Mitt Romney birthright red herring

The Constitution assumed local control of most government functions, not the current centralized system.
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Flying rumors saying that Mitt Romney is a Mexican national are false and misleading. Mitt Romney is a natural-born citizen of the United States. As such he is fully eligible to the office of President of the United States.

Mitt Romney – bio

Mitt Romney

Former Governor Mitt Romney at a townhall in Sun Lakes, Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

Mitt Romney on Sunday (January 8) reminded an audience of Latin voters that his father was born in Mexico. (Source: Univisión, cited by New America Media.) He is looking ahead to competing with Barack H. Obama for Latino votes. (Latinos favor Obama 2 to 1 over Romney at last report.) This has led some commentators on some social networks to say that Mitt Romney either:

  1. Is not a natural-born citizen, or else:
  2. Is such a citizen, and Obama must also be a citizen on the same grounds.

Neither remark is correct. (It also led NBC’s news division to say that “Mitt Romney is a poster boy for the DREAM Act,” according to the Media Research Center.)

Mitt Romney’s father, George W. Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, in one of the original Mormon Colonies of Mexico. George’s grandparents had fled the United States to avoid prosecution for polygamy. George’s parents were Gaskell Romney and Anna Amelia Pratt. Both were citizens of the United States at the time of George Romney’s birth. The Romneys returned to the United States in 1912 to flee the violence of the Mexican Revolution.

Thus George Romney was a citizen-at-birth of the United States by jus sanguinis, or the Law of the Blood. He did not need to apply for naturalization.

Mitt Romney was born in 1947, the son of George Romney and Lenore LaFount. She was born in Utah to two American citizen parents. Thus when Mitt Romney was born, both his parents were citizens, and he was born in-country.

Question of citizenship

Is Mitt Romney a natural-born citizen? Absolutely. According to Emmerich de Vattel, a natural-born citizen is one:

  1. Born in-country
  2. To two citizen parents.

The parents do not have to be natural-born citizens. They need only be citizens at the time of the subject’s birth.

By this analysis, George W. Romney was not a natural-born citizen. Thus the Republican Party was mistaken in letting him seek the nomination for President of the United States in 1968. He lost to Richard M. Nixon. He then challenged Spiro T. Agnew for the Vice-Presidential nomination, and lost that battle, too. Therefore, no one challenged the elder Romney, and after he lost both nominations, his citizenship became a non-issue.

Can Barack H. Obama make the same claim? No. Barack Hussein Obama, Senior, was a British colonial subject. He did not seek naturalization before the younger Obama was born. Whether he does (or can) prove that he was born in-country, or not, is a moot point.

Activist Donald R. Laster explained his research to CNAV:

There are three kinds of citizens: natural-born citizens, statutory citizens, and naturalized citizens. Of these three, only the natural-born citizen is eligible to be President. And no such thing as dual natural-born citizenship can possibly exist.

The common birthright-citizenship principle of jus soli (Law of the Soil) derives from English Common Law and is not universal. Germany is one country that does not use it. Jus sanguinis is an explicit statutory principle in American law. But natural-born citizens are a special class, and natural law defines that class.

Senator Claire McCaskell (D-MO) tried to re-define a natural-born citizen by statute. (See S. 2678 [110th] on Gov.Track.Us.)

Congress finds and declares that the term `natural born Citizen’ in article II, section 1, clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States shall include: `Any person born to any citizen of the United States while serving in the active or reserve components of the United States Armed Forces’.

That bill never became law. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was also not a natural-born citizen. He lost, of course, and so his citizenship is now moot. Barack H. Obama won, and so his citizenship is still an active issue, under active litigation.

Related:

Obama eligibility challenges go forward