DOES THE 14TH AMENDMENT CONFER “NATURAL BORN” STATUS?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 18, 2016) — On January 11, The Post & Email published the first part of a discussion on the meaning of “natural born Citizen” amid the recent mainstream media focus on the term which appears in Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution as one of three requirements for the office of the chief executive of the United States.
Dr. Vieira is a well-known writer and author on constitutional issues and holds four degrees from Harvard University, one of which is from Harvard Law School. His two-volume historical treatise about U.S. monetary policy and economics, “Pieces of Eight,” has received the highest possible ratings at Amazon.com from readers, with one commenting, “Worth whatever might be the price, in new or used varieties — if you want to understand American money, this is the ONLY source of information you will likely ever need. But again, it was written by a scholar. And it should be read by scholars. Put on your thinking cap before sitting down to read it. You will never regret owning it. Every member of every state legislature ought to fully digest it before taking their oath of office…”
On April 18, 2008, addressing a group at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Arlington, VA, Dr. Vieira said that “since the early 1800s, politicians and bankers have steadily subverted the Constitution by forging an increasingly tight relationship between bank and state.”
Since speaking with Dr. Vieira about the questionable Article II constitutional eligibility of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, and the current White House occupant, Barack Hussein Obama, the topic arose between Cruz and presidential candidate Donald Trump at Thursday’s debate in Charleston, SC, and a lawsuit was filed in Texas challenging Cruz’s eligibility based on his birth in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
During the debate, Cruz doubled down on Trump’s previously-voiced eligibility challenges by raising the fact that Trump’s mother was born in Scotland and “naturalized,” to which Trump rejoined, “I was born here.”
The citizenship of a candidate’s parents has not often been raised as an issue, but according to Vieira and other constitutional scholars such as Herb Titus, citizenship was historically always inherited through the father.
Cruz claims eligibility through his U.S.-born mother, who some speculate became a Canadian citizen while residing in Calgary during the time in which her son was born. An essay written by two former solicitors general published one week before Cruz declared himself a presidential candidate states that a birth anywhere in the world to one U.S.-citizen parent is sufficient to meet the “natural born Citizen” requirement.
Prior to Cruz’s declaration of his candidacy, average Americans understood the term “natural born Citizen” to mean “born in the United States.”
According to The Dallas Morning News in August 2013, Cruz was born with dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship of which Cruz claimed to be unaware. In contrast, last September, Atty. Mario Apuzzo stated on a radio show that during the time of the Framers, “it was unheard-of to have dual citizenship.”
On January 11, Congressional Research Service (CRS) attorney Jack Maskell wrote in an official memo which follows four previous memos on the subject dating back to April 2009 that court rulings have determined that a person born in the U.S., irrespective of their parents’ citizenship, is a “natural born Citizen.” Some law professors agree with this interpretation, while others, including Apuzzo, claim that three elements – a birth on U.S. soil to a citizen mother and citizen father – are necessary for a person to be considered a “natural born Citizen.”
In 2008, then-Atty. Leo Donofrio filed a lawsuit challenging Obama’s eligibility based solely on his claimed father’s foreign citizenship which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review.
Last April, The Post & Email contacted the Cruz campaign with a request that he release more documentation on the candidate’s background, including Selective Service registration form; naturalization papers, if they exist; and whether or not his parents registered him as a U.S. citizen born abroad by means of a “Consular Record of Birth Abroad,” or CRBA, filed through U.S. consulates in the country of the child’s birth. Cruz’s campaign provided a signature for our certified letter but no additional response.
Rubio’s eligibility has been questioned as a result of his birth on U.S. soil to two Cuban citizens who reportedly naturalized when Marco was four.
In addition to questioning Cruz’s eligibility, in early 2011, Trump demanded that Obama release his “long-form” birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States. The image released on the White House website on April 27 of that year has been declared a “computer-generated forgery” by a criminal investigation which major media has vitually refused to discuss.
Vieira believes that if Obama is found to have been ineligible, everything he has done while in office can be declared null and void. Regarding the questions which were raised then by thousands of Americans both prior to and following the 2008 election, Vieira suggested that U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts could have met privately with Obama in an effort to “get to the bottom of” the matter and by physically accompanying Obama to the various facilities holding his records.
Prior to the January 11 CRS memo’s issuance, regarding presidential eligibility, Vieira predicted that “In this election, kicking this back and forth, all it’s going to allow the media to do is say, ‘Well, we have these “birthers” showing up again. Trump is a crazy “birther,” and this was all settled in respect to Obama.’ They’ll muddy everything.”
Vieira additionally suggested that a new president could order his attorney general to subpoena Obama’s records if questions over the reported forgeries of his documentation have not by then been fully addressed.
The second part of our interview focused on the meaning and interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the first section of which states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
THE POST & EMAIL: When did we begin to disregard the parents’ citizenship in regard to citizens and “natural born Citizens?”
DR. VIEIRA: Many Americans don’t pay attention to this. A lot of people say that the 14th Amendment, Section 1 created a new category of “citizens of the United States.” That’s not true. The original Constitution talks about Citizens of the United States. You had to be a “Citizen of the United States” to be a senator or representative. You had to be a “Citizen” of the United States to be president, but you also had to be something else: a “natural born Citizen.”
So the 14th Amendment doesn’t make anyone a “natural born Citizen.” It just says that people who are born in the United States and not subject to the jurisdiction thereof – and that’s another interesting part of this – and not subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens. But it doesn’t say that they are “natural born Citizens.” There’s a reason for that, because a “natural born Citizen” requires more than just being born in the United States: “born in the United States, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the father is a citizen of the United States.” That’s the difference.
In the 14th Amendment, the term “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was put in for a very specific reason: to deal with the Indians. The Indian tribes were at that time treated as separate nations. We had treaties with them. They were separate nations, but they lived, in many instances, off reservations, within the territory of the various states, some of the federal territories where the Western states were incorporated. So the question was, “What about these people? What about an Indian who was born within a state? Does he become a citizen?” and they said, “No, because he is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; he is subject to the jurisdiction of his tribe.”
It’s the same thing with an illegal-alien child who comes here. The mother is subject to the law of her country of origin, and her child is not a U.S. citizen. I think any of the people during the Reconstruction Era would have looked at that and said, “Well, of course not; someone sneaks across the border illegally and the child gets the benefit of it?”
It’s become, once again, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” What did that mean at that point in time? When you go back and read the Congressional Record when they were discussing this, they made it very clear: it was the Indian father who made the child a member of the Indian tribe, regardless of where the child was born. The child was still going to be treated as a member of the Indian tribe, even if he was born in the state of Illinois or wherever.
What’s the difference between an Indian tribe and Mexico? The Indians happened to be legally in the country, and they didn’t have to live on a reservation. In the 1860s, there was no law that the Indians had to remain solely within reservations. So that was the question: what about these other people who are roaming around?
With the Mexicans or Guatemalans, it’s the same thing. Assuming they came into the country legally, which the Indians were, they were still subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico or Guatemala. So even the legal immigrant – the woman who comes in on a visitor’s visa and has a child – is the child a U.S. citizen? The answer is “no.” The illegal alien mother’s child has to be “no.” If the legal woman’s child is “no,” then certainly the illegal mother’s child would have to be “no.”
I don’t know how this slipped in historically; you’d have to go back and read the historical notes of these various statutes and the congressional debates to see what the rationale was. But the point is, they’ve created another one of these impossible situations.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.