This latest “birther” kerfuffle was bound to hit eventually, but I was expecting a more informed rebuttal. Our luminaries are missing key points. Let’s start with what is cited as the law for Citizenship through Parents:
One parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth and the birthdate is before November 14, 1986 but after October 10, 1952:
The parents are married at the time of birth and the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. or its territories for a period of at least ten years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, at least five of which were after his or her 14th birthday. (emphasis mine)
BUT WAIT, that’s what it used to say, but a little elf went in and quietly changed the requirements and no one appears to have noticed. This change happened in late 2014 or early 2015, but people keep citing it, including Mark Levin, as though it still exists. But gone from the link is the cited section for married parents of children born outside of US borders between 1952 and 1986; what remains applies to unmarried parents with different requirements altogether. Surprise, someone in the government is incompetent! Or was that elf a bit more sinister?
Digging a bit deeper into the source documents, we find that current law is:
(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.
Important here is the major reduction in requirements for citizenship at birth (10 reduced to 5 years in the US & 5 reduced to 2 years after age 14.) But even that isn’t what it seems. One needs to delve into the history of immigration law to clear at least some confusion.
The original 1952-1986 requirements were established in Section 301 of the “IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT OF 1952“:
(7) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States, who prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than ten years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.
This explains the 1952 date, but what about the 1986 ending date? What happened to 1986? According to the chronology of US immigration law, nothing. The “IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1986” dealt with other issues. It was the “IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS ACT OF 1994” that first introduced the reduced requirements:
Amended Section 322 permits children born overseas of a U.S. citizen parent to be eligible for a certificate of citizenship if either a U.S. citizen parent or a U.S. citizen grandparent had been physically present in the United States for at least five years, two of which after the age of 14, prior to the child’s birth abroad. This provision also applies to a child adopted abroad.
Not being a government shrink, I can’t begin to understand why these dates and requirements conflict, but there’s still value within them to be gleaned. Various tables show those born between specific years with corresponding requirements. Any reduction of requirements would apply to those born after the effective date of that superseding legislation. In other words, there would be no retroactive qualifying reduction. If one was born before requirements were reduced, one doesn’t get to claim the new rules. That is, unless, Obama’s pen says otherwise.
There is a point to all of this. Ted Cruz was born in 1970; Barack Obama was born in 1961. Both fall under the 1952-1986 requirements. Both are deemed by some to be ineligible for the office of president based on obscure interpretations of Natural Born Citizen.
Ted Cruz’s mother was a US citizen when he was born and met the requirements; that is, she lived in the US over 10 years, 5 of which were after her 14th birthday.
Cruz’s situation isn’t that complicated. He was born in Canada (we know this); his parents were married and working in the oil industry temporarily. His birth was registered in the US consulate. One is either a natural born citizen or a naturalized citizen–there is no in-between category of citizen. There’s nothing disqualifying in his birth place. Cruz is a natural born citizen.
Even by 1790 standards; our very first Congress, Cruz would be eligible since his father was a resident of Texas long before they took work in Canada:
And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States.
But what about Obama, some still bother to ask?
People have lots of theories about Obama’s birth, but the only one that would have threatened his eligibility was if it could be proven he was born outside of the US.
Unlike Ted Cruz, Obama’s mother did NOT live in the US 10 years, 5 years after age 14 before his birth. Obama’s mother was 4 months shy of her 19th birthday when he was born. So, she was 4 months shy (18 years, 8 months, 7 days) of being able to have a natural born citizen in another country. That is why having a birth certificate in Hawaii was so important for Obama. If there wasn’t one, he wasn’t eligible. But, assuming he was born in Hawaii, and even Trump couldn’t make a case to the contrary, Obama was and remains eligible. So, that’s that (or that should be that). And those in search of a new conspiracy can track down that elf to determine why all the scrubbing of citizenship at birth requirements applying to Cruz and, in (conspiracy) theory, Obama.
Next, there’s a misguided belief that both parents must be born in America in order to be a natural born citizen. This is baseless. For instance: “Only one president was the son of two immigrant parents: Andrew Jackson. Five presidents (Thomas Jefferson, James Buchanan, Chester Arthur, Woodrow Wilson, and Herbert Hoover) had just one immigrant parent each.” Furthermore, there were VPs: Spiro Agnew (father Greek), Hubert Humphrey (mother Norwegian) and several others who served w/o any issue with eligibility. And then there were lots of nominees like George McGovern (Mother Canadian), Michael Dukakis (both parents Greek), Geraldine Ferraro (Father Italian), ….
There is nothing in the Constitution or past or current law to support that Cruz, Rubio, Jindal, Haley, and others with one or both foreign-born parents are not constitutionally eligible for high office. They are all natural born citizens. They were all citizens at birth.
In closing, which is eligible, Cruz or Obama? Maybe it’s best to ask which is most qualified to be President. That would definitely be Cruz.
More News You Can Use:
(Hat tip to “B-Squared” and “A. Nonymous” for digging these up.)
Socialism makes you dependent or lazy or both:
… and now, in closing:
He’s even wearing a belt!