Naturalized citizens should be allowed to run for President.
As a practical matter, with so many pressing issues for congress, putting forth this legislation would be colossal waste of time and money. As soon as the it were introduced, the debate would quickly devolve in virtue posturing for all sides. If by some miracle the amendment passed, the chances of ratification would be negligible- witness the ERA.
And while you're at it, no taxation without representation (I seem to have read about a revolution somewhere based on that grievance). I paid a lot of tax in the US over 5 years, but was I represented?
This post is a little imprecise in referring to the definition of "natural born citizen" and that there is actually occasional debate over what that means. If you are born abroad as the child of an American (who has lived the required amount of years in the U.S. ) you automatically receive U.S. citizenship and are therefore not naturalized and should already count as a "natural born citizen". That was also the question underlying the Ted Cruz question: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/01/07/yes-ted-cruz-is-a-natural-born-citizen/ and also to some degree this overblown controversy: https://reason.com/2019/08/29/military-kids-born-abroad-are-not-being-denied-citizenship/ (speaking as natural born American born abroad myself) On the other hand, at the time I was born in Germany , I dd not get automatic German citizenship, which I still don't have (since I have other EU citizenship through my father).
John Shalikashvili (born in Poland to Georgian and Polish parents) served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for 4 years, but wasn't eligible to run for president? It's a meaningless rule that only limits the already small pool of qualified candidates.
It's great to see Zaid publishing here. He's absolutely brilliant. I hope Persuasion grows to the point where people like him have full-time homes.
Also: you had me at the headline.
I am having trouble understanding why this is a compelling issue for America or for American immigrants. The presidency is one of very few jobs that require the occupant to be born in the United States. Even if immigrants cannot be president, their children can be. As you state, immigrants can serve the public in many impactful ways: as senators, governors, judges, doctors, writers, priests, teachers. Our presidency is off limits because we believe that the role demands the kind of social commitment that can only be understood and felt by people who are born here. This is a fair kind of discrimination.
I know many people among the first generation to be born as Americans, their parents immigrants from all over the world. Maha, a good friend from an Egyptian family, was reared by a sweet but anxious mother concerned that her daughter became too American.
“She thinks I don’t know she smokes,” her mother confided once when Maha disappeared to my front stoop for a quick drag and glass of wine, “but how could I not know?” Like other children of immigrants, Maha adopted the culture and norms of her peers. She would protest, “Mom, you brought me to America, how could you expect me to be anything but American?”
We stood with a tearful Maha as her father was buried by strangers from a local Mosque, teenage boys trying unsuccessfully to shoo away a phalanx of unmovable Muslim, Jewish, and Christian women. We went to her home mosque together to pray for her father’s safe passage into the nontemporal life.
I am third generation Irish American and grew up with “old country” stories and, stereotypically, a love of good writing and words. But as third generation I am also a lover of the U.S. Constitution and have remained its loyal student since long before I became a lawyer. Studying enlightenment writers such as Locke and Rousseau in college, I became devoted to the principles supporting our country’s ideals.
The United States is unique in that our constitution has held us together unfailingly since we became a country over 200 years ago. And it guides American thinking and social consciousness. The document is not just the Bill of Rights, it is also a carefully woven legal infrastructure which ensures that the Bill of Rights has meaning and impact in our communities and institutions. We cringe at the possibility of constitution dickering.
Unlike other countries, where constitutions can change at the whim of public opinion or for political expediency, and thus cannot truly be relied upon, America’s is steadfast. Take away the solidity and dependency of our formation document and you take America’s heart, her deep commitment to justice and fairness, even when her citizens fail to achieve it. And that heart broke earlier this year as we witnessed our police sever the promise of equal protection under the law, driving us frenetically to the streets in protest. It broke over the civil war, over sending our children to Vietnam, over Martin Luther King’s and the Kennedys’ assassinations, and over Nixon, who by arrogantly testing the limits of law, momentarily fractured our faith in the office of the president.
Although we are far from perfect, Americans open their doors to those who want to join in and become part of the American enterprise. All we ask is that our new neighbors honor the document that holds our country together. The presidency is only one elusive job among millions of possibilities. Let it be.
Yes! And you can add to all this: Why not let the voters decide? They will know the candidate was born abroad, but if a majority of voters wants that person anyway, why should anyone or anything get in their way? (My favorite victim of the current system is Jennifer Granholm. I would have loved to see her run. And lastly: I would even drop the long-time residency requirement. If when she is done in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern would like to try her luck here, I'd say, go for it! The voters can decide.)
Elon Musk 2024!