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Born overseas to American Citizens--Can he be President?

Beil1958Beil1958 Posts: 572Registered User Member
edited April 2011 in Parent Cafe
Dinner conversation tonight....looking for help settling an argument.... Friends' son born in Italy while his dad was working overseas for an American company, not for the American government.. Both father and mother are American citizens, born in the US. The dinner group was split as to whether or not the son is eligible to be President of the United States. One said he is not eligible because he wasn't born on American soil. The other said he was eligible because he was a citizen at birth, based on the fact that both parents are citizens.

The problem seems to lie in the definition of a natural born citizen, as specified in the Constitution.
Post edited by Beil1958 on
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Replies to: Born overseas to American Citizens--Can he be President?

  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 Posts: 5,924Registered User Senior Member
    A quick google search says yes. I wonder if your party was confusing "natural" with "naturalized."
  • surfcitysurfcity Posts: 806Registered User Member
    I always thought you had to be born on American soil. Possibly born in a US Embassy abroad, but I thought we learned that it had to be American soil.
  • soccerguy315soccerguy315 Posts: 6,638Registered User Senior Member
  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 Posts: 5,924Registered User Senior Member
    Now I am reading mixed things, so I guess I am not sure. The first six things I read defined natural born citizen as someone who was born to US citizens regardless of the actual birth place-- whereas a naturalized citizen would need to apply for citizenship and would not be eligible.

    It isn't just "american soil" for sure, though, I am pretty sure McCain was born in Panama on a military base or something.
  • surfcitysurfcity Posts: 806Registered User Member
    Okay, I just found this on a website on the constitution, so I think I am mistakenL

    Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in the gaps left by the Constitution. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are "citizens of the United States at birth:"

    Anyone born inside the United States *
    Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person's status as a citizen of the tribe
    Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
    Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
    Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
    Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
    Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
    A final, historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.
    * There is an exception in the law — the person must be "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. This would exempt the child of a diplomat, for example, from this provision.

    Anyone falling into these categories is considered natural-born, and is eligible to run for President or Vice President. These provisions allow the children of military families to be considered natural-born, for example.
  • QuantMechQuantMech Posts: 5,591Registered User Senior Member
    It seems to me that the answer is yes, unless neither parent ever had a residence in the US. This might happen if the parents had each acquired American citizenship at their own births, by being born to US citizens abroad, but had never resided in the US.
  • axwaxw Posts: 571Registered User Member
    If a person is born via c-section, can they be considered "natural born"? ;)
  • poetsheartpoetsheart Posts: 5,082Registered User Senior Member
    Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
    Anyone falling into these categories is considered natural-born, and is eligible to run for President or Vice President. These provisions allow the children of military families to be considered natural-born, for example.

    I guess the above provisions would still cover our Hawaiian born President even if he had been born somewhere outside the US.:rolleyes:
  • TheGFGTheGFG Posts: 4,606Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, he can be President so long as his parents had the foresight to obtain for him the necessary certification from the American Embassy in Italy. In order to be eligible for a Certification of Birth of an American Citizen Abroad, certain requirements must have been met. One of them is that one or both parents be a US citizen (no problem there) and another is that the parent is residing in the foreign country only temporarily, which I think is defined as 5 years or less but I'd have to look it up. If the child has an American birth certificate issued by the US Embassy, he is eligible to be President.
  • QuantMechQuantMech Posts: 5,591Registered User Senior Member
    axw, the answer to your question is yes, except in Shakespearean plays.
  • rocketman08rocketman08 Posts: 1,194Registered User Member
    You have to be a US citizen by birthright. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to be born physically within the US (so long as your parents are US citizens and file the necessary paperwork).
  • spursterspurster Posts: 189Registered User Junior Member
    Wasn't John McCain born in Panama?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 35,984Registered User Senior Member
    spurster wrote:
    Wasn't John McCain born in Panama?

    He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, which was an unincorporated US territory at the time of his birth in 1936. There were also some questions about US citizenship for those born there, but a 1937 law retroactively made persons born there since 1904 of at least one US citizen parent US citizens by birth.
  • massloumasslou Posts: 333Registered User Member
    I'm finding this discussion very interesting! I'd also thought one must have been born on American soil/military/foreign service installation.

    I don't wish to make this a political thread as, frankly, I'm tired of all the 'birther' talk....)

    If the #6 post above is accurate, what is the argument involving the current President? Even if he was born in Kenya (and I'm not saying he was!), his mother was a citizen and had lived here the requisite number of years....Doesn't this info discount the argument about his qualification? Wouldn't he still be a citizen at birth? Can't believe this is so complicated!
  • MarianMarian Posts: 9,323Registered User Senior Member
    There was actually some fuss about this issue several decades ago, when Mitt Romney's father George Romney ran for President. George Romney had been born in Mexico to American parents. I don't know whether the issue was ever settled. George Romney didn't get the nomination, and people seemed to forget about it.
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