Fifty-seven people from 16 different countries became naturalized French citizens at a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in New York.
Who said, and on what occasion, that “Our country is not a nation founded on blood, but on shared values”? And who celebrated the “diversity of origins” of new citizens at their naturalization ceremony? Anyone would be forgiven for thinking it was at one of the collective sessions in the United States during which a judge welcomes new U.S. citizens. But this homage to diversity was actually paid by Anne-Claire Legendre, consul general of France, as she honored the new citizenships of 57 people from 16 different countries including the U.S.A., Switzerland, Burkina Faso, Latvia, Morocco, Columbia, and Argentina.
In a sort of role reversal, France is now quicker to grant citizenship than in the past, regardless of the basis or source of the request (provided it is legal), while Trump’s America seems to be increasingly fearful of this diversity. But are these sustainable trends? It is hard to know, as in both France and the United States — two countries founded on the principle of nationality by birth, or jus soli — the law changes constantly to include greater restrictions or openness based on public opinion and governments. Regardless of the different views on the matter, France is no longer Gallic nor Christian, just as the U.S.A. is no longer white. Diversity cannot be stopped. The Consulate of France in New York intelligently chose to celebrate it, and Trump supporters are bigoted enough to deplore it. And too bad for them.
There was one fly in the ointment, however. Having been naturalized twice, as both a French and an American citizen, I find the French ceremony still lacks the solemnity of the equivalent U.S. rite and its pledge of allegiance to the Constitution. But it must also be said that the everchanging nature of the French Constitution prevents anything of the sort.