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Rogers v. Bellei

United States Supreme Court
401 U.S. 815 (1971)


Section 301(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (the Act), grants citizenship at birth to persons born abroad having one alien parent and one parent who is a United States citizen. Section 301(b) of the Act, however, states that said citizens shall lose citizenship unless they live in the United States for at least five consecutive years between the ages of 14 and 28. Bellei (plaintiff) was born in Italy in 1939 to an Italian father and American mother, and visited but never lived in the United States. Bellei failed to comply with Section 301(b) of the Act, and in 1963 was consequently warned twice in writing by the United States that he was at risk of losing his United States citizenship. In 1964 and 1966, Bellei was informed by the American embassy in Rome, verbally and in writing, respectively, that he had lost his United States citizenship. Bellei challenged the constitutionality of the Act against Rogers (defendant), claiming the Act violates the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and Fourteenth Amendment Citizenship Clause. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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