro Cultural Costarricense – Norteamericano.  Finally July 27, they will perform at the learning center of I.T.S., 
 
Woman kills ex-boyfriend
in knife and gun fight


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man's ex-girlfriend shot him to death after the couple got in a fight when she brought him food, say officials with the Aguirre and Parrita devision of the Judicial Investigation Organization. 

According to a report, José Daniel Guadamúz's ex-girlfriend brought a meal to his house Sunday evening.  Apparently, a tiff between the two escalated to the point where Daniel shot the woman in the right hand.  After that, said the report, Daniel dropped the gun and attacked her with a knife, slicing her in the chin.  In the scuffle that ensued, the woman was able to reach the gun and shot Daniel twice in the chest, killing him, agents said.

Daniel died at the scene and the woman was taken to a local hospital, said the report.
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For seeking or renewing pensionado or rentista status
Immigration says Gringos need appointments, too

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

North American foreigners will have to make formal appointments to conduct business at the Costa Rican immigration offices.

The new rule takes effect Friday, according to Marco Badilla, director general de Migración y Extranjería.

Badilla's office announced the change Monday. Covered are those who seek or want to renew permits for residency in Costa Rica, such as pensionados and rentistas categories. Also covered are those who are seeking these forms of residency permits.

The net effect of the ruling is that foreigners or their agents will have to visit the immigration offices in La Uruca twice to complete any kind of transaction. In the past, the office for pensionados and rentistas was separate from other immigration activities. Those who are granted such residency permissions are predominately North American.

Badilla said that the objective of the change is to provide the best service to the public and avoid long lines of foreigners waiting for one or more days to conduct business and to avoid crooks from tricking them. There have been several instances of persons paying for immigration services to a third party who never did what was promised.

The change is part of the restructuring that has been taking place at the immigration offices.
Those who will not be affected by the change are those who seek to extend their tourist visas. These individuals can present an application without having an appointment. Other types of persons who do not need an appointment are those who seek immigration paperwork for legal, naturalization, and non-residency purposes. They simply have to fill out an application and submit it. The catch is that immigration will take 10 working days to process the application, and the completed document will only be available from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, said Badilla.

Those seeking such paperwork also have to bring tax stamps, one for five colons and one for 20 colons, said the immigration announcement. Such stamps are not being sold at the immigration offices, Badilla noted. So those who seek to recover paperwork will have to bring the stamps with them, he said.

For those who need an appointment, Window 2 of the immigration office is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There have been problems with this system recently because only a limited number of appointments are available. North Americans generally have not been affected because they were treated separately if they were pensionados or rentistas. The change essentially lumps North Americans in with all the other persons in search of immigration work.

Badilla also said that immigration soon will be putting up a new Web page that will contain more information.



LaZONA flips and zips across the stage in a previous performance
Dance group promises daring gymnastics for show Saturday at Centro
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The hip-hop dance group “LaZONA,” is scheduled to perform Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Teatro Eugene O'Neill at the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano.

The program, “Maquinaria Hip Hop,” will feature young interpreters of a style of dancing perfected in urban cities. The performance combines music, rapid movements, and daring gymnastics, said a press release.
The group, organized by choreographer Miguel Bolaños, recently performed at the Festival de las Artes in Heredia where it won favorable reviews by dance critics there, the release said.

The group is under the auspices of the Compañía Nacional de Danza.

Entrance is 3,000 colons and 2,500 colons for students and senior citizens. The center is in Barrio Dent some two blocks north of the Los Yoses gasoline station on Avenida Central.


Two men involved in 2000 protest will go to trial today in Guápiles
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two weeks before Christmas in 2000 a major protest broke out in the Province of Limón. In Guápiles, Pococí, alone some 57 persons, including protesters and police, went to the hospital.

The farmers and supporters were seeking more money for crops damaged by weather.

Four policemen were taken hostage by the crowd
beaten and handcuffed to a truck in the hot Atlantic sun. They had been stoned.

Finally government forces agreed to release some 22 protesters who had been arrested. Then the four policemen went free, although one had a broken leg.

The case is just now coming to trial for two men involved in the protests. The men, with the last names of Angulo Vargas and Barrantes Vargas will go to trial today at 8 a.m. in the Tribunal de Juicio de Guápiles.


U.S. reports 13% hike in tourism despite visa red tape
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Travel agents, airlines, convention centers and universities take note: The results are in, and they indicate that international traffic to the United States is on the rise.

Figures from a June 29 U.S. Department of Commerce report show an increase in international visitors who flocked to American cities in 2004.

"The 13 percent growth in arrivals to the U.S. for 2004 represents the best single-year growth in overseas arrivals to the country since 1995," said Douglas B. Baker. He is deputy assistant secretary of commerce for services. "The strong showing by U.S. destinations illustrates the diversity and interest that international visitors have in our states, cities and territories."

The surge in international visitors to the United States indicates that the flow of travel to the United States has not diminished despite the security concerns that arose after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the strict visa requirements put in place to address them.

Statistics from the Commerce Department's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries suggest that international visitors are not deterred by U.S. visa procedures, but rather are receptive to and are adapting to them.

The office documented that the average number of days between deciding to travel and beginning travel has increased for both business and leisure travelers from their respective figures in 2003, showing that travelers are giving themselves more pre-trip preparation time for ensuring the smooth accomplishment of required security and visa processes, as U.S. visa offices have recommended.
The Department of Commerce figures show that many international visitors perceive the United States to be a safe and welcoming environment for business or leisure. In 2004, the majority of travelers were repeat visitors. Only 24 percent of all overseas tourist arrivals were first-time visitors.

The region with the greatest frequency of U.S.-inbound tourism in 2004 was Western Europe, with 45.8 percent of all international tourists. The next highest was Asia, with 28.5 percent. From individual countries, the United States received the most visitors from Great Britain and the second-most from Japan.

The majority of visitors were attracted to the United States for recreational purposes, but many also visited friends and relatives or conducted business during their stay. Others traveled to the United States to participate in educational opportunities such as conventions, academic study and teaching.

The tourism office generates its annual and monthly travel figures from traveler-supplied responses provided to travel agents, tour companies and a few other sources. The office classifies all nonresident tourist arrivals as inbound tourism.

Among the 32 cities and 22 states/territories that posted double-digit visitor growth rates, Virginia, New York, Arizona and Utah made the greatest gains in growth as compared to the previous year's estimates. New York, the most favored port-of-entry, surpassed Florida and California to become the most popular state to visit.

In a breakdown of travel by city, a quarter of all tourists selected New York City for their leisure or business activities, while Washington, Las Vegas and Chicago followed closely behind as cities with the highest international visitor traffic growth.


Battle against bird flu epidemic being waged in Asia
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Health and animal experts Monday called for the mass vaccination of poultry in Asia to stop the spread of the virulent H5N1 bird flu virus, which has claimed dozens of human lives in the region.

The call came at the opening of a three-day U.N. conference in this, the Malaysian capital.

The U.N. World Health Organization says prevention needs to focus on small-scale farming where there is a close mingling of humans, pigs, chickens, and ducks in backyard farms.

Peter Cordingley, the organization's spokesman for the Western Pacific, says changes are also needed in traditional  markets. "There are wild animals and they're slaughtered on the spot and there's guts and stuff on the floor. In the past I think that's been culturally acceptable, but in these days of emerging disease quite clearly it's not appropriate anymore so we're looking to have actions on that front as well," he said.

Health experts say these practices boost the risk the bird flu virus and the human flu virus could mix and mutate into a form easily transmitted to humans.
They agree the virus is unpredictable. For example, in areas of Southeast Asia there are ducks infected with the virus that show no symptoms, but excrete the virus, possibly infecting chickens.

At the same time, in China's remote Qinghai Province, 6,000 migratory birds — which are supposed to carry the virus but show no symptoms — suddenly dropped dead last month.

Cordingley said this is confusing. "So what's going on? Do we have different viruses? One in China and one in Southeast Asia? This virus is puzzling us," he said.

The World Health Organization has conducted studies in Vietnam, where the majority of human cases have sprung up. Cordingley says, luckily, the evidence suggests there is time to stem a human epidemic. "Basically it's still a big and growing problem, but indications that we'd had that it was getting a lot worse very quickly. That wasn't the case. Basically we're exactly at the same place as we were before. The threat has grown by the month this year, we still think it's a very serious threat to global health," he said.

U.N. health experts at the summit are calling on regional governments now to devote more money and resources to combat the spread of the virus.


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