When we first moved from the Philippines to Nashville, TN, we were a family of 3: Tatay, Nanay, & Malcolm. Five years later, Caspian joined us and another baby is on the way.
It also means that in our soon-to-be family of 5, three of us are Filipino citizens while two (2) are American citizens.
To be completely accurate, Caspian is a dual citizen and our next baby will be one, too.
Citizenship by birth
The USA is one of the countries that follow the jus soli doctrine of citizenship. It means that all babies born within its territory are considered citizens. This is also called birthright citizenship, which the Trump Administration has been challenging as part of tightening policy on immigration.
The US tax system provides tax credits for each child, leading to lower taxes for the family. That is a blessing because the cost of living is high!
I don’t know enough about the tax system but my wife and I probably don’t want any additional tax credits after our next child is born. 🙂
The citizenship question for my wife and me
Before leaving the Philippines, Cha and I started talking about our long-term plan. We talked about staying in the US for about 10 years, save up money, build our family up, and then we’ll revisit and make a decision on whether we’d stay in the USA longer or return to the Philippines.
That was 5 years ago. With our Green Card, we can stay in the USA legally until 2029. We also have the option of applying for naturalization in 2024. We can become citizens.
But do we really want that?
We haven’t really thought about the full implications of applying for US citizenship, although many of our friends are advising us to pursue that path.
I know of at least two people in the USA who have not given up their Philippine citizenship even after years and years of staying in the USA because of strong nationalist sentiments.
Last week, I spoke with another friend who told me that he only applied for citizenship the year that Obama was up for election. He wanted to be part of history in electing the first African-American President of the USA.
What about the future of our kids: especially the American citizens?
A couple friend of ours have a 3-year old daughter who was born here in Tennessee. They are now thinking to stay in the USA for good because of her.
For sure, having kids who are American citizens complicates our decision-making process on whether we want to stay in the USA or go back to the Philippines.
The good thing is, we don’t need to make the decision right now. We have 5-10 years to make the decision… something we won’t take lightly.