Despite ongoing debates on the continued legal significance of citizenship in a globalized world, international comparative tests of the salience of citizenship under the law have yet to be undertaken. This article combines data from US and German courts with interviews of judges from both countries to 1) estimate the punishment consequences of lacking state membership; 2) compare the sentencing gap across international contexts, and; 3) identify and explicate the mechanisms linking citizenship to punishment considerations. Findings show noncitizens receive increased punishment in US and German courts net of legal factors, but this effect is less pronounced in Germany. The interviews suggest that a variety of intervening mechanisms explain these results. Prominent among these is that judges in both countries resent the fact that noncitizens compound their immigrant status with criminal transgressions. However, German judges place greater emphasis on consistency and proportionality at sentencing, thus guarding against overly harsh and disparate punishments.