The Natural Born Citizen Clause: The Controversy

The Natural Born Citizen Clause

Natural Born Citizen Clause is a clause contained in the United States’ constitution requiring anybody aspiring to hold the office president and vice president to fulfill. This clause was intended to protect America from foreign influence (Maskell 2). This clause has been contentious since the USA constitution does not define it. This issue has had several legal contests in United States Supreme Court. Every time election draws near several lawsuits emerge and the courts have never determined the interpretation of ‘natural born citizen’ in regards to president and vice president post making the issue a continuous debate (Tokaji 31). Due to these challenges, the United States should reconsider this clause.

Inclusive and Non-Discriminatory Reconsideration

To be inclusive and free from biasness, the reconsideration should include: the clause should be either amended to adjust the definition of natural-born citizen to mean any individual who during the time of his birth, one of the parents is a natural born of the United States or both the parents are natural born citizens of the State and are legally residing in the States. To total eliminate the challenge, the clause should be reconsidered to read for one to be president or vice, ‘both parents be natural-born citizens of the United States, and that the person is born in the United States or in a place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States at the time of that person’s birth’ (Maskell 2). Holding the office of president is more ambition than entitlement therefore upholding the clause will be discriminatory. Another reconsideration is rejecting the legal provision which leaves the power of determining who natural born citizen to congress is. This will deny them selective application of law and provision of equal opportunity. This anachronistic distinction should be amended to include even those who are citizens by naturalization to ensure that the United States benefit from array of talents possess by those not citizens by natural birth. Technology has advanced providing better ways of detecting non-citizen who may want to exercise foreign control but not through implementation of this clause. This clause has led to feelings of second class citizens. In a nutshell, the reconsideration should be either redefining the clause to allow those citizens by naturalization also to vie for presidency and vice presidency or abolished it all together because of the creation of second class citizens alongside many challenges it avails during electioneering period.

The Impact of the Immigration and Migration Debate

The United States’ debate on immigration and migration has been on the increasing trend. The focus has been on the challenges the migrants pose to Americans with security playing the center stage. The government of the States has even endeavored to close its borders with Mexico to curb the migrants entering their country. Many Americans are of the opinion that immigration is ‘a good thing’ though with a declining percentages over the recent past. In 2017, about 74% of them were of that opinion, right from 84% in the year 2016. This has elicited many reactions from the government (Law 252). Therefore, this debate will have a sound impact and effect on the public opinion on the natural born citizen clause. Since this debate depict foreigners as the source of insecurity in American, many local residents will buy the idea thus supporting the clause of the “natural born citizen” (Law 263). They get convinced through debate that non-locals are threat to their security thus concurring with any restrictions prohibiting them to rise to power.

The Influence of Public Opinion

Any policy intending to amend or abolish the ‘natural birth citizen clause’ will be negatively affected by the general public opinion. This will be due to the perceptions and attitudes developed from the debates about the foreigners. The general opinion of the local Americans will that which support the upholding of the clause and ensuring that the Congress House retain the powers to deciding who meets the requirement becoming declared to vie for the top office. To them, this will go a long way ensuring their security and unnecessary influence from foreigners.

Impact on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Civil liberties refer to protections to the citizens from any unwanted or compromising government actions. The change in natural born citizen policy will intensively affect the peoples’ civil liberties (Ellington 209). For instance, the civil liberty “the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights guarantees citizens the right to practice whatever religion they please” will be positively affected by changing this policy (Ellington 209). Notably, through the change in policy, many individuals of different religious beliefs will ascend to power thus advocating for more civil liberty to religion. The challenge however exists on stating with certainty the effect of changing the policy. This is because when one’s right is protected then more often than not another person’s right is violated. More so in regards to protecting the rights of minority. Government will thus have no control in deciding for the foreigners the denominations to belong to and when and where to worship. The changes will increase individual liberties. The other liberty that would be enhanced by the changing of this policy is “the right to privacy” (Ellington 209). If a foreigner ascends to power of the changes in the policy, then privacy of citizens will be protected. They won’t be viewed as threat to American peace anymore.

Noteworthy, the change in this policy will also affect individuals’ civil rights. Civil rights are simply the actions taken by the government to provide and create equal conditions and opportunities for all citizens (Ellington 209). Often, the term is used to with the intention of protecting the minority groups like African Americans citizens, Hispanics, and also non-local women in America. The ultimate goal of civil rights is salvage the minorities who suffer from being outvoted by the majority. If this policy is changed and even the minority gets an opportunity of holding the highest office in the land, the civil rights of the minority like economic exclusion will be curbed. Though distributions of resources are guided by the provisions of the constitution, a powerful lead from a minority group will always advocate for his or her group’s welfare. In addition, another aspect of civil rights that will receive much attention is the social and cultural equality. The minor clans and races from which presidents and their vices emanate will have their cultural and social activities prioritized in national functions thus eliminating minority’s discrimination. In conclusion, this policy has both pros and cons in equal measures and therefore its amendments, if any, by the congress must done with a lot of care. The security issues it poses to Americans must be keenly weighed against the violation of the civil rights and liberties of the minority and concrete decision made.

Works Cited

Ellington, Lucien. apan: A Global Studies Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 209, 2002. ISBN 1576072711.

Law, David S., The Myth of the Imposed Constitution. The Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (Denis Galligan " Mila Versteeg eds., Cambridge University Press 2013, pp. 239-68); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-05-01. Available at SSRN:

Maskell, Jack . "Qualifications for President and the 'Natural Born' Citizenship Eligibility Requirement"

(PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. 2, 2011.  Retrieved May 15, 2018. In addition to historical and textual analysis, numerous holdings and references in federal (and state) cases for more than a century have clearly indicated that those born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction (i.e., not born to foreign diplomats or occupying military forces), even to alien parents, are citizens 'at birth' or 'by birth,' and are 'natural born,' as opposed to 'naturalized,' U.S. citizens. There is no provision in the Constitution and no controlling American case law to support a contention that the citizenship of one's parents governs the eligibility of a native born U.S. citizen to be President.

Tokaji, Daniel. "The Justiciability of Eligibility: May Courts Decide Who Can Be President?". Michigan Law Review, First Impressions. 107: 31, 2008.

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