Lv 7
Rick31 asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 1 decade ago

Isn't a person born to an American parent a native born citizen?

I see so many conflicting references about what native born means. Some say the person has to be born on American soil, but isn't a child born to an American parent also a native born citizen? Since Obama's mother was American wouldn't be be born as an American regardless if he was born in Hawaii or Kenya? My nieces were born in Germany to American parents and they were American citizens at birth even though they were born in a German hospital. I'd just like to know the truth.

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There is a difference between a 'citizen' and a 'natural born citizen'.

    A 'citizen' can be a naturalized US citizen by immigrating to the US and applying for citizenship, a native-born US citizen by just being born in the US (jus soli - right of soil), or a US citizen by descent by being born to a US citizen parent (jus sanguinis - right of blood) .

    A "natural-born citizen" is someone who was born to two US citizen parents on US soil.

    Rep. John Bingham of Ohio, chief architect of the 14th Amendment's first section, considered the proposed national law on citizenship as “simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen…” (Congressional Globe, 39th congress, 1st session, March 9, 1866)

    "Not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty" is the key phrase here. Both parents had to be US citizens, neither could be non-US citizen because then they would owe allegiance to a foreign sovereignty.

    The Supreme Court case of PERKINS v. ELG (1939) defined a natural born citizen as a person who was born on US soil to two US citizen parents.It defined it in two places; once by declaring Ms. Elg a "natural born citizen" (she was born to two Swedish immigrant naturalized US citizen parents on US soil) and once by citing the Steinkauler case, in which a young man was born on US soil to two naturalized US citizen parents and said of him "in due time, if the people elect, he can become President of the United States"

    See PERKINS V. ELG - http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c...

    It was also defined in MINOR v. HAPPERSETT (1874) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c... where the court said "At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens ..."

    In the Supreme Court case of Kwock Jan Fat v. White, 253 U.S. 454 (1920) The father of Kwock Jan Fat was a native-born US citizen, born on US soil of Chinese nationals. The mother of Kwock Jan Fat was a naturalized US citizen by virtue of her marriage to a US citizen. http://supreme.justia.com/us/253/454/case.html

    Kwock Jan Fat was Born of two US citizens on US soil and thus a "natural born citizen."

    To be eligible to serve as the President of the United States, the person must be a 'natural born citizen' (or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the constitution) per Article 2 Section 1 of the US Constitution. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constituti...

    Barack Obama's father was not an immigrant to the US. He was in the US on a student visa and was a British/Kenyan citizen. He never had "legal resident" status and he never applied for US citizenship.

    Because Barack Obama was born on US soil he is a "native born citizen", but because his father was not a citizen, he is not a "natural born citizen" and is not a Constitutionally legal President.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There are ample supporting documents to the U.S. Constitution and ratification thereof which are crystal clear.

    Hamilton was - for good reason - being singled out as ineligible to run for president. He was born in the East Indies to parents native to the colonies. Since he wasn't born on U.S. soil, he was not considered a "natural born citizen".

    This is the determination of the Court (at least it was for the first 150 years, or so) as to eligibility. Until an Amendment says otherwise (and, no, the 14th does not contradict this) it remains law.

    The 14th Amendment was and is clear concerning its basis in "Natural Law", that the new-born is under the same jurisdiction as his/her parents. If an illegal alien gives birth on U.S. soil, the law does N O T automatically grant citizenship to that child. Read the 39th Congressional Globe, specifically those statements on the Senate floor by Andrew Johnson, Jacob Howard and Lyman Trumball.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That is why there is so much "confusion" over this issue, since there seems to be much grey area over just what PRECISELY "Natural" Born citizen means.

    Natural born.........so does that make C-Section babies ineligible?

    That's not "Natural".....that's a medical procedure. Har Har.

    There is also much ado made of babies being abroad, NOT On U:S. SOIL.

    But those people seem to forget that EMBASSIES and MILITARY bases, around the world, regardless of where they are.........are CONSIDERED US SOIL, and PROTECTED by US LAW..........which is why they fly the AMERICAN flag, and NOT the flag of the country they are in.

    They are 100% extensions of US SOIL, in every manner, LEGALLY.

    Children born abroad, are another matter......often by LAW, citizens of the country they were BORN in........but that does NOT forbid their parents from REQUESTING and RECEIVING FULL US CITIZENSHIP.

    Socail security cards and US passorts......regardless of country of birth.....if ONE, not even both, just ONE of the parents is a US citizen

    In that case, the child would have FULL DUAL citizenship in TWO countries.

    There is NO U.S. Law on the books that expressly FORBIDS this. You often hear people say you are forced to give one up. NO, you are not. NOT by America.

    If Indonesia or Kenya has such laws....that is a matter of KENYAN law.

    The USA does NOT make any such "requirement".

    So what Obama's mother told the Indonesian authorities, is between her and Indonesia.

    She is STILL a US citizen. If Barak was born in Hawaii, and went to live in Indonesia......he is STILL a US citizen.

    His choice of homes and living conditions does not change his BIRTHRIGHT, and it was NOT his choice...but his mothers.

    He gave up NOTHING. Born in Hawaii, makes him a US CITIZEN. PERIOD.

    When I see PROOF he was born in Kenya.......then we can talk.

    That proof, will no doubt show up sometime after that "whitey" tape surfaces. All they got right now, is rumor and lies.

    Slap the PROOF down on the table, and SHOW me the Kenyan Birth ceriticate.

    The state of Hawaii recognized the evidence offered..........he was living in Hawaii at the time of his birth...that is well documented........

    and he was raised in Hawaii........before moving overseas and abroad.

    He is a Natural born CITIZEN 20 times over until someone comes up with some PROOF showing other wise.

    and at the end of the day.........I don't get it............McCain was born in Panama............so aren't all these arguments, moot really, since he would have been ineligible too????

    Why does the Constitution only apply to Obama but NOT McCain. ???

    The answer is.....it applies to them BOTH, and they BOTH meet the requirement. END of story.

    Source(s): DUAL CITIZENSHIP........VOTED FROM ABROAD and YEAH; STILL PAY MY US TAXES! and my son is a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN ALSO, dual citizenship! So unlike some here......I actually KNOW what I am talking about.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If your parents are US Citizens and you are born in another nation, within the jurisdiction of that nation you must declare your citizenship at 18- if you declare us citizenship you are considered natural born.

    If you are born on US soil and subject to the jurisdiction of us soil you are a natural citizen.

    RomneyM - US Constitution amendment 14 states a person is citizen when born on US Soil and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Nothing about parents citizenship

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  • isn't a person born to an american parent overseas an citized

  • 1 decade ago

    A person is native born if they are born on American soil. Being born to a parent who is a citizen simply grants your American citizenship.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    you are only a native born citizen if you are born on american soil which could be any of the states or military bases (even if it's in another country) if you are born off of american soil to a citizen that only gives you citizenship

    obama was born in hawai'i which is a state so he is a citizen his mother never went to kenya

  • KylieV
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    According to the US constitution which evidently can be used for toilet paper now, a natural born citizen is one who was born on US soil and both parents are US citizens. You can look it up yourself, that is the definition according to the constitution. Since Obama was likely born in Kenya that excludes him and if he really was born in Hawaii it still excludes him his father was not an American citizen at the time of his birth, never was to my knowledge. If they want to disregard that proof then when he forfeited his American citizenship to attend a Muslim school in Indonesia (which was required since Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship status) then that alone should have disqualified him. He went to the Muslim school by the name Barry Soetoro. He is not eligible to be POTUS that is why he refuses to show the birth certificate in question, there are still lawsuits over this issue.

  • 1 decade ago

    I believe as I understand it that a person is a naturalized citizen if he or she is born to an american citizen...no matter where. That person would also be a citizen of the country in which he or she was born in most cases....i.e. dual citizenship.

  • 1 decade ago

    The relevant term that you should be focusing on is the term, "natural born citizen." That is what the Constitution specifies.

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