What would your reaction be if you heard that Congress was set in 2007 to bestow ‘natural born’ citizenship on ALL anchor babies through their Immigration Reform legislation. (110th Congress) S. 1348
Shocked? Outraged? Ambivalent?
What if you heard that Congress was moving to change Immigration & Naturalization laws so the every child born overseas to 1 citizen parent & 1 foreign parent would forever be deemed a ‘natural born’ citizen. (101st Congress) H.R. 1380, (99th Congress) H.R. 2535,
Shocked? Outraged? Ambivalent?
What if Congress had a bill waiting to come out of committee in February of 2008 that would change the citizenship laws of all children born to US parents serving in the military abroad(off US & US Territory soil) so that those children would now become natural born citizen at birth, but instead of following through with it, Congress sets the bill aside and passes a public resolution that holds one former military personnel’s citizenship in higher regard than all the others that are currently serving as if this person had some supremacy over the others. S. 2678
Shocked, Outraged? Ambivalent?
What if there was evidence of a bill introduced to Congress in 2004 to specifically change the definition of ‘natural born citizen’ from what the Framers meant it to be at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. S. 2128
Shocked? Outraged? Ambivalent?
What would your reaction be if you heard that there have been numerous attempts to remove the words ‘natural born citizen’ from Article II of the constitution in regards to Presidential qualifications so that ALL anchor babies could someday become President, regardless if their parents are still here illegally? (93rd Congress)HJ Res 325, HJ Res 880, HJ Res 890, HJ Res 896, HJ Res 993, HJ Res 1051, (94th Congress) HJ Res 33, HJ Res 86 (95th Congress) HJ Res 38 (106th Congress) HJ Res 88 (108th Congress) HJ Res 59, HJ Res 67, HJ Res 104 (109th Congress) HJ Res 2,HJ Res 15, HJ Res 42
Shocked? Outraged? Ambivalent?
And what if ALL these prior efforts were retroactive to ALL children born, that are alive today in the US and abroad.
Shocked? Outraged? Ambivalent?
Of all these permanently recorded Congressional proposals, the ones that give us more in-depth testimony/summary are H.R. 1380, H.J. Res. 88, S. 2128, S. 1348 & S. 2678.
H.R. 1380 was a bill to amend the Immigration & Nationality Act to grant US national & ‘natural born’ citizen status to certain persons born outside the United States. Alexander’s bill would have granted a child born with dual nationality ‘natural born’ citizenship status and it also addressed the issue of children born to US military personnel overseas. Summing up the bill, Alexander said:
“My bill would also insert the term ‘natural born’ into section 301 of the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1952, thus clearing up any question as to whether a child born abroad as an American citizen qualifies under the Constitution to run for President when he or she grows up.”
Kennedy’s aka ‘Fast Eddie’s’ bill, S. 1348, went a bit further and it was quite clever of him to slip those 2 little yet powerful words ‘natural born’ into the bill. Reading the summary was quite laughable. This is where Kennedy tries to claim that children(anchor babies) born to nonimmigrant illegal aliens are ‘natural born’, however he does not stop there, he goes on to call adopted children of nonimmigrant illegal aliens as natural born once the aliens acquired the new Z-visa that would have been created by the immigration reform act.
In 2000, Rep. Barney, I can’t “Frank”ly understand why Ma. keeps reelecting him, introduced H.J. Res. 88, an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for Office of the President a person who has been a citizen for twenty years. This is the 1st bill introduced where we have extensive testimony on the subject of ‘natural born citizen’ before the Subcommittee of the Constitution because Barney does [n]ot favor putting obstacles on the ability of the people to choose who they wish] to elect.
Mr. Candy who is chairing the subcommittee opens by stating:
“The natural-born citizen qualification continues to provide to the political system of the United States a certain level of protection against the influence of foreign nations. In addition to this safeguard, the requirement also secures the ability of the President to make decisions involving domestic and foreign policy that are in the best interests of the United States without an inherent emotional or familial attachment to another nation.”
And Mr. Candy is quite right. The qualification was put in place specifically for national security & sovereignty reasons. It was put in place to protect the citizens of the newly formed Republic from ever becoming ‘subjects’ to foreign sovereigns or an all powerful central Monarchy. Mr. Candy has done his homework and thus is the reason I believe that this never made it out of committee. However, let’s review a bit more testimony.
We shall start with the testimony from an immigrant, Balint Vazsonyi, of the Center for American Founding who immigrated in 1959.
“The Constitution, which created a country unlike any other, also brought forth a Nation populated by people who are unlike any other. It is as if an umbrella had been erected over this country inviting all the people of the world to come here and become something else than they were in the moment of arrival…Indeed, Americans are different. I noticed this soon after I had arrived in this country 41 years ago. I daresay, I have spent a great deal of my life trying to understand, first of all, in what way Americans are different and why, but the fact remains that they are…So when the framers of the Constitution made this provision, perhaps they were already aware of the fact, as indeed perhaps instinctively or through inspiration they were aware of so many other things, that already then Americans were different because they did something nobody else had done before them…One of the best examples of that is precisely Congressman Frank’s resolution. It is unthinkable, ladies and gentlemen, that a legislator in another land would actually spend time proposing that some foreigner could become the first citizen of that land. So, Congressman Frank, you are as good an example as I have met to show that Americans pour their hearts out and want to share everything, even the Presidency…I would say respectfully that describing this provision of the Constitution, as I said, and I will say once again, one of the solitary miracles of human history, as victimizing immigrants or being unjust—to be able to run for President is not a right. It is very important not to confuse the system of government with rights. Where would such a right come from? It is a well-thought-out provision of our Constitution.”
Continuing on about foreign influences & national security, Vazsonyi states:
“I am here to tell you, after 41 years of making the most strenuous efforts of becoming American, not just legally but in every sense of the word, and having spent 40 of those 41 years living with a native-born American, that I still have not been able to even approach the temperament, the natural tolerance, the unfailing good will toward the world that Americans are famous for…Foreigners come here and have to learn it. It is a miracle that within one generation they can do so. I think it would be expecting something even more than the impossible that they can do it within the same lifetime, and that they can forget everything they had grown up with…The question of foreign influence has already been discussed. I would just like to add that having grown up in Hungary, I would find it very difficult to make decisions—not so much affecting Hungarians, but those toward whom Hungarians hold an animus. What if somebody of a certain birth would have to just express an opinion about immigration quotas from a country with which the native land had been at odds? This is just a tiny example. Of course, the matter of being Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is much more important…To say that the world is a more peaceful place today is a very temporary condition. It can turn into something else tomorrow or the day after. The constitutional provisions are not there to serve this week or next week. They have served this country for over 200 years, and I hope and we all hope that they will continue to do so…So I would like to conclude with a general comment on constitutional amendments. I believe they are rarely necessary, hardly ever justified, and perhaps entirely untimely right now, when Americans seem to be considering even the very nature of this country, whether it is a Republic or a democracy. Therefore, with due respect to the proposal, I would like to cast a vote for rejecting it.”
In the Vazsonyi’s written testimony turned over to the committee, Vazsonyi further address the importance of the ‘natural born’ qualification in regards to foreign influences and national security:
“It is well known that the Founding Fathers were mindful in the extreme of foreign influences, and the dangers therefrom to the Republic. While experience has shown that a native-born Chief Executive is not necessarily immune to foreign influence, the odds are certainly more favorable if the president is an American plain and simple, who has never been, and is not at the time of taking office, anything else…Article II of the U.S. Constitution requires the President to ”take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Mr. Chairman, it is an incontrovertible fact that the inhabitants of most countries are not only unfamiliar with what we call the Rule of Law, but find the concept virtually incomprehensible. Again, it is a miracle that so many immigrants are able to operate within the American system of laws, contracts, and agreements on a handshake…Equally of concern is the new appetite for, and silent acceptance of, dual citizenship. It would be naive at best to believe that neither has any bearing on what used to be unconditional loyalty and commitment to America…Those who favor the proposed amendment will no doubt point to exceptional persons of their acquaintance who, in their view, would fulfill any and all expectations with regard to the office of president, though being of foreign birth. Yet the laws of this country never have been written with the exceptions in mind. Among other things, the Framers of the Constitution distinguished themselves by writing few laws, and employing language at once broad and concise, so as to be applicable to all circumstances at all times.”
Another to testify and submit written testimony was Forrest McDonald, historian and professor of history at the U of Alabama. McDonald starts out by agreeing with Chairman Candy then goes on to cite supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in his testimony:
“Debates about electing the President raged until early September, less than 2 weeks before the Convention adjourned. Then Pierce Butler, an Irish-born delegate, came up with a cumbersome plan that overcame the objections to all earlier proposals. This was the electoral college system. The system was so diffuse that it would be virtually impossible, given the primitive communications then available, for foreign agents to corrupt it. But for good measure Butler’s proposal included the restrictive language, ”no person except a natural-born citizen…To appreciate the significance of the Constitution’s restriction of presidential eligibility to natural born citizens, it is useful to place the requirement in historical perspective. Americans of the founding generation were extremely distrustful of executive authority because experience with colonial governors had convinced them that executive power was inherently inimical to liberty, because they felt betrayed by George III, and because they considered a strong executive to be incompatible with the republicanism they embraced when they declared their independence in 1776. As a consequence, their revolutionary state constitutions provided minimal executive branches, and the first national constitution, the Articles of Confederation, established no executive arm…By the time the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, difficulties undergone during and after the war for independence had convinced most public spirited men that an energetic national executive was necessary, but they approached the problem cautiously, and at least a third of the delegates to the Convention favored a plural executive in the interest of safety. The others endorsed a single executive, not least because all understood that George Washington, whom everybody trusted, would be the first occupant of the office…But Washington could not serve forever, and the delegates groped almost desperately to devise a suitable way of choosing his successors. The search took up more of the debates than any other subject the Convention faced. Most delegates favored having Congress elect the president, but that would make the executive department dependent upon the legislative unless the president were ineligible for reelection, but ineligibility would necessitate a dangerously long term—six or seven years being the common suggestion. The greatest fear was of corrupt influences upon the election, particularly from abroad…That language was adopted without a single dissenting voice, nor did anyone speak in its support. Its meaning and rationale went without saying. As Joseph Storey later explained in his famous commentaries, the phraseology ”cuts off all chances for ambitious foreigners who might otherwise be intriguing for the office and interposes a barrier against . . . corrupt interferences of foreign governments…Now, the question before the subcommittee is not the original purpose of the clause, but whether it has outlived its usefulness. The circumstances that prevailed at the time of the founding have changed. Yet it seems to me on balance that conditions in the foreseeable future warrant a continuation of the caution shown by the framers…Take the matter of the possible corruption in the electoral process. The system is still structurally diffuse, but in practice it might as well be centralized, given modern techniques of communication and the instant portability of money, the most potent corrupting influence. Presidential candidates spend scores of millions of dollars. Just consider the prospective influence of a few billion dollars, a sum well within the means of a number of countries, any one of which, while unwilling to risk such a sum on a natural-born American, might be eager to support a candidate who had been born and raised in their country…The original Constitution contemplated a relatively weak Presidency, but the office has become the most powerful in the world, and safeguards surrounding it are therefore more indispensable than ever. The one area of Presidential authority that is virtually unchecked and uncheckable is the President’s power as Commander in Chief…Let us consider a few scenarios, starting with an extreme example. The espionage agencies of some countries have occasionally employed agents under deep cover who might not be activated for decades. It is not difficult to imagine such an agent being elected to an office of trust, but a Senator is 1 of 100, and a Representative is 1 of 435. What check is there on a President who is 1 of 1, except for the constitutional restriction?… In the role of Commander in Chief, it is not enough to be above reproach. One must be above the suspicion of reproach…In conclusion let me say that on this as on other constitutional questions, we are best guided by the wisdom and prudence of the Founding Fathers. The amendment process is not to be taken lightly, nor should it be used for political or electioneering purposes. The structure created by the Constitution has stood the test of time and continues to stand as the truest foundation for our freedom.”
Of course the committee heard from 2 other witnesses for the progressive view; one for adoptive parents of foreign children and the other a civil rights activist for immigrants. You are welcome to read their bloviating testimony online as it is not relevant to defining ‘natural born’.
After H.J. Res. 88 failed to make it out of committee, Sen. Nickles (OK) along with Landrieu (LA) and Inhofe (OK) brought forward S. 2128 in 2004, a bill to define the term ‘natural born Citizen’ as used in the Constitution of the United States to establish eligibility for the Office of President.
Sen. Nickles, in his speech when introducing the S. 2128, announced that:
“There is obviously a need for clarification. In the absence of a judicial interpretation, Congress can express a legislative interpretation of Constitutional terms. We should not wait for an election to be challenged and the courts to decide what ‘natural born’ means.
And then concludes by stating:
“This bill ensures that children born abroad to or adopted by American parents have claim to the full meaning of the American dream…they can also have the freedom to choose to run for president.”
I was taken aback by Nickles proclamation that Congress had never defined ‘natural born citizen’. Had he just gone to the congressional records from 1866, when the 14th Amendment was drafted and subsequently ratified, he would have found this from Rep. John A. Bingham:
“I find no fault with the introductory clause [S 61 Bill], which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen”
And yet again repeating myself, we know that the term ‘natural born citizen’ exists exclusively in one place in the Constitution itself. Article II, Section I, Clause V:
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
Sen. Inhofe made note of the repealed Immigration & Naturalization Act of 1790 as some sort of fact that Congress had defined what ‘natural born’ meant, as if it has always pertained to naturalized citizens or citizens by statute, and uses the argument that in the absence of any judicial interpretation, Congress, per the 1790 Act, has the authority to make such interpretation. And let it be noted, Inhofe per his speech, is the grandfather of an internationally adopted child, thus did not have pure intentions when signing onto this bill.
There was no objection, the bill was recorded and met the same demise of all previous other attempts to alter presidential qualifications.
All these attempts, all these secret bills quietly kept out of earshot of the public at large, are verified proof that Congress has for decades been trying to usurp the original intent of the founding fathers of this great nation further risking our sovereignty & national security. An agenda that Washington warned about in his farewell address:
If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield…
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government...
Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests…
Part III: the conclusion. I purposely held back the review & summary of S. 2678 as it pertains directly to S. Res. 511 and including it here would spill the beans so to speak. But rest assured, it will be published no later than Thursday evening.
Linda A. Melin, Citizen Researcher