The Tragicomedy of Legitimation Jurisprudence after Watson v. Holder

Immigration Briefings (Westlaw), 2014

60 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2015

Date Written: December 1, 2014


This article painstakingly reviews the statutes, jurisprudence, and potential litigation strategies relating to proving derivative citizenship, when "legitimation" is disputed.

Legitimacy sounds like an old-fashioned legal concept, but “legitimation,” or the lack thereof, nevertheless has serious immigration consequences. Whether an out-of-wedlock child is “legitimated” may determine if he or she is able to acquire citizenship at birth abroad through a U.S.-citizen parent or through a parent's naturalization. It also may determine whether an alien relative petition can be approved so that a noncitizen can immigrate to the United States. As the importance of legitimacy to other areas of the law decreases, it has grown increasingly difficult to interpret and apply the relevant immigration provisions.

Suggested Citation

Murray-Tjan, Laura, The Tragicomedy of Legitimation Jurisprudence after Watson v. Holder (December 1, 2014). Immigration Briefings (Westlaw), 2014, Available at SSRN:

Laura Murray-Tjan (Contact Author)

Boston College Law School ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

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