U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
by Paul Hollrah, ©2016
(Oct. 14, 2016) — The official U.S. government policy regarding dual citizenship is found in publications of the Consular Affairs Division of the U.S. Department of State, as follows:
“The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice…
“U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship…
“The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it… because of the problems it may cause. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S. citizens may conflict with U.S. law… However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries…(emphasis added).”
As a dual US-Kenyan citizen, Barack Obama is a citizen of both the United States and Kenya. He did not apply for either dual US-British or dual US-Kenyan citizenship. They were his by “automatic operation” of British and Kenyan law. But what is most concerning is US government policy which states that “dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries.” It is inconceivable to think that any person who holds citizenship in a foreign nation… such as Barack Obama… should also be allowed to serve as president of the United States.
Given the fact that the rules of the U.S. State Department require Obama to obey the laws of Kenya anytime he visits that country, we are faced with the rather knotty question of whether or not he could serve as president of the United States during his visit to Kenya in July 2015.
Section 3 of the 25th Amendment reads as follows: “Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”
I would suggest that Obama’s ability to serve as president of the United States while on Kenyan soil was highly problematic and could have been resolved by invoking Section 3 of the 25th Amendment, making Joe Biden Acting President during the two days of his stay in Kenya.
Joe Biden may on occasion slip into the Oval Office when Obama is on the golf course, just to sit in the big leather chair behind the Resolute Desk. Regardless, Obama’s trip to Kenya was Biden’s big chance to go down in history as one of only two men, along with George H.W. Bush, who have served as Acting President of the United States. Unfortunately, Obama’s desire not to focus attention on the question of his own constitutional eligibility blew Biden’s big moment.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.