For all his life, 95-year-old Leland Davidson had been what you might call an undocumented American.Born in Canada, of an American father and a Canadian mother, I'm an American citizen. I have a "Certificate of Birth Abroad" and a current passport, but if I were to, say, vacation in British Columbia and lose my passport--stranger things have happened--how would I prove that my citizenship is legit? (It doesn't help that "Jim Anderson" is a terribly common name.)
Born in Canada to American parents who moved him to the United States when he was 5, Davidson grew up and lived his life like any other American. He started voting as soon as he could, obtained a Social Security number when he was 21 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Yet his U.S. citizenship, automatically derived from his parents, came into question last summer — as it has been for a growing number of Canadian-born Americans — when he was planning a trip to British Columbia and applied for an enhanced Washington driver's license.
The licenses are for U.S. citizens only — allowing re-entry into the United States from Canada. Davidson was shocked when Department of Licensing staff told him: "You're still a Canadian."
After months untangling his status, the Centralia man Tuesday received a long-overdue recognition of his U.S. citizenship, when he and 51 others — most of them children — were granted certificates of citizenship.
Oh, I remember: just sing all the words to The National Anthem.