Citizenship By Birth-right
There is a fallacy afoot that needs to be corrected. It stems from the use of the phrase “birthright citizenship”. To understand the nature of the fallacy requires examining the origin of the term “birthright”.
For thousands of years there has been a principle of inheritance that was a fundamental part of societies all across the ancient world. That principle is known as “Primogeniture”. It is the right of the “prime” son (first born) of a land/property owner to inherit the entire estate, which mostly meant, the land, property, and cattle holdings of the father, rather than dividing it into smaller portions for distribution among all the sons, or sons & daughters. The other children would receive inheritance that was determined by the father’s feelings toward them, but the first born was not dependent on the father’s feelings since he had a birth right, by primogeniture tradition, to inherit his estate. That was a right that he was born with. This was especially true of royalty.
That right was not dependent on where he was born, but in what order he was born. The principle in the political realm is identical. The sons of a citizen inherit, by right, their father’s citizenship and all the privileges and responsibilities that come with it. That is, by blood connection to him, their right by birth . If one’s father and mother were visiting a foreign land when she gave birth, the location of birth was irrelevant since one would inherit the citizenship possessed by their father regardless of the location. But if the father had settled in a new country, the monarch of that land had a right to consider his sons as his subjects since they were born within his domain, were under his sovereignty, as well as his protection. They had no birth right to their father’s citizenship since it was forfeited by his adoption of a new country and the abandonment of his previous society.
But they were not natural born subjects of the king since they were born to a foreigner, so they had to be granted their status as subjects/citizens by decree of the King or Parliament. They were thus, statutory subjects/citizens whereas those born of citizen parents, or simply a citizen father, were citizens/subjects by natural birthright inheritance.
These principles were not fuzzy, vague concepts but were solid social and legal traditions with roots far back before the Roman Empire even existed. Citizenship had to have a basis, and that basis was either by inheritance, or by decree. The former was described as the principle of jus sanguinis, or the law of blood, while the children of foreigners were not natural citizens and inherited nothing from their father, but were granted citizenship by decree because they were born within the King’s domain, on his land, and that principle is known as jus soli, or law of soil. They were the rare exception to the common occurrence of birth to the native citizens of the realm who were themselves subjects, or citizens. They were the natural born citizens of the land and they passed their citizenship to their children as their political birth-right inheritance.
Today in America we live in a fog of confusion regarding citizenship, a fog that extends far into the legal system.
That is the result of the misconstrueance of the 14th Amendment and rulings related to it Intelligent and knowledgeable men were fooled by the fact that everyone they knew was a citizen by birth in America. But those words need to be very carefully parsed because they are extremely ambiguous, though they didn’t realize that fact.
“a citizen by birth in America” describes two things and implies one of two things, not both, and one is correct and one is wrong.
It also is lacking a fact that is essential to determining the truth or falseness of those words. And what is lacking is an answer as to whom one is born. No one is born out of ether, nor appears from a 4th dimension, but is born to human parents, and they are central to the formula that explains the reality behind those words.
“citizen by birth” implies automatic citizenship, conveyed by birth from parents that have a citizenship that the child naturally inherits. It’s not “citizenship by borders” but is affected by borders since the words include “in America”. They are citizens of America by birth to citizens of America, and being born in American frees them from any need to have statutory statements declaring them as being considered to be natural citizens of America.
“a citizen by birth in America” does NOT imply that citizenship springs from the mere fact of being born in America, as if divine light shines on all such births. It doesn’t, nor does any traditional light. It merely means natural citizenship by natural inheritance occurring, naturally, in America. No jus soli implication is inherent in that simple description, unless one is speaking of that one in one hundred, or one in one thousand births that are to foreigners who have no American citizenship that their heirs can inherit. Only then is the place of birth extremely relevant and it was for such cases that the 14th Amendment was written.
Those who have erroneously conflated the event of “birth” with the concept of land & borders, and the word “natural” with the word “native” have done so because they were under the understandable impression that, like the difference between those who were native-born and those who were natural born, if you looked, you would find none. Like looking out over a sea of sheep, one would naturally conclude that the definition of a sheep is a four footed creature that produces white wool, and that would be right, until, that is, one day in that sea one spots a black sheep. Only then does one realize that their description was not 100% accurate.
The black sheep in the political realm are those born to visiting foreign pregnant women. American citizenship is not their birthright inheritance, nor is it their statutory right via the 14th Amendment since, as mere visitors, they are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, they are not American citizens but are citizens of their mother’s nationality.
Barack Obama’s mother was not a foreign woman but an American, and if he was born within the United States then he is an American by statutory rule since his father was a foreign national who was not subject to US jurisdiction since he was here not as a permanent resident but merely as a foreign student. His father had no American citizenship that his son could inherit, rather, he had British citizenship, and no one with foreign citizenship is a natural born citizen.
If his father was dead when Jr. was born, or totally out of the parental picture, then one might feel that Obama Jr. should be viewed as a natural born American based on inheritance of his mother’s citizenship, but the citizenship of mothers is not a fundamental element in the description of natural born citizens, since one cannot be one if one does not have a citizen father. Since Barack Obama had a foreign father he does not fit the description that one must fit in order to considered a natural born citizen.
He inherited no birth-right American citizenship from his father, and therefore is ineligible to the office of President of the United States. He violates the requirement of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution, just as surely as if he were too young, or were not a resident long enough. But the tide of public ignorance and apathy will prevent anything from being done about it as long a Democrats occupy the White House, the Senate, and the Attorney General’s office.