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HA, WET CLIMATE (a Matthew Alice anagram):

To settle a bet, I called the INS to see if there is such a thing as dual citizenship for a U.S. citizen. Ha ha ha. Hope the elves have more luck than I did. After hearing "gray area" and "look the other way" more than once, I gave up. Now it's your turn.

-- Hannah Duff, Mission Valley

The INS knows what to do with you if you don't have papers. If you do have papers and want even more, that's not their department. They might have referred you to the State Department, but that would have been a helpful thing. So naturally you turn to the elves. And they say the Supreme Court cleared up any confusion back in 1967, when they ruled that the U.S. has no power to strip you of your citizenship just for holding other passports, as long as those other countries don't require that you renounce your U.S. connection. And for naturalized U.S. citizens, the oath says they should give up "any allegiance and fidelity to any foreign state," but that's ignored now. The only grayish bit might come if your dual passports declare war on each other, and you're drafted into both armies.

Something like 125 other countries permit either full or some type of limited-privilege dual citizenship. That covers most of your big-name countries, including Mexico. But what a deal you can get in a spot like Belize or Antigua or St. Kitts. Just deposit anywhere from $20,000 to $250,000 in one of their banks, and they'll give you citizenship. Better than a toaster, I think. Move to Costa Rica with an income of at least $1000 a month, and magically you're Costa Rican. A guy from Brooklyn ran for president of the Dominican Republic. The president of Lithuania is from Illinois. So there's your answer. And as always, I, WET CAMEL HAT, am glad to be of service.

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