The Natural Born Clause and the Immigration Debate

Article II of the U.S constitution states that no individual other than a natural born citizen is eligible to take up the office of the president. The election of 2009 becomes the first presidential election in the history of America where questions regarding the citizenship were raised for both major party candidates. In the 1970s Naturalization Act, the Congress which involved a lot of leaders who participated in drafting the constitution determined “natural born” to include any child born outside the US as long as they are born to American citizens. The 14th Amendment interpretation by the Supreme Court established that a child of a foreign national becomes US citizen if born on United States soil (Clement and Katya 162).

 The constitution excludes the eligibility of naturalized immigrants from being president with the aim of providing checks on foreigners’ admission into the national government administration while it’s assumed that the worry was based on possible partiality to particular ethnic by foreign-born presidents. The impact of national or ethnic crusaders on a naturalized immigrant president continues to worry many. It turns out that the ethnic lobbies tend to be the American descendants of the second or third generation who may play the politics of identity without suffering the results and not the immigrants. Most nations allow emigrants who become citizens of United States to retain their previous citizenship hence the oath administered to accepted US immigrants on renouncing their foreign nationality is dead (Clement and Katya 165).

Several countries including Mexico have return laws which define cultural group members residing in the US as automatic probable citizens hence taking advantage of such status. Therefore, foreign-born presidents who by the old nationality laws were technically citizens of another nationality would go through thorough scrutiny not only by the press but also political opponents for biases evidence. The same examination ought to be administered to natural born president subjective towards specific social order, particular region or field throughout the country. There exists a lot of biases hence no need to single out one of them in the Constitution. Therefore, the immigrants should be eligible to become the president of the U.S. (Bloemraad and Provine 49)

Reconsidering the Natural Born Clause

Possibly, the fear of dynastic monarchy motivated the natural born clause rather than fear over probable favoritism on the part a president that s foreign-born. The issue of natural born clause keeps cropping time and again which is an indication that in the modern globalized world, the article that stipulates the clause is struggling to keep the justification it might have held in 1787 (Charlton). From Barack Obama to George Romney to John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger are some of the famous US leaders that have had to deal with the controversy of their country of birth.  Reconsidering whether or not the policy should be amended and included in the constitution will remain controversial among the Americans. A lot of people would support the move but also a lot of others criticize it since it’s untrue that individuals born in the US are automatically devoted to the American constitutional principles than persons who have come to the US or chosen to obtain citizenship (Charlton). Even with a lot of protests, the American people can decide to change the natural birth clause to provide an opportunity to all Americans to take up leadership roles.   

Effects of the Current Debate over Immigration on Public Opinion

Problems related to economic well-being, peace, and war remain significant concerns for many Americans. However, immigration breaks through as an important issue from time to time due to the outside stimuli. Migration tends to be the primary concern to the modest minority of voters; minor groups can disproportionately impact the discussion.  Congress has not been successful in reaching a treaty on comprehensive reforms in immigration thus shifting important policy determination to the executive as well as judiciary further fuelling the debate (Council on Foreign Relations).

While some individuals support decreased immigration and increased border enforcement, some others support immigration policies that are more humane taking into account families rights to prevent separation, as well as acknowledging the presence and need for US immigrant labor.  One of the public opinion changes is the rise of immigration as a particular subject for the Republicans and Conservatives. While the Republicans and conservatives have somehow been considerate to immigration restrictions than Democrats and liberals, the subject matter remains defined by the traditional divides of partisanship and ideology.

 There is a split in conservatives regarding immigration with the business-oriented ones gravitating towards a more open and accommodating view while the cultural conservatives lean toward a more restrictions view. Legislation of immigration involves various issues hence evoking diverse preferences depending on the issues themselves as well as their framing (Council on Foreign Relations). As it evolves, the emphasis of such law may change adding new issues or reframing old ones.  The current opposition to immigration reveals the negative perceptions of immigration which forms the public opinion. 

Effects of Change in Policy on People’s Civil Rights or Liberties

The US immigration policy has mainly been shaped by domestic politics as well as the widespread beliefs regarding the foreign and economic system with occasional diversions for humanitarian consideration.  The language of civil rights in the US is associated with the idea of equality, potent and evocative.  One of the limitations is in the aspect of linking civil rights with specific legal status, citizenship. Obtaining United States citizenship is not hard for the legal resident’s immigrants (Bloemraad and Provine 54). Once immigrants complete the process of naturalization, the law marks nearly no difference between citizens that are native-born and those that are foreign-born.

 Civil rights concern the fundamental right of freedom from discrimination by personal characteristics such as gender, disability, and race while civil liberty concerns with fundamental rights and liberties guaranteed by the constitution and bill of rights (Bloemraad and Provine 56). The civil rights Act provides statutory grounds to allow minority dialects in public education, a strategy which affected children of immigrants directly.  The tendency to conceptualize immigration matters as distinctive from civil rights problems withstands, impacting not only the legal and political resolutions but also the behaviors and attitudes of various social players including the social service workers and the police officers. In certain scopes of civil society, it’s possible to determine a move towards an all-inclusive civil rights viewpoint (Bloemraad and Provine 59).

In conclusion, immigration has been a hallmark of political debate in the United States for years as policymakers try to weigh the competing economic, humanitarian and security concerns.  The discussion on immigrants’ eligibility to become the United States president has been going on while some support the motion others are totally against it. The clause on citizen born in the constitution may have been brought about by the fear of the founders creating a gap that will enable a foreign-born to take the presidency yet they may not share the same beliefs as the citizen born. In the current modernization, the American people might need to revisit and make certain amendments in the constitution to change the citizen born clause which withholds the naturalized citizens’ rights.  

Works Cited

Bloemraad, Irene " Provine, Doris. "Immigrants and civil rights in cross-national." Journal of Comparative Migration Studies (2013): 45-64.

Charlton, Leena. Reflections on the “Natural Born Citizen” Clause as Illuminated by the Cruz Candidacy. 2016. 2018 .

Clement, Paul " Katyal Neal. "On the Meaning of " Natural Born Citizen"." Havard Law Review Forum, 128(5) (2015): 161-164.

Council on Foreign Relations. The U.S. Immigration Debate. 2018. 2018 .

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