Is Andy Martin a Natural Born Citizen?

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by William Reynolds

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that the President must be a "natural born Citizen," which some scholars say means born in the country to two parents who are citizens at the time of the birth

(Feb. 28, 2011) — Conservative activist Andy Martin recently announced that he is running for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012, and just released his first campaign advertisement about Obama’s eligibility.  But there are some things Mr. Martin has been silent about when it comes to his own eligibility.

Research shows that Martin’s full name is Anthony Robert Martin-Trigona, and his website claims that he was born in 1945 in Middletown, Connecticut.

None of Martin’s campaign websites identify either of his parents.  But where he avoids disclosure, other websites provide answers.  This genealogical website includes “Anthony Robert Martin-Trigona born 1945,” and identifies his parents as “Ralph Beneducci Martin-Trigona born 1913 died 1994 (m 1). 1945 to Helen Vasiliou.”

Mr. Ralph Martin-Trigona married Helen Anthony Vasiliou in Cairo, Egypt on January 23, 1945.  The Certificate of Witness to Marriage that was filed states that Ralph Martin-Trigona was a citizen of Great Britain at the time.

So Ms. Vasiliou was a native born American, but Ralph Martin-Trigona was not. He was still a foreign citizen the same year his son, Andy Martin, was born. And immigration records show that although Ralph Martin-Trigona did naturalize as a U.S. citizen, he did not do so until September 5, 1950, when young Andy was already five years old.

I contacted Mr. Martin for comment on his father’s citizenship.  Mr. Martin responded promptly, but refused to confirm or deny any of the facts I shared with him, and declined any further comment on the subject.  Other people who have asked for confirmation or denial have received similar replies.  Another reader wrote Mr. Martin to ask for answers, and posted Mr. Martin’s reply online:  “We have identified your email address as the source of abusive and harassing email. Kindly cease and desist from all contact with my office. If you are on our email lists, please unsubscribe promptly.”

Naturalization card for Mr. Ralph Bernard Martin

Andy Martin was born to a British father, just like Barack Obama. And he appears to be taking great effort to hide this information from his own supporters, even as he makes his own run for the Presidency. We must ask: Is it because Martin is afraid that his non-citizen paternity affects his eligibility? Or is it because his own father’s British citizenship contradicts the eligibility arguments he has helped promote?

He cannot have it both ways. If Obama is ineligible because of his British father, then so is Martin.  And if Ralph Martin-Trigona’s British citizenship is irrelevant to his son’s natural born citizenship, then so is Barack Obama Senior’s. Which is it, Mr. Martin?

Source Citation for Marriage Certificate: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Marriage Reports in State Department Decimal Files, 1910-1949; Record Group Name: Records of the Department of State Record Group Number: 59; Microfilm Serial: A1, Entry 3001; Microfilm Roll: 532

Marriage certificate located by researcher on parents of Andy Martin

Source Citation for Citizenship Card: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957; Microfilm Serial: M1164; Microfilm Roll: 132.


Editor’s Note: Both of the above citations were gleaned by accessing

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