Open Letter to Leo Donofrio, Esq.
Why Americans Born Abroad Are Natural Born Citizens
Dear Leo, being as you are at the forefront of the Obama eligibility issue, it is important that you be right about every issue that you expound on relating to it. If there is any error or misunderstanding in your fundamental views, they can become a wedge issue and one to discredit your views. My interest isn’t in “fixing” mis-impressions when they aren’t central to the eligibility issue, rather my interest is in promulgated crystal clear thinking, understanding, and explanations which immediately are apparent to all who hear or read them. I believe that thinking that natural citizenship requires birth in the U.S. is philosophically incorrect.
The view I’ve arrived at that may be contrary to your own is not based on any law or opinion or interpretation of law, -it’s based solely on the only thing on which the whole issue rests, and that is an irrefutably logical principle. That principle is the natural law of jus sanguinis. Add anything to it and the subject immediately becomes unfocused. The sharpest focus possible is needed in this battle, and like a magnifying glass that can’t start a fire when its focus point is off, so logical arguments can become unfocused when an unrelated element is added, -that muddies the clear waters of natural logic.
Adding the principle of jus soli to jus sanguinis is just such an added element that muddies the clarity of the natural principle of birthright citizenship, citizenship that is derived solely from the parents alone and no other principle. I’ve written exhaustively on the subject and encourage you to read some of what I’ve penned.
I suspect that the 1790 Uniform Naturalization Act has led some to the assumption that Congress was deliberately legislating that which they had no authority to legislate, namely a new principle of citizenship which is found nowhere in the Constitution -that of foreign-born American citizenship.
No authority was given to Congress to legislate requirements, limitations, or new definitions regarding natural American citizenship, and they did not do so, contrary to how many view that legislation.
They merely sought to preserve and protect the unalienable rights of Americans born anywhere in the world, -namely abroad. They not only had the right to do that but also the duty.
That’s why they inserted language into the Act to protect American children from being lumped in with children of foreigners. It was not to do the exact opposite as some have erroneous presumed.
The government of the United States, meaning the executive branch and the courts of the land, were put on notice that those children were to be afforded all the same rights of citizenship as their natural born parents and their domestic born siblings. That’s why they didn’t merely write that they were to be “considered” as U.S. citizens, but as “natural born citizens”!
They knew exactly what they were writing, but since the nature of that citizenship was irrelevant to a Naturalization Act, it was omitted when it was rewritten five years later. The fact that Americans born abroad were to be eligible to be President was not germane to immigration policy, nor to immigration officials since it only had relevance to the election of the President.
But that was the point in why it was written. The first Congress wanted to make it clear that the fundamental American principle of national membership was by blood. American men were the sovereigns of the new nation and the rights and authorities of sovereigns do not end when they are temporarily outside of their own kingdom. A son born to them on foreign soil or at sea was unquestionably just as royal as his siblings, and in line to the throne. He inherited his royal status, and in the same manner, sons of Americans inherited their political/national status from their father as American sovereigns, and that status was known as citizenship, and with it came the constitutional right to serve as President. The founding fathers in that first Congress saw the need to make that clear to every ignorant public official who might, in the future, seek to block placing such an American’s name on their State ballot during a presidential election.
Some have erroneously concluded that by omitting “natural born” in 1795 they were declassifying such children by some mysterious authority that Congress was not given, when they were only interested in them being officially classified as “Citizens” and not classified as “foreigners” who needed to have citizenship bestowed upon them by statute.
Their mention in that “Naturalization Act” was not to naturalize them but to make it clear that they needed no naturalization since they were born as natural citizens by “the Law of Nature and Nature’s God”. That law is the principle of natural membership, -inherited membership from the most elementary level of family and on up to to clan and tribe, to country and nation.
I strongly encourage you to think this issue over from every angle and approach it from a fresh perspective, even if it is outside the box of your settled view. It is a lot easier and clearer to argue that natural citizenship results solely from the principle of jus sanguinis and nothing else, than to have to come up with explanations for why “place of birth” must be attached to it like a grafted-on Siamese twin.
Since most already believe that Obama was born in the U.S., adding a requirement of U.S. birth to natural citizenship serves no purpose. Instead it only distracts from his lack of an American father.
Vattel’s observation regarding the population that makes up a nation was not a binding, all-inclusive “definition”, it was merely a description, and pertained to 99.+% of native citizens, but it did NOT deliberately exclude those born abroad. It couldn’t because their number was so tiny that they were not worthy of even mentioning in that sentence, although he did make it clear in those that followed that national membership was determined by the membership of the father, and not the place of birth. And yet you have completely ignored his multiple statements to that effect
The number of foreign-born babies of common subjects or citizens was so infinitesimal that they probably could have been counted on one hand in any given year, and so they did not belong in any general observation or description. So the fact that the natives of a country are born within their own country is actually not in need of even being stated, -certainly not as a rule handed down from the lofty heights of “legal scholarship & research”.
Vattel’s description demonstrated the beauty of simplicity, -a natural observation untarnished by any legal, judicial, or philosophical baggage. It was not viewed as nor embraced by the founding fathers as some kind of equivalent to a Papal decree. It was only a natural observation.
In our politically correct era, it’s mandatory to use the language that natural citizenship requires that both parents be Americans, but that language demonstrates a failure to grasp the reality of the issue.
Under the tradition of The Divine Right of Kings, male subjects would be considered to be committing an act akin to treason if they were to foreswear, abjure, reject or renounce their allegiance to their sovereign in order to expatriate themselves and become citizens or subjects of another nation. But wives? They were the property of their husbands.
If he was a subject of the King and a foreign woman married a subject of the King, then she became a subject of the King also because she was under her husband’s jurisdiction, and he was under the King’s. And the King of the land where she was born couldn’t have cared less. Everything was all about the male, -kind of like it is in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan today. Totally patriarchal, -wives submissive to their husbands and under his protection and jurisdiction in his role as head of the household.
This was the situation in our young republic, one in which wives, like slaves, were not afforded the honor of being considered legally to be independent “persons” as mentioned in the Constitution.
At that time and for long after, when a foreign woman married an American, she acquired derivative U.S. citizenship automatically. Therefore it confuses the eligibility issue to state that constitutionally both parents had to be citizens, when the wife, -if not native or natural born, automatically became an American by the mere act of marriage. It was thus impossible for an American husband to be married to a foreign wife.
So I believe it would be very much in the interest of fidelity to the historical truth, -which is readily grasped by all who aren’t shocked that American women once weren’t treated equal to men, if everyone shifted the language to one that reflects the unvarnished reality that “natural born citizens” were known and recognized as those citizens who had American fathers, period.
No need to mention the nationality of the mother because it was automatically American by marriage or birth. It also reflects the reality that children born to American women who were married to foreigners would only be considered natural born Americans if their father became naturalized before their birth.
If you have counter-arguments, I ask you to think twice about their validity and the principle that supports them. The definition of natural citizenship is not dependent on any opinion offered by any person or court, but solely on the principle on which it is based. Either there is one and it is inviolable, or there is none and it can mean anything that people care to read into it. You know which one is preferable.
yours, Adrien Nash http://obama-nation.com