Reacting to David Cameron's recent comment that "multiculturalism has failed," Peter Kirsanow notes that the U.S. "hasn't traveled as far down the road of multiculturalism as Britain," but he also notes that we've gone further than many think.
One area that might be worth highlighting is in the area of citizenship. The day someone becomes a U.S. citizen, he becomes an American in the most important respect. His character as an American is whole, perfect, and complete. By contrast, familes can be citizens of France or Britain for generations, but still not be thought of as British or French. The same is true in most countries. What sets the U.S. apart is that citizenship in America has been, in principle, primarily political. It has not been based on soild or blood, but, instead, it has been based upon being party to the compact built on the principles of 1776 and confirmed when we the people ratified the compact in 1787-88.
By making citizenship depend primarily on soil, and also, to a degree, on blood, birthright citnzenship changes that.
The efforts we have seen in the past few decades to make it easier to be a citizen of the U.S. and another nation fit in here too. (Dual citizenship makes no sense if citizenship is primarily political, but which is possile when citizenship is cultural--Once we're talking culture, however, citizenship probably is no longer the best word. Race or ethnicity would probably be better). The efforts to weaken our citizenship oath in the same line. These efforts are all, ultimately, of a piece with a reading of the constitution which separates citizenship from the principles of 1776.