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DID OBAMA CHOOSE ALLEGIANCE TO A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE U.S.?
by Sally Vendée
(Apr. 28, 2010) — Most Americans now understand the Obama eligibility controversy to be much more than about a Birth Certificate—that the Constitution in Article II requires a candidate for the Presidency to both be born on the soil of the United States and have two citizen parents. At the heart of this qualification is the concept of allegiance—the framers were attempting to ensure that the Commander-in-Chief held strong and singular allegiance to the United States. Excellent essays that further explain this Constitutional interpretation of “natural born citizen” can be found here and here.
As this debacle continues to unfold, it is interesting to step back in time and reexamine some facts. In 2008, the Obama campaign, through its Fight the Smears website, advertised the following Factcheck.org statement:
When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children. Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4, 1982.”
One can only speculate as to why the Obama camp chose to make this public disclosure. They could have simply stated that Obama had a U.S. citizen mother, and that he was born on U.S. soil in the state of Hawaii—leaving an investigation of British or Kenyan citizenship law to the blogosphere as fodder for more “conspiracy theory.” In addition, the statement’s inclusion of the term “native citizen” versus “natural born citizen” surely was not mere oversight.
Mario Apuzzo, an attorney in one of the still-active eligibility lawsuits, has extensively researched both British and Kenyan citizenship laws and makes the point that although Obama’s Kenyan citizenship most likely did automatically expire, his British citizenship, however, did not. Note that the Factcheck statement changes course in mid-paragraph and omits further discussion on the British issue. In 2009, Factcheck corrected the expiration date of the Kenyan citizenship to 1984 in another post; however, it again offers no mention of what happened to Obama’s British citizenship. According to Apuzzo, Obama may to the present day have retained his British citizenship.
Many times in the course of discussing this point of dual citizenship, Obama supporters have offered statements such as “What right does another country have to impose their citizenship on citizens of the U.S.?” Obviously, as the Obama campaign openly admitted, both Great Britain and Kenya did have the right, through the citizenship of the father of the child, regardless that the child himself had no choice in the matter.
Which brings up another interesting argument—that a baby, at birth, has no choice. Common law and common sense assert that until a child reaches majority, it is under the protection of the parents. Of course the framers understood this, yet still used the word “born” in their citizenship qualification, rather than “at majority” or some other age. “Born” implies no outright decision to be made by the child, but rather a natural condition following the circumstances of its birth. Just as a baby cannot choose among the laws affecting its parents’ citizenship, it cannot choose its place of birth.
In the United States, “majority” is usually considered age 18. U.S. naturalization laws require an applicant for citizenship to be at least 18. Logically, then, Obama, after reaching 18, had the legal right to retain or choose his citizenship—ostensibly, among U.S., Kenyan, and British—for at this age, it appears he actually held all three. If so, did he recognize this and pro-actively make a decision to choose one of these when conducting the everyday affairs of his life during that time? If his Kenyan and British citizenships, as his supporters argue, were conferred on him not of his will and without his consent, then supposedly he would not have even acknowledged either of them and, as Fight the Smears has offered, rather let them “expire.”
One has to wonder, why, then, are Obama’s college records as closely-guarded as the infamous long-form Birth Certificate? Could it be that these records, for the time in Obama’s life when he had reached majority and could make legally-binding decisions and actions, would show that he did make a choice, and it wasn’t U.S. citizenship?
In early 2009, the Keyes v. Bowen eligibility suit issued a subpoena to Occidental College. Robert Bauer (currently White House Chief Counsel) and at the time an attorney with Perkins Coie (which represented Obama, his campaign, and the DNC), stepped in, sought and received an injunction to quash Occidental testimony as well as production of any records. (It should also be noted at this point that some have speculated that Obama declared Indonesian citizenship while at Occidental—claiming that he had been legally adopted by his Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. This possible adoption is not the subject of this essay.)
Additionally, Obama has admitted that he traveled to Pakistan during the summer of 1981. Factcheck addressed questions of this trip as “more birther nonsense.” Note that the Factcheck article focuses on debunking the Indonesian citizenship as well as the travel ban to Pakistan during the time period, but fails to mention the fact that under their own admission in other posts, Obama held U.S., British and Kenyan citizen at the time of the trip.
Obama’s passport records are as closely-guarded as are his college records. Did Obama, on his passport application and Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard admission applications, assert and declare either British or Kenyan citizenship?
All of the college admissions and the Pakistan trip transpired before the purported “expiration date” of 1984.
Did Obama make a formal choice or acknowledgment—for some sort of foreign scholarship, or perhaps, as he discusses in his book, in a search for his identity, or just for a “cool” factor—so he could call himself a “citizen of the world?”
There are some who may regard a young man entertaining such possibilities as normal teen angst, not to be held against anyone later in life as an adult. But what about the 18-year-olds who every day in America instead pledge their very lives in allegiance to their country by voluntarily enlisting in our armed forces?
The public would invariably forgive typical college indiscretions or less than stellar grades, as they have with past Presidents. But surely even the most ardent Obama fans would hesitate if they discovered their President at one time voluntarily rejected the very country he later asked to lead. At what point in his life, as his wife Michelle similarly admitted, did Obama first become proud of his country, and did he consider this country to be the United States?
If the speculations in this editorial are true, it explains why Obama’s college records and passport records have not been released to the public. Perhaps they are more damning than the birth certificate. As even the founding fathers acknowledged, but still specifically required—a baby cannot choose the circumstances of its birth—but a young man can engage in life-altering choices.
Obama has implied that questions of his citizenship are “uncivil.” The most “uncivil” act against the very country over which he now presides would have been Obama’s own rejection of his United States citizenship and therefore his allegiance.