What does patriotism mean when you’re a citizen of two different countries?

Many immigrants to the United States believe they can be loyal to both their home country and to the U.S. (Mariana Monteiro)

See also “The benefits and drawbacks of dual nationality

Some might believe that those with dual nationality can’t have allegiance to their own country. However, for many dual-nationality citizens, it is possible to love and be loyal to more than one country. 

Dr. Patricia Gándara, a professor at UCLA, wrote in her journal Patriotism and Dual Citizenship, “I am a citizen of two countries — the United States and Mexico — and I have a deep love of both, for different reasons.”

In the journal, Gándara describes how many argue it is impossible to be truly loyal to one country while also being a citizen of a different country. She wrote, “I believe that a patriot is a person who loves his or her country and therefore wants it to be the best it is capable of being.”

Noelle Remington grew up in the U.S. and later became a citizen of Canada.

Noelle Remington grew up in the U.S. and later became a citizen of Canada.

“I think that equal love or loyalty to a country would depend on your reasons for emigrating,” Remington said. “Those seeking freedom from persecution may feel differently than those who moved because of employment.”

Although the reasons for seeking a dual nationality may change, Remington said she still believes a person can love two countries, as she does.

Taysia Kerrison grew up in Alberta, Canada, but went on frequent road trips to the U.S., where she lives today.

I think that people can be equally loyal and love two countries. I think it just takes time for a country to grow on you,” Kerrison said.

Taylor Orr also grew up in Canada and moved to the U.S. to attend BYU. He agrees with Kerrison.

Taylor Orr grew up in Canada and moved to the U.S. to attend BYU.

“The longer I’ve been here in the U.S., the more patriotic I feel towards this country and greater appreciation I have for it,” Orr said. “I still tell people I’m Canadian, not American, but I love both countries.”

Juan Garcia was born in Colombia and moved to Florida with his family when he was three years old. 

I am grateful for America and its freedom,” Garcia said, adding he is “proud to be Colombian.”

He said having a balance between the two cultures was very important to him while growing up. “This helped me to understand that no one culture or country is better than the other,” he said.

Ava Cecil, who is originally from the Philippines but lives in the U.S. today, said she also appreciates and sees the value of two different countries’ cultures.

Ava Cecil is originally from the Philippines but lives in the U.S. today.

“They each have their own uniqueness and cultures,” she said. “I love my home country and do miss it, but the U.S. will always be a special kind of home for me as well.”

Cecil currently lives in Utah with her husband and their two children.

“I think I am a patriot by not forgetting my roots and teaching my kids about their heritage,” Cecil said.

Holt Zaugg has a U.S. and Canadian dual nationality and said he gets “the best of both worlds.”

“You look at the U.S. and see everything they have done to help people find freedom … and their willingness to help people,” Zaugg said.

Zaugg elaborated on this with an example.

Holt Zaugg has a U.S. and Canadian dual nationality.

“The U.S. is one of the first nations when there’s a disaster. You think of those miners that were caught in that mine in Chile,” he said. “The U.S. team that came down and drilled the hole, and if you look at the guys and watch the interviews, it was like, ‘We are Americans; this is what we do. We help people. We solve the problem,’ and that is one of the things that it’s great to be associated with.”

Zaugg said he feels equally proud of both countries. He praised Canadians as “very volunteer-oriented” and “very multicultural.”

Zaugg refers to his dual nationality as “a dual blessing.” He said that asking which country is his favorite is like asking a child of two loving parents which he loves the most. Listen to Zaugg talk about the richness of the cultures in the audio file below.

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