AND WILL THE MEDIA QUESTION THE CONFLICTING NARRATIVES?
by Sharon Rondeau
As was the case with Barack Hussein Obama, the media has not questioned whether or not Harris is constitutionally eligible to hold the office.
One of the requirements for the president and commander-in-chief is that he or she must be a “natural born Citizen.” Appearing solely in Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, the term was undefined by the Founders, and considerable discussion and controversy have ensued about its meaning over time.
As The Post & Email has reported, several 19th-century references to “natural born” convey the understanding that a person born in the United States to U.S.-citizen parents meets that criterion. In the 1875 case of Minor v. Happersett, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that it was “never doubted” that a person born in the country to citizen parents is a “natural-born citizen.” “Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their [p168] parents,” the opinion further states. “As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first.”
A more modern interpretation of “natural born Citizen” is that any birth on United States soil qualifies regardless of the parents’ citizenship at the time. On his 2008 campaign website, Barack Hussein Obama, who claims a 1961 birth in Hawaii to a British-citizen father and U.S.-citizen mother, stated that he is a “natural born citizen” based on the 14th Amendment and his claimed birth in Hawaii, which became a state in 1959.
Reports that Obama was born in Kenya or Indonesia preceded his successful 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. His claim to a birth in Hawaii and mainstream articles reporting otherwise have never been reconciled.
In 2008, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson declared Obama “an immigrant” without further explanation. Even under the most liberal of the term’s interpretations, Americans understand that an immigrant to the U.S. cannot serve as president.
In 2010, members of the Kenyan Parliament claimed on the record that Obama was born in their country, not the United States.
In July 2018, Obama himself said that he is the “first sitting American president to come from Kenya.”
A “long-form” birth certificate image posted in April 2011 by the Obama White House said to be a scan of a certified copy of his original birth certificate from Hawaii was found to be fraudulent less than a year later by a criminal investigation which ultimately lasted more than five years. At the end of that time, lead investigator Mike Zullo revealed that two forensics experts agreed with his conclusion that the image is nothing more than a “computer-generated forgery.”
Although claiming to have been born in Hawaii and attended kindergarten there at age 5, Zullo reported last year that Obama “was in Indonesia” at that time in his life.
Last summer, Zullo reported that two U.S. intelligence sources informed him that it has been “an open secret” in Washington, DC that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
In a July 25, 1787 letter to George Washington, the president of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention, then-future first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay wrote, “Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolved on, any but a natural born Citizen.”
In Article I, Sections 2 and 3, respectively, the Framers required that U.S. representatives and senators be “a citizen of the United States” with state residency requirements of seven and nine years, respectively. The Framers assigned to Congress the crafting of the nation’s immigration laws with the anticipation that people from other lands would continue to seek entry into the newly-minted country.
With the ninth of the 13 original colonies, then states, approving the new constitution in 1788, it became the basis for a new government, replacing the Articles of Confederation.
The first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the “Bill of Rights,” were insisted upon by a number of Founding Fathers known as “anti-Federalists” who feared the formation of a strong, centralized government which could overtake the state governments in power and scope and diminish individual liberties. Anti-Federalists such as George Mason agreed to ratify the U.S. Constitution only after the Bill of Rights was conceived as a result of the Massachusetts Compromise.
In 1790, Congress passed the Naturalization Act of 1790 which required two years of residency and “good moral character” for consideration for U.S. citizenship. The law also provided: “And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: Provided also, that no person heretofore proscribed by any States, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an Act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.”
Five years later, the Naturalization Act of 1795 was passed, repealing the 1790 Act. The two-year residency requirement was replaced by a five-year requirement. Also changed was the provision that foreign-born children of U.S. citizens are “natural born Citizens.”
More expansive than the 1790 Act, the 1795 statute stated, in part:
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, that the children of persons duly naturalized, dwelling within the United States, and being under the age of twenty-one years, at the time of such naturalization, and the children of citizens of the United States, born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons, whose fathers have never been resident of the United States: Provided also, That no person heretofore proscribed by any state, or who has been legally convicted of having joined the army of Great Britain during the late war, shall be admitted a citizen as foresaid, without the consent of the legislature of the state, in which such person was proscribed.
Current U.S. immigration law requires five years of residency in order for a legal immigrant to apply for citizenship, along with other qualifications. Once granted, U.S. citizenship can be revoked if it is discovered that the naturalized citizen presented false information on his application or if he is found guilty of a felony.
Harris’s father reportedly arrived in Berkeley, CA from Jamaica in 1961, while his future wife, Shyamala Gopalan, had arrived alone from India one year earlier at the age of 19. Reportedly married in 1963, neither had resided in the U.S. for five years when Kamala was born on October 20, 1964.
Many in the media have conflated the 1868 passage of the 14th Amendment with the citizenship qualification for the presidency. Perhaps adding to the confusion is the opinion of some scholars that the amendment overrides the constitution’s “natural born Citizen” requirement. However, the amendment makes no reference to Article II’s presidential requirements; rather, its intent was to recognize that children of freed slaves born in the U.S. were to be considered citizens with all of the rights and responsibilities thereof.
An article published on September 26, 2018 in Jamaica Global Online purports to include a first-person account of Kamala Harris’s life story written by her father, Stanford University economics professor emeritus Donald J. Harris. According to Prof. Harris’s Stanford biography, he has taught at institutions of higher learning in California, Illinois and Wisconsin and earned fellowships to Yale, Cambridge University and the Ford Foundation, among others.
The biography lists his citizenship as “Jamaica (by birth); USA (by naturalization).”
In the article, Prof. Harris describes his youth in Jamaica, his grandmothers and their special place in his life, and the visits he and his daughters made to the island from the United States.
On January 14, the Jamaica Global article was updated with:
Any notion that California Senator Kamala Harris does not know much about, or underplays her Jamaican heritage was dispelled on a recent visit to South Florida, home to over 100,000 Jamaicans. In Miami for a fund-raiser in support of Senator Bill Nelson, she and sister Maya rubbed shoulders and posed for photos with a number of prominent Jamaican Americans, including Mayor of the City of Miramar Wayne Messam and City of Miramar Commissioner Winston Barnes among others.
In a Facebook post after the event, Barnes effused:
‘…..very special lady and as Jamaican as they come…when I asked her where her dad was from, she says St Anns Bay, so I ask, what you know about St Anns Bay..the response?’ “How you mean man? I know there growing up.”
That’s no practiced response!
On Sunday, The (UK) Guardian wrote of Kamala Harris: “She has been described as the female Barack Obama. Like the former US president, Kamala Harris is mixed race (her father from Jamaica, her mother from India), spent part of her childhood abroad (in Canada), became a lawyer, and is now running for the White House after two years as a Democratic senator. Just as Donald Trump is the anti-Obama, many hope that Harris can be the anti-Trump.”
While reportedly making the most of her “Jamaican heritage,” Kamala Harris has also cited her “Asian-American” lineage on her mother’s side. Gopalan was born in Chennai, India to a father who was an Indian diplomat. Kamala reportedly visited her Indian relatives frequently during her childhood. Harris’s maternal aunt, also a doctor, was quoted after Harris’s successful 2016 campaign for the U.S. Senate as having said, “Whatever Kamala is today, it is because of my sister. My sister inculcated South Indian culture and values in her.”
In her book published last month, Kamala Harris says that her life story is an “American” one.
In his essay, Donald Harris wrote that one of his ancestors, an Irishman named Hamilton Brown, founded Brown’s Town in St. Ann, one of Jamaica’s “parishes.” Brown became a prominent land- and slave-owner in Jamaica, Harris wrote. His claims are corroborated by a number of sources.
Kamala Harris has decried “slavery,” “Jim Crow,” “lynchings,” “segregation and discrimination” in America’s history.
Obama denounced “Jim Crow” laws and during his first presidential campaign attempted to portray himself as having a connection to American blacks when claiming that his parents met at the 1965 civil rights protest in Selma, Alabama. “Obama’s Selma speech shamelessly invented his life story, and the media failed to call him on it. It was an early signal that honesty and accuracy were not high on the media’s list of values in that campaign,” Newsbusters summarized Obama’s remarks on March 7, 2007 at the annual commemoration of the event. “This was a pretty bizarre claim for a man who was born in Hawaii and whose parents never had a real marriage, and were literally on different continents by the time of the Selma march of 1965. Selma didn’t bring his parents together; they were officially divorced in 1964, and Obama’s father left Harvard in 1964 and returned to Kenya with another white American woman, named Ruth Baker, and they married there in 1964. His mother married Lolo Soetoro in 1965. The real story in no way resembled Obama’s mythical narrative that Selma inspired two people to fall in love and conceive a future president.”
At her kickoff rally on January 27 in Oakland, CA, as she has in the past, Harris gave the strong impression that she and her sister spent their childhood and formative years there. She omitted the fact that her parents divorced when she was seven years old, after which she and her sister accompanied their mother to a suburb of Montréal, Canada, where Gopalan worked as a cancer researcher.
Harris omits that detail of her life on both her U.S. Senate and presidential websites, although it is well-known to Canadians that she attended school through high-school graduation there. “Growing up in Oakland, Kamala had a stroller-eye view of the Civil Rights movement,” her Senate website reads. “Through the example of courageous leaders like Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Charles Hamilton Houston, Kamala learned the kind of character it requires to stand up to the powerful, and resolved to spend her life advocating for those who could not defend themselves.”
Her book reportedly relates her years spent in Canada, although its Amazon introduction claims she “grew up in Oakland.”
According to Donald Harris’s account, his second daughter, Maya, was born in Illinois, coinciding with the years in which his biography states he was teaching at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Kamala would have been two years old at the time.
Maya Harris, also an attorney, is currently a commentator for MSNBC and previously held a prominent advisory position in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. She is married to Tony West, a California co-chair of Obama’s 2008 campaign.
According to her Wikipedia entry, Maya Harris “was formerly a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. The organization claims to be “nonpartisan” but says it embraces “bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.”
“Our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change the country,” its mission statement says.
Also an attorney, West was nominated to the position of Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department by Barack Obama. He was one of the Justice Department’s litigators in the case of Kerchner v. Obama & Congress, et al, which challenged Obama’s eligibility to hold the office of president based on the claim that he is not a “natural born Citizen.”
According to Wikipedia, Maya Harris is chairing her sister’s presidential campaign.
Maya Harris’s daughter Meena, pictured with Donald Harris in an undated photo in his writeup, is a women’s activist and “community organizer,” according to an article about her reposted from San Francisco.
In an interview with the now-defunct desiclub.com in June 2009, Harris reportedly told interviewer Reshma Dhawan that she “went to public schools in Berkeley and then on to Howard University in Washington, DC” to pursue a law degree. On Sunday, upon discovering that desiclub.com, a site aimed at bringing “South Asians” together, is no longer active, The Post & Email attempted unsuccessfully to reach Ms. Dhawan.
Updated February 5 at 7:29 a.m. EST.