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Naturalized Citizens for President of US

Sadanand Murthy
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Joined: Nov 26, 2003
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There is some debate going on in DC about allowing immigrants who have been naturalized citizens of US for 20 years to run for the job of President. Does this make sense to natural born citizens of this country?
It has been said that the founding fathers included the "naturally born" criterion in the consititution for the highest office because they were afraid that some Brit may become the President & take US back into the British empire. That does sound reasonable to me.
It is a very different environment today than what the founding fathers were in. However, there have been at least one case of a Nazi guard who became a citizen on perjured claims and was finally found out some 30+ years later. We certainly don't want such a person to sit in the Oval office.
But there are countless law abiding, productive naturalized citizens who love this country for what it is; for its values. And so, some of these may be a better choice for president just because they may have an appreciation for this country that those who are born here may not have. But what will happen if such a naturalized citizen does become the president and a thorny situation arises between US & his/her native country? Will Americans trust this president?
It could open a security hole (remember Battle of the Bulge?).


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Paul McKenna
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Such an amendment is being introduced for really selfish purposes. Supposedly, "The Governator" wants to run for president sometime in the future. Well, I think tough luck!
However if an amendment were to be passed that any person born while his or her parents were stationed abroad on active military / government duty then that person should be considered the same as being born on home soil. That would be valid.


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Sadanand Murthy
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
Such an amendment is being introduced for really selfish purposes. Supposedly, "The Governator" wants to run for president sometime in the future. Well, I think tough luck!

Why touch luck? If he turns out to be a good governor of CA, why can't he be a good prez of US? Why should he not be able to govern the country if he can govern a state? I understand national defence & security fall under the federal govt's realm & so there is a risk in having a naturalized citizen as the prez which may not be there if such a person is a governor. Any naturalized citizen running for presidency will face a whole lot more of the scrutiny by media & the opposing candidates that any skeleton in his/her closet will tumble out in no time.
Even today immigrants who are not even citizens of this country are fighting in Iraq for this country and some have died while serving a country they were not a citizen of. If someone's blood is good enough to be shed for this country's principles, then that person's blood is pure enough to govern this country.
Matt Cao
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Joined: Apr 03, 2003
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Hi,
I think the concept was prevent the foreign factor to manipulate US political machine.
Regards,
MCao
Steven Broadbent
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Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
If this happens it will make the us the laughing stock of the world. The presidency would become a hollywood role.
Regan was one thing, Schwarzy would be quite another.


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Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:
Why touch luck?

First of all, among all the issues facing the US is this the most important one? It would take 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the states to ratify an amendment to the constitution. Is the personal ambition of some immigrant more important than say.. preserving the sanctity of marriage (which,by the way,is a practise followed by most citizens and immigrants alike)?
I like Arnie, I liked him so much I sent a small (but valuable for me) contribution to his election fund during the recall in CA. But I like the US Constitution more than him.. and so should he. He should set aside his personal ambitions and try to protect and preserve the constitution.
Some things are best left the way they are... IMHO
Jim Yingst
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[PMcK]: Such an amendment is being introduced for really selfish purposes.
Perhaps (for some of the people involved), but I think it's a good idea nonetheless. It's unfortunate that this issue will be seen by many in terms of whether Arnold, specifically, should be elibgible to be president. Personally I doubt I'd ever vote for him (though it depends who the opposition is). But I feel strongly that when we (the US) accept someone as a citizen, that should be a full citizenship, with no subsequent legal restrictions on naturalized citizens compared to natural-born citizens. I consider that particular phrase of the constitution an embarrassing legacy; it may have made sense at the time it was written, but I see no reason to continue it today. I'd be all for an amendment to change it. Even if it lets Arnold into the presidency.
[PMcK]: However if an amendment were to be passed that any person born while his or her parents were stationed abroad on active military / government duty then that person should be considered the same as being born on home soil. That would be valid.
As I understand it, this is unnecessary; such children are already considered natural-born citizens. Generally, if you're born on US soil of of US parents, you're a natural-born citizen. Here is more info.
[ February 24, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]

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Ranga Sreenivasan
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
and try to protect and preserve the constitution.

Hmmm...interesting point...
That brings another question...how long would you go without changing the constitution...I believe that certain amendments are necessary as the times change... :roll:
Sadanand Murthy
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Joined: Nov 26, 2003
Posts: 382
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
As I understand it, this is unnecessary; such children are already considered natural-born citizens. Generally, if you're born on US soil of of US parents, you're a natural-born citizen. Here is more info.
[ February 24, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]

If you are born on foreign soil of US parents (because your parents were abroad representing the US govt) then you don't have the right to become the prez of US. At least this is what I understood from some of the TV discussions.
Sadanand Murthy
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:

First of all, among all the issues facing the US is this the most important one?

When has the importance of an issue been the reason for the US govt (or any other govt) to have taken it up or discarded it? Besides, who decides what issue is important or what is not? It it the media? The populace? The law makers?
I'm sure there was plenty of opposition when ERA or civil rights for blacks was introduced. Probably the majority may have even considered it not as important as some of the other issues facing the nation at that time.
Originally posted by Paul McKenna:

It would take 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the states to ratify an amendment to the constitution. Is the personal ambition of some immigrant more important than say.. preserving the sanctity of marriage (which,by the way,is a practise followed by most citizens and immigrants alike)?

Wold you agree to a consititutional amendment if Arnie were out of the picture? If he is absolutely not interested to be the president of US? So what if it takes 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the states to ratify an amendment? Why should this be a factor to decide whether something in the constitution should be amended or not? IMHO the factor that determines this is whether a particular clause in the constitution makes sense or not. The clause limiting the presidency to natural born citizens made a lot of sense when the consititution was framed, not now.
Originally posted by Paul McKenna:

But I like the US Constitution more than him.. and so should he. He should set aside his personal ambitions and try to protect and preserve the constitution.
Some things are best left the way they are... IMHO

The US Constitution is not absolutely infallible. It was the product of human beings who based it on their experiences, their world view of their times and perhaps with some foresight. If the founding fathers were infallible then either they would not have considered blacks as 3/5ths of a human being or their decision of blacks as 3/5ths of a human being would not have been challenged and we would still have slavery today. Women would still not have voting rights.
Sadanand Murthy
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From Jim Yingst's link :
Children of naturalized U.S. citizens generally become citizens automatically, though they will also not be considered natural-born.

IMHO, this is unfair. So, if my child is eminently qualified to be lead this country as the President he/she will be denied this opportunity by virtue of my being a naturalized citizen & not a natural citizen.
Does anyone know what status of the children of such children will be? Are they also not considered natural-born? How far down the line of progeny does one have to go before that descendant is considered natural-born?
Jim Yingst
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Children of naturalized U.S. citizens generally become citizens automatically, though they will also not be considered natural-born.
I'm pretty sure this means children who were born prior to the naturalization of the parent. At the time those children were born, they were not considered citizens, therefore they're not natural-born citizens. Any children born after one parent has been naturalized are natural-born citizens. (Well, note the additional residency requirements if only one parent is a citizen.) And note that children born on US soil are citizens, period, regardless of their parents status.
So, if my child is eminently qualified to be lead this country as the President he/she will be denied this opportunity by virtue of my being a naturalized citizen & not a natural citizen.
Nopo. He/she (I'll use he) may be disqualified based on you not being a citizen at the time he was born, if outside the US, because that means he's not a citizen at that time either. If you're naturalized later, he is too. And yeah, it's unfair IMO that he could never be presdent without a constitutional amendment - but that's the same problem we were originally addressing here; the kid is just another example.
Jim Yingst
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If you are born on foreign soil of US parents (because your parents were abroad representing the US govt) then you don't have the right to become the prez of US. At least this is what I understood from some of the TV discussions.
I'd be interested to see any links supporting this. I believe it's untrue, and the link I provided contradicts it, at least in general. Though perhaps the TV discussions were talking about some specific loopholes. E.g. if only one parent is a US citizen and the other is an alien, and the child is born outside the US, and the US parent has not actually lived in the US for five years at some point prior to the birth - then the child is not a US citizen. Maybe there are cases where children in this situation should be considered citizens, but I can't think of a good example offhand.
So - say you're an Indian living in the US, not (yet) a citizen. You have a child, born in the US. He is now a natural-born citizen. Now say after 2 years you return to India, taking your son of course. He is still a US citizen, unless and until he does something to renounce it. He's probably also going to be an Indian citizen; dunno the rules for that. If he later returns to the US, then after 12 more years in the US he can run for President. (There's a 14-year residency requirement, independent of the natural-born citizen requirement.) However if he doesn't return, but marries an Indian woman and has children in India - they are not US citizens, because your son didn't live in the US long enough to qualify them. Is that unreasonable? I don't think so.
[ February 24, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
But I feel strongly that when we (the US) accept someone as a citizen, that should be a full citizenship, with no subsequent legal restrictions on naturalized citizens compared to natural-born citizens.

Would you agree that the person must renounce any citizenship they carry from other countries? Many countries allow you to become a US citizen while still retaining your original citizenship.


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Jim Yingst
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Would you agree that the person must renounce any citizenship they carry from other countries?
Yes.
Many countries allow you to become a US citizen while still retaining your original citizenship.
Hm, they do? My understanding is that naturalized US citizens take an oath including the following:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;

Isn't that sufficient to renounce citizenship in other countries? I know that if a US citizen takes such an oath for another country, they are recognized as having renounced their US citizenship.
Now dual citizenship is possible for natural-born US citizens, if they were born in circumstances which also qualify them for citizenship in another country besides the US. That depends on the laws of the other country. The US citizenship is retained unless and until the dual citizen does something to lose it, e.g. swearing an oath of allegiance to another country, or committing treason. So under current laws it may be possible for a dual citizenship to become president of the US. (Unless I've missed something.) I would have no objection to requiring them to renounce the foreign citizenship in order to become president. Or any other high-level govenment position, for that matter. Seems reasonable to me.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Isn't that sufficient to renounce citizenship in other countries? I know that if a US citizen takes such an oath for another country, they are recognized as having renounced their US citizenship.
Yes, but it doesn't always work the other way around. Some countries require you to go to the consulate and turn over your passport and sign a document to renounce your citizenship.
My brother-in-law is a dual US-Canadian citizen but he was born here while his mom was a Canadian citizen. She became a US citizen shortly after he was born but the Canadians consider him a Canadian citizen.
This is from the dual citizenship FAQ sheet:
Where one country requires a citizen to renounce the citizenship of another country, this renunciation may or may not be recognized by the other country. This can sometimes lead to sticky legal situations. Also, countries which require such renunciations differ in how seriously they treat this requirement. In some cases (such as Singapore), an applicant for naturalization may be required by his new country to go to an embassy or consulate of his old country and renounce his old citizenship in a manner prescribed by his old country's laws. Other countries (such as the US in recent years) may treat their own naturalization oaths' renunciatory language as essentially meaningless and take no steps to enforce it at all.

[ February 24, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
Paul McKenna
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Another important argument to consider is that naturalized citizens these days do not completely assimilate. Take me for instance, I am not a naturalized citizen but if I were to become one I can never give up my Indian roots / traditions completely. Its simply because I was educated there and bought up with a different set of values when I was growing up. I can try to assimilate as much as possible but there will remain fundamental differences.
The reason for lesser assimilation in the current generation of immigrants is attributed to, in an article, the current technological means to keep in touch with one's roots. In the earlier part of the 20th century the best means to communicate with one's home land used to be via postal mail and travel by ship which often made it difficult. Therefore immigrants then were forced to assimilate. Today we have a new generation of immigrants who call home almost every week, travel home once a year or so and prefer to eat / socialize at the gatherings of their own community. US is not exactly a "melting pot" any longer.. therefore opening the gates of Presidency to future generation of immigration can be considered at the very least "risky".
Damien Howard
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I came to the US when I was two. It is the only country I really know. I am therefore fully assimilated (sp?). I may not be the best candidate for president, but (forgive my arrogance) I bet I would make a better US President than over half the people born here. Perhaps we can change the law to something that allows immigrants who came here before a certain age, became US citizens and resided most of their life here to become President.
Then I could be President , and Arnie couldn't
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PM: Take me for instance, I am not a naturalized citizen but if I were to become one I can never give up my Indian roots / traditions completely. Its simply because I was educated there and bought up with a different set of values when I was growing up.
Interesting. I guess, I was brought up with as different set of values as you can imagine, but I don't feel I would never assimilate. In fact, it's easier for me to communicate with Americans than with my own people.
There are some things in Russian culture I am crazy about (in good sense) and I only started to appreciate them now. I don't think they make me less or "worse" American in any way.
I can try to assimilate as much as possible but there will remain fundamental differences.
"fundamental"? If you could sketch them, it would be an interesting conversation.
My own experience so far was right the opposite -- it's amazing how little (if any) fundamental differences among people there are!


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Jim Yingst
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I can imagine a number of reasons I might not vote for Arnold, but his failure to fully assimilate American culture and values really isn't one of them.
A presidential candidate still has to win votes from a rather large chunk of the American populace. (Not necessarily a majority, but electoral college reform would be another amendment and another thread.) I'm perfectly happy letting the American people decide if they think a given candidate really reflects their interests. Not that this process is perfect by any means, but I don't see how it's helped by an arbitrary rule against naturalized citizens.
[ February 25, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Joe King
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Agreed - it doesn't really matter. At the end of the day the voters (or the corporations who really have the power) will decide who will be presedent, so there's no harm in allowing foreigners to run for the job. If they are not wanted, they wont get voted in, simple. Also, hasn't the rest of the government got some powers to block a presedent from doing to many wierd things? Finally, what are the chances of one of the two main parties putting forwards a foreigner as a candidate?
Derek Grey
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This is an interesting topic.
But it would make sense if first a non-white/female candidate gets elected as president. No offense intended people.
Lets not try instantiating an object before learning how to declare a variable.
But aiming directly at the question, I am an immigrant and I am against any naturalized citizen becoming a President. Its too complicated to explain, though you don't show it one always has feelings for the country he/she was born in.
 
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