By: E. J. Dionne, Jr., Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, September 7, 2012
Vice President Joe Biden is right: There should be two senators from the District of Columbia, not to mention at least one voting member of the U.S. House. Americans living in the U.S. capital, in other words, should have the basic rights of citizenship that they are currently denied.
The fact that more than 630,000 U.S. citizens living in the United States of America are not represented in Congress is an outrage and an insult to the most fundamental right due to all American citizens: representation in government. Remember the American Revolution (and the original tea party)? They were complaining about taxation without representation. More than two centuries later those residing in what should be the living symbol of democratic ideals of representative government are experiencing taxation without representation.
As a point of comparison, imagine the outrage if Boston (with an estimated 2011 population of more than 625,000) was removed from the congressional map; or Seattle (more than 620,000 as of 2011); or Milwaukee (597,000 in 2011); Las Vegas (589,000 in 2011); or Atlanta (432,000 in 2011).
This is a mostly but not entirely partisan issue, though it is often seen through that rather puerile lens. It’s gotten support from prominent conservatives like Ken Starr and Viet Dinh. And at least partial restoration of these basic American rights nearly occurred four years ago before it was derailed by – wait for it – a squabble over gun rights.
Parting thought: For the first 10 years of the District of Columbia’s existence, before it became the seat of the federal government in 1800, D.C. citizens had congressional representation. When Maryland and Virginia ceded the land to the government for the creation of the District, those living there were still allowed to vote in their old states’ congressional and legislative races. Once the federal government moved to D.C., those basic rights were revoked. That revocation is a festering wound on the country’s democratic spirit.
Congress gaveth and then tooketh away … it’s time it giveth back.
By: Robert Schlesinger, U. S. News and World Report, May 3, 2013
“Birther Hypocrisy”: Right Wing Has No Problem With Canadian Born Senator Ted Cruz Running For President
A great moment in the annals of birtherism took place last week at CPAC….and nobody much appeared to notice.
Shortly after Sarah Palin finished cooing over the introduction she had received from Senator Ted Cruz—during which the half-term governor reminded us that we need more people like the Texas Senator in Washington—Palin turned her attention to President Obama’s support for background checks for those who wish to purchase a gun.
“More background checks?” Palin asked. “Dandy idea, Mr. President -should’ve started with yours.”
While Palin’s return to birtherism accomplished the intended laugh from the appreciative crowd, there was someone in the room who was likely not laughing.
That would be Senator Ted Cruz—the man who so glowingly introduced Ms. Palin and a man who clearly views himself as being on a populist track to the White House. He’s not alone in that regard as four percent of the votes registered in the CPAC straw poll were cast in support of Mr. Cruz, the man often referred to as the Republican Barack Obama.
Ironically, there can be little doubt that among those who expressed their support for a Cruz presidency at CPAC were attendees who continue to question the current president’s constitutional right to hold the office.
I say it is ironic because, while so many on the Right invested heavily in making the argument that Barack Obama lacked constitutional qualification to be our Commander In Chief due to his alleged foreign birth in Kenya, it turns out that Tea Party hero Cruz finds himself in precisely the same circumstance—except that Cruz’s foreign point of origin is openly acknowledged.
Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, the son of an American mother and a Cuban father. Were we to buy into the birtherism claim that Obama was, indeed, born in Kenya, then he too would have been foreign born as the son of an American mother and a father who was a citizen of a foreign land.
While the controversy that has dogged President Obama has focused on the President’s claim that he came into the world in a hospital in Hawaii, if we are to accept the argument of birther-in-chief Donald Trump—who made a ‘name’ for himself in politics by alleging that the President had, indeed, been born in a foreign country—then there is no way that Senator Cruz could be qualified to run for the presidency.
Yet, there is no shortage of Cruz supporters who are prepared to argue that he is a natural born American, despite being born in Canada. Why? Because his mother was, unquestionably, an American citizen at the time of Cruz’s birth.
But is being born to an American mother in a foreign land enough to meet the constitutional requirements to hold the office?
The United States Constitution requires that a candidate for the office of the president be a “natural-born” citizen. While what constitutes a natural born citizen is not defined in the text of the Constitution and has never been directly addressed by the Supreme Court, we do know that there have been laws promulgated that defines the status of a child born outside of the United States to parents where either one or both are American citizens.
According to the State Department—
“Birth Abroad to Two U.S. Citizen Parents in Wedlock
A child born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provided that one of the parents had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth. The child is considered to be born in wedlock if the child is the genetic issue of the married couple.”
It would thus appear that for Senator Cruz to qualify as a natural-born citizen under this paragraph, (a) both of his parents would need to be U.S. citizens at the time of birth; and (b) one of the parents had a residence in the US at the time of birth.
Senator Cruz’s mother was clearly an American citizen—having been born in Delaware—at the time she gave birth to her son. However, Mr. Cruz’s father was a Cuban immigrant who, according to a statement issued this week by Cruz’s spokesman, was not an American citizen prior to his taking his wife to Canada to work in the oil business.
Thus, under this definition, it would appear that an argument could be successfully made that Senator Cruz is not a natural-born U.S. citizen.
It is worth noting that other candidates for president have fallen under this definition of qualification. Governor George Romney was born in Mexico to two parents who were both American citizens at the time of his birth. Thus, there were no serious challenge set forth to Romney’s meeting the constitutional test of being a natural born citizen.
There is, however, an additional definition that could cover Senator Cruz as set forth by the State Department:
“Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock
A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the INA provided the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child’s birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen, is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.) The U.S. citizen parent must be genetically related to the child to transmit U.S. citizenship.”
Under this definition, it would seem clear that Senator Cruz would meet the qualifications to run for President as his mother lived in the United States for at least ten years after she was fourteen years of age prior to going to Canada (note that the rule does not require that the ten years be consecutive.)
Accordingly, it appears—at least to me—that Senator Cruz is in the clear should he decide to take a run at the White House.
But…if you agree that Cruz is constitutionally qualified to seek the presidency and you are one of those who expended so much energy going after President Obama’s qualifications as a natural-born citizen, many of us would like to know how you justify such blatant hypocrisy? After all, even if Obama was born in Kenya, he was born to a mother who was an American citizen at her birth and who had also spent the requisite amount of her life after turning fourteen years of age living in the United States (see update on this law at the end of the article.)
To get an answer to this question, I reached out to Donald Trump’s office to get his take on this issue as he would appear to consider himself a leading authority on this subject.
At the time of publication of this article, there has been no response from Mr. Trump.
Again, my own understanding of how we have treated the question of natural-born citizenship would conclude that Senator Cruz is fully qualified under the Constitution to seek the top office in the land if that should be his wish. He was never naturalized as an American citizen because it was never necessary to do so. He was one of us from the moment he arrived in this world.
But if Cruz is qualified, there can be no argument that Barack Obama was not qualified in the same way, even if you choose to believe that he is Kenyan born. To allow the blatant hypocrisy of those who spent endless hours of time and untold sums of money seeking to discredit Barack Obama only to now be perfectly willing to give Senator Cruz a pass on the subject would simply be wrong and cannot be allowed, now or in the future should Cruz seek the office, to pass unnoticed.
UPDATE: A reader correctly notes that when Barack Obama was born, his mother was three months shy of her 19th birthday which means that had he been born in Kenya, his mother would not have reached the 5 years after her 14th birthday as required by the law for him to be a natural born American. This is true. However, subsequent acts of Congress relaxed the requirement to a total number of years a parent must live in the U.S. to five years, including just two years after the age of 14 (note that this happened long before Obama entered political life.) This means that Obama’s mother would have still qualified even if the President was born in Kenya and his mother was just 16. What’s more Congress made the law retroactive to 1952. As Obama was born in 1961, he would be a natural born citizen under the same law cited in the article.
By: Rick Ungar, Op-Ed Contributor, Forbes, March 21, 2013
Senator Ted Cruz isn’t a fan of the “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants already in the United States. His remarks on the subject were a response to a new immigration proposal in Congress. “There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration,” he said. “I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with the rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.”
Over the years, I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of that argument.
The typical illegal immigrant is born, through no fault of his own, into an impoverished country with low standards of living, endemic corruption, and few economic opportunities for bettering his lot. There are richer countries where he could live a much better life. But the people born into those richer countries, owing to nothing but dumb luck, have enacted restrictive immigration laws that make it effectively impossible for someone of his stature to immigrate legally.
In one of those rich countries, the United States, most people who made the restrictive laws wouldn’t even be here but for the unrestricted immigration policy that prevailed when their ancestors arrived.
But back to the typical illegal immigrant.
In his impoverished land, he faces a choice: severely limit his life opportunities by staying in his home country; play the lottery of immigrating legally, which almost always consigns him to the same fate; or bid his family goodbye, sneak across the border, get a job, send much-needed money home to his loved ones, and radically improve his own life prospects by performing honest labor for people who want to buy it. His sneaking in doesn’t take anyone else’s “spot.” No legal immigrant was slowed down by his illegal entry. But he did break a duly codified law.
Is that unfair? Let’s say that it is.
Here he is in the United States seven years later. He’s been regularly employed. He hasn’t committed any crimes. He’s better off. His family back home is better off. His employer is better off. There may be people without high-school diplomas who are slightly worse off due to lower wages.
Am I to understand that fairness demands that the people born into the rich country through sheer luck forcibly repatriate the man to the poor country where he was born through no fault of his own?
In fact, it’s among the worst of the arguments against a path to citizenship. And it isn’t improved by invoking supposedly wronged legal immigrants. There’s a tiny subset of people from other countries so unusually lucky that they win the immigration lottery — they get to come here legally, without sneaking across a dangerous border, because of luck. You’re telling me that fairness is advanced if, for those lucky few, we deport the guy who lost the immigration lottery?
When he is arrested, jailed for a few months, flown to a city not his own in his home country, and returns to the place of his birth, an impoverished village where he has no friends or prospects, I’m supposed to look at that outcome and think, Well, good, the fair thing happened!?
There may be good arguments for opposing a “path to citizenship.” Fairness is not one of them.
By: Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, January 29, 2013
They’re willing to give him a pass on the first time, but if Chief Justice John Roberts swears in President Barack Obama this time around, the birthers are ready for him.
In an op-ed published last week by WND, Craige McMillan says Roberts could be impeached by Congress if he swears in the president, whom McMillan says is not a natural-born citizen.
From McMillan’s op-ed:
If you choose the easy course of ignoring our Constitution, it does not change the fact that Mr. Obama is barred by that same Constitution from acting as president. I am sure that if you turn your judicial mind to the ramifications of this fraud, both foreign and domestic, you will understand that the harm you will have done insures your impeachment and eternal dishonor at some point down the road: If not this House of Representatives, then the next, or the next, or the next.
These things do not end well. One need only look to the aftermath of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials to see what awaits. Illegal wars. Illegal debts. Illegal laws. Will the rest of the Supreme Court’s justices, now knowing they are violating their own oath of office, continue the sham through a second presidential term?
The rant, first brought to our attention by The Huffington Post, goes on to urge Roberts to refuse to administer the oath of office.
But The National Memo, a political newsletter and website, is not having it.
In an op-ed called “Today In Crazy,” the publication writes “the reliably unhinged crazies over at WorldNetDaily” are just being melodramatic.
From The National Memo:
“Too bad this particular trip to Batty Birtherville, despite its darkly turgid undertones, is about as legitimate as all the others. It’s the same old song and dance… they demand to see the birth certificate. They are shown the birth certificate. They claim birth certificate can’t be real. Then they start shrieking that he “refuses” to show the birth certificate. They are again shown the birth certificate. They’re then shown the birth announcement from the local Hawaii newspaper from 1961. So they scream louder, “WHERE’S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?” because the proof that it exists is overwhelming, and everyone knows that the louder you scream, the more right you are… even in the face of mounting and irrefutable proof that you’re wrong.”
By: Abby Rogers, Business Insider, January 10, 2013