We Need a Law to Prevent Another President Obama
Now that President Obama is a former president, maybe Congress can now crawl out of their safe spaces and deal with the issue of what is meant by Article II of the U.S. Constitution: "No person except a natural born citizen ... shall be eligible to the Office of President."
In January 2016, Congressman Alan Grayson said he would sue Senator Ted Cruz over his eligibility to be president. Grayson told MSNBC that he would sue over Canadian-born Cruz's natural-born citizen status if the senator ever became the GOP nominee. Why? "Because the Constitution means what it says and says what it means." In February 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump jumped into the fray and said he was "very seriously" thinking about filing a suit to challenge Ted Cruz's eligibility to be president. Senator Cruz's father is Cuban-born; his mother is American. "He was born in Canada, lived there for years." Mr. Trump's suit would have determined if his competitor was a "natural born citizen" as stipulated by the U.S. Constitution.
Under the straw argument that the U.S. Constitution doesn't define what is meant by "natural-born citizen," the media and Washington, D.C. Democrats embraced the media-driven new definition: "natural born citizen" simply means "citizenship due to place of birth."
During the 2007 election cycle, Democrats and the media buttressed Senator Barack Obama's eligibility to be president with an unrelenting campaign that having been born in Hawaii automatically made candidate Obama – a child of a British (Kenyan) national – a "natural born citizen" of the United States. Newspaper and magazine articles steered away from discussing how the son of a Kenyan national could be the next president of the United States. He was born in Hawaii, and that was sufficient. And if anyone challenged the assertion that "natural born citizen" simply meant "citizenship due to place of birth," he was branded a racist and bigot, or worse.
We need a law that enunciates that the constitutional phrase "natural born citizen" means what the Founders articulated those three little words to mean: "born of two American parents."
A child born of two foreign parents is a "natural born citizen" of their parents' country, per their country's constitution, and, if born in America, is not automatically an American citizen. If the Russian ambassador and his wife have a baby at the Georgetown University Medical Center the baby is a citizen of his parents' country – in this case, Russia. Little Vladimir or Baby Ivanka is not an American citizen. They are Russian citizens "by birth." If they wish, they can grow up and immigrate to the U.S. and apply for citizenship. If accepted, then they could become "naturalized" U.S. citizens.
A "natural born citizen" law has to clearly elucidate that naturalized U.S. citizens are not eligible to become president of the United States of America. The New York Post published an October 19, 2013 report claiming that Arnold Schwarzenegger is "mulling a push to change the section of the U.S. Constitution requiring presidential candidates to be American-born." Schwarzenegger was born in Austria to Austrian parents and in 1983 obtained his U.S. citizenship.
A child born of one foreign parent and one American parent, irrespective of where the child is born, is a national of two countries at the same time. From the U.S. State Department, "[t]he concept of dual nationality means that a person is a national of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own nationality laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice."
"Dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and a foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there. Most U.S. nationals, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States."
A "natural born citizen" law has to clearly elucidate that a child of one foreign parent and one American parent falls under the concept of "dual nationality." Dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and a foreign country, the exact condition the Founders considered "improper and dangerous." It should be obvious anyone with dual nationality – due to his split allegiance – is not eligible to become president of the United States.
From the Federalist blog, under the old English common law, birth was viewed as enjoining a "perpetual allegiance" upon all to the king that could never be severed or altered by any change of time or act of anyone. England's "perpetual allegiance" due from birth was extremely unpopular in the American colonies, often referred to as absurd barbarism or simply perpetual nonsense. America went to war with England over the doctrine behind "natural-born subject" in June of 1812.
Children born of two American citizens, irrespective of where the children were born, are "natural born citizens," and unlike those children who were naturalized citizens or those with dual nationalities, they could even grow up to be president of the United States. They have allegiance only to the United States of America.
The Framers of the U.S. Constitution believed that a rogue president is one who has a split allegiance. At the time, about half of the new country was still somewhat loyal to the king. The Founders believed that a candidate for president was less likely to have a hidden split allegiance (to the crown) if he or she was the progeny of two American parents. Not a naturalized citizen. Not the child who held or could have held dual nationality. Only a child born of two American citizens. Also, citizenship is automatically conferred, irrespective of where that child is born.
President Obama acknowledges, through his two books, that he is the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother. The media and Washington, D.C. Democrats sufficiently obscured, redefined, and essentially adjudicated "out of court" the spirit and intent of Article II of the U.S. Constitution. Barack Obama, at the time of his birth, was a child who held or could have held dual nationalities. He was not a child born of two American citizens. He was an illegible candidate who was elected president.
A law needs to be passed to prevent another trampling of the U.S. Constitution.
Mark is the author of espionage thrillers.