Student struggles with possibility of losing citizenship in birth country


Torn between a country that she grew up in and the country that she now calls home, Dominyka Salaviejute, a Lithuanian immigrant, is unsure of what her future holds.

A mandatory referendum is going up for vote on May 12 and May 26 that has the power to alter a standard Lithuanian law. This law currently states that Lithuanian citizens cannot have dual citizenship with any other country.

This particularly affects former Harper student, Dominyka because she is becoming an American citizen soon and does not want to lose her citizenship in Lithuania.

“My green card is expiring next year and I have the option to either renew it or apply for a citizenship,” Dominyka said. “Lawyers advised me to become a citizen because Trump is making immigration laws much more strict.”

She is taking her American citizenship test on April 8th.

She is nervous but remains very hopeful that the law will be altered.

“There are a lot of immigrants not only in the United States but all over the world and they are all going to vote,” Dominyka said. “Many families in Lithuania have other family members abroad, who support them by sending money back home. Those families will definitely express their opinions in voting for dual citizenship with hope that their loved ones will be able to freely choose where to live.”

This leads her to believe that they have the edge over the opposing side.


Not all, however, are as optimistic as Dominyka is about the referendum. Simona Gendrolyte, who is also a Lithuanian immigrant currently residing in St. Petersburg, Florida said “I am hoping that we will be able to have dual citizenship but I think that there are not enough people that will vote because they do not care about the issue.”

Simona initially did not want to get her American citizenship but said that she has reconsidered due to Donald Trump invoking new laws on immigration.

“I am afraid that my green card will not be enough one day,” Simona said.

Dominyka has many family members still in Lithuania such as her father and grandparents.

Her father informed her that the early pollings are indicating that more than half of Lithuanian citizens feel that the law should be changed.

The argument for the side that is against Lithuanians having dual citizenships is that they feel that people will leave Lithuania and come back with more money to open businesses with. While this may seem like a good idea for the economy, citizens with businesses are afraid that they will be unable to compete with them and therefore lose their establishments.

For Dominyka, her main concern is being able to see her family members back home without any complications.

“The European Union, which Lithuania is apart of, is planning to have a law that would require American citizens to have a VISA to travel to Europe,” Dominyka said. “This would mean that I would need a VISA to go back home to the country that I was born in.”

Having a citizenship would eliminate these imposing issues that may be in the near future as Dominyka would be an exception to those conditions since she would be a Lithuanian citizen.

She states that moving to America was not an easy choice for her to make as it meant leaving her family.

Her mom had been in America for years before she came over and had already established a life here.

This made the transition easier for her but she still overcame many obstacles due to her not being fully fluent in English when she arrived in America at just 13 years old.

She tries her best to keep a strong connection with her loved ones back in Lithuania through Skype but states that it is not the same as seeing them in person.

“It is not easy especially with my grandparents being old, you never know what could happen or when they will get sick. It is nice having the freedom now to go back home whenever I choose,” Dominyka said.

Dominyka is forced into a position where she may have to choose between America and Lithuania.

Time will only tell whether the law will remain the same or be changed due to the amount of Lithuanians that have immigrated to other countries.