Intentions Haz Consequences
I am aware that the topic has been beaten to hell and back, and still neither side will give. But the one thing all sides seem to agree on is that there is more than one type of citizenship.
At what point does one become a citizen of any particular country?
1) At birth.
2) Upon naturalization.
However, there is a third way – but only for a very few countries including the United States. I refer to dual-citizenship/dual nationality. While this obviously does occur “at birth”, it is now rife with restrictions and regulations requiring certain activities be preformed by the parent/parents of that child. If those activities are not preformed by the U.S. citizen parent, the childs U.S. citizenship may/will be in jeopardy. This is a concern only in citizenship by statute.
Such citizenship by statute did not exist at the time the Constitution was ratified of course. It came into being at the passing of a particular Act by Congress using the power given by the Constitution to regulate naturalization and the DATE of that Act is 1790. The Constitutional requirements for President were never amended to include citizenship by statute – no, not even the Fourteenth Amendment did such. Yet here is how the progressive left, and those that wish to advance Cruz to the Presidency choose to view the controversy:
What is often overlooked by Birthers is that the qualifications for being a citizen at birth when born outside of the U.S. are actually set by law in Congress. And these change over time. At one point dual citizenship may have been a disqualification for automatic American citizenship, but it certainly hasn’t been that way for the timeframe relevant to the birth of modern candidates.
~sorry, I cannot recall the author of the above quote, but if you recognize this as your own, leave a comment and I will credit this as yours~ Ladysforest
There is the simpleton assumption that the same evolving specifications for naturalizing a citizen would also automatically “update” the Presidential eligibility requirements laid out in Art ll, Section 1, Clause 5. Ya know, The Living Constitution argument.
One intent of the Act of 1790 was to allow that a child born to citizen parents while traveling in foreign climes shall not be an alien in the parents own country upon their return. It was understood at that time that a man might need to be away for perhaps a period of years on matters of business, and while conducting that business may have children born into his family during those years. The U.S. family may have traveled overseas to visit with family, and such trips were arduous undertakings back then, leading to long stays in the host country.
In fact, when the Act of 1790 was passed it included language specifically for the reason of giving United States citizen parents peace of mind that the child born over the seas would hold legal U.S. citizenship. The catch was that the father had to have been a U.S. citizen resident – having had to reside in the U.S., although I do not find specifics on the length of time, etc.. The law did not address persons who left the U.S. to follow foreign spouses about or to live free of particular U.S. laws.
” Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States:”
It follows then that the father had to be a resident of a particular state. The mothers citizenship followed her husbands, as was the general thing back then. It certainly was at the time this Act was passed.
Which leads to a small point that I would like to make in regards to children who hold U.S. dual citizenship through a parent – but did not reside in the United States for a number of years after being born in a foreign country.
The traditional understanding used to be that to be a U.S. citizen, it naturally follows one must be a resident of a state. Yep..
“That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof on application to any common law Court of record in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least,” ~ 1790
A person seeking naturalization had to have been resident in a State for a period of time before he/she could apply. A person seeking naturalization could not be unattached to any State, or simply put, be a United States citizen at large within the country but having no residence in any particular State.
The naturalization process, or more specifically, processing, takes place at the State level. Let us consider the thing in common sense terms. One might say, alright, – George Romney was born in Mexico, but his parents were United States citizens who had never renounced their citizenship, hence he was a stateless U.S. citizen whose citizenship was bestowed on him through his parents by an Act of Congress. He most certainly did not live in this country in the early years of his life, was not born here, but is held now to have the same status as a person born on the soil or territory of the US? For those arguing in favor of Ted Cruz, the answer is yes. Not only did the condition of citizenship pass to Romney, and to Cruz, but it seems to follow that which ever State the parent formerly was a citizen of is also handed down to the child. To be clear though, I have not yet found the laws that specifically bestows State citizenship in such a way, nor even implies it.
But what we have found is that in the Naturalization act are strict requirements on renouncing ones allegiance to the foreign ties of ones cast-off home country. So, to become a naturalized citizen, you are absolutely not allowed DUAL citizenship, it being strictly required that you give up all legal ties to your homeland. However, as a statutory citizen born to a US parent, in a foreign country, never living in the U.S. until years have passed, you ARE allowed to be both a citizen of the U.S. and of a foreign country simultaneously.
United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790).
What do you see in the title of this Act? The word “Naturalization”. Under that word it is specified;
“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: “
Shall be considered as ~ rather than, ‘are natural born Citizens?
Does that not make the child a naturalized citizen? Born a citizen due to a statute written in a Naturalization Act?
Of course people do point out the phrase “natural born Citizen”, and say that as George Washington signed this into law it is proof that a person could be both born out of this country and be a natural born Citizen. George knew about it and approved it so it MUST be the same thing they clamor. But, at the same time they are unwilling to concede that the citizenship of the Father then, must also be considered a litmus test for the U.S. citizenship of the child, and it could not descend otherwise. That’s when the Living Constitution gets mixed in again. That particular phrase was deleted when the Act was repealed and replaced a mere five years later. The Congress fixed up the law by making it much more specific on the procedures regarding naturalization and the “natural born Citizen” phrase was changed thus:
“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:”
And just so that we are clear – George Washington was still in office in 1795.
So. Children born to parents who ran away from U.S. laws they didn’t like, but did not renounce their citizenship. Those parents move their children back to the U.S. to escape danger due to war. Woman married to a foreign national moves off to a country neither are citizens of, and does general work there until her marriage fails. Brings her Canadian/U.S. dual national child to the U.S. to rebuild her life.
If neither family had encountered those difficulties it is likely those children would have grown up in the countries where they were born. One Mexican, one Canadian, both stateless U.S. citizens at large.