The Making of Extraterritorial Citizenship and the Approval of Emigrant Political Rights: The Cases of Argentina and Colombia 1900-1993

Leydy Diossa-Jimenez, University of California, Los Angeles

Conventional citizenship and voting-rights theories, which hold that only polity members within the territory can participate in the politics of their state, have been disputed by the current forms of extra-territorial citizenship and external voting rights. During the 1990s, Latin American countries approved different legislation allowing the political participation of their citizens residing outside of the territory (e.g. dual-citizenship, voting from abroad, and parliamentary representation). This paper compares trajectories of approval of emigrant political rights in Colombia and Argentina. While Colombia is a case of substantive political rights approved under the Constitutional Assembly of 1991, Argentina is a case of restrictive political rights maintained by the constitutional restrictions of 1912. Two different processes account for the divergent trajectories of emigrant rights in Argentina and Colombia. First, the high mobilization of Argentine exiles contrasted with the weak organization of Colombians abroad. As a result, Argentine exiles were more strongly perceived as a threat to the democratizing polity as compared to the Colombian emigrants. Second, the public deliberations of the Constitutional Assembly in Colombia contrasted with the private reform of the emigrant law in Argentina. As a result, the political reform in Colombia was more substantively implemented as compared to the political reform in Argentina. This study used archival data from the National Archive of the Nation in Colombia, The Archive of the National Senate in Argentina between 1900 and 1993, The Contemporary Oral History Archive of Argentina and interviews with keyholders of the 1980s including former presidents, politicians, representatives, and senators.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 135. Laws, Rights, Policies: Migrants in the Americas