Friday, March 19, 2010

Could David Headley Have Become President?

David Coleman who? David Coleman Headley, the American terrorist enabler recently convicted (yes, in an article three court) and sentenced to 12 years for assisting the Mumbai killers. Here's CNN with some background:
David Coleman Headley was born in 1960 in Washington, D.C., but with a different name: at birth, he was given the Urdu name Daood Gilani.
He was born to a rebellious American mother and a strict Pakistani diplomat father, who parted ways a few years later. Headley stayed with dad in Pakistan while mom moved to Philly and oped a bar called "Khyber Pass".

Eventually mom brought son back to America and he got corrupted, getting caught up in a drug bust during the 90s and reportedly becoming an informant for the DEA while simultaneously turning his life over to Mohammad. This eventually led to his involvement in terrorism and an ultimate downfall.

So why the title? A naked bashing of Obama? Is McCloud a closet birther? Nope. Obama was definitely born in Hiwayer. And one cannot realistically compare Headley's life choices directly to the prez's--one went on to higher education, had a great family, and became president; the other slid down the toilet and became a traitor. The comparison is in background and eligibility.

Both were born of an American mother and a foreign Muslim father. In the case of Obama he later had a Muslim step-father as well. Headley, raised in Pakistan, clearly had leanings towards that life and culture. Yet according to most scholars he was qualified to become the President of the United States, just like Obama.

I think the founders delineated "natural born citizen" from "citizen" in an attempt to protect against a David Headley ever becoming president. So what are we to make of anchor babies, citizens by birth, who can also become president even if their illegal alien parents swept them back to the home country all through childhood? Is that really what the founders wanted?

11 comments:

Debbie said...

Very in interesting. We need to be very careful about who can hold political office in the US and especially be president. As to Anchor babies, we generally think of Mexicans when we use that term, but it does apply to ANY baby born here doesn't it? Scary.

(On another subject, I thought you would enjoy the following article on Flight 253)

http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2010/03/inside-story-of-terror-on-flight-253.html

A.C. McCloud said...

I knew in posting this I was running the risk of being labeled a birther, even though I believe all evidence points to Obama being a citizen. Whether he meets the natural born is unknown in my mind, and I think Headley's situation and the anchor baby scenario should prompt the government to nail this down a bit better.

But they won't, because in doing so they'll be called xenophobic birthers.

Anonymous said...

YOu asked: "Is that really what the founders wanted? "

They wanted the voters to have the choice. They also allowed the voters to vote for criminals and Tories (Remember the Tories? They were the Americans who fought against the Revolution. Yet there is no mention of them not being eligible.)

So, what you are asking is whether the child of illegal aliens is worse than a criminal. Or, if not, why are criminals eligible and the children of illegal aliens not eligible?

The fact is that the writers of the Constitution believed that a person born on US soil became different from people born elsewhere. That is why Naturalized citizens are not allowed to become president. But all citizens at birth, especially all who were born in the USA are eligible.

That does not mean we have to vote for them, of course. So, you have every right to vote against the child of an illegal alien. But that does not mean that she or he should not be eligible, and there is certainly no evidence that the writers of the Constitution thought that such a person should not be eligible.

Courts have already ruled that the children of two non-US citizens and the children of illegal aliens are Natural Born Citizens.

For example:

Mustata v. US Dept. of Justice, 179 F.3d 1017 (6th Cir. 1999) (children born in US to two Romanian citizens described as “natural born citizens” of the US):

Petitioners Marian and Lenuta Mustata are citizens of Romania. At the time of their petition, they resided in Michigan with their two minor children, who are natural born citizens of the United States.


Diaz-Salazar v. INS, 700 F.2d 1156 (7th Cir. 1983) (child born in US to Mexican citizen is “natural born citizen” of US):

Petitioner, Sebastian Diaz-Salazar, entered the United States illegally [from Mexico] in 1974 and has been living and working in Chicago since that time. *** The relevant facts which have been placed before the INS, BIA, and this court can be summarized as follows: The petitioner has a wife and two children under the age of three in Chicago; the children are natural-born citizens of the United States.

Nwankpa v. Kissinger, 376 F. Supp. 122 (M.D. Ala. 1974) (child born in US to two Biafra citizens described as “natural born citizen” of the US):

The Plaintiff was a native of Biafra, now a part of the Republic of Nigeria. His wife and two older children are also natives of that country, but his third child, a daughter, is a natural-born citizen of the United States.

Is this the intent of the founders?

YES. Here is what Madison says about it:

In a speech before the House of Representatives in May of 1789, Madison said:

"It is an established maxim, that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but, in general, place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States."

There is only one criterion of allegiance, he says, and that is the place of birth. He does not say that you have to have two US parents to be loyal, or that the citizenship of the parents affects loyalty. He says that the only criterion is the place of birth.c

A.C. McCloud said...

So anonymous the answer to you then is yes, someone like Headley--with dual loyalties (one to our current enemies)--could have become president as long as he was able to con the voters into believing he was a true-blue American.

The Natural Born question is very interesting. I surmise the reason the Senate had to pass a resolution on McCain's eligibility was due to his birth in the Canal Zone despite having two citizen-parents. But based on Madison's writings alone he might have been ineligible. The Congress obviously has some power to tweak the definition.

Anonymous said...

YOu said: "someone like Headley--with dual loyalties (one to our current enemies)--could have become president as long as he was able to con the voters into believing he was a true-blue American."

Yes.

You should remember that the Constitution does not bar Tories (Remember the Tories? They were the Americans who supported the British) from being eligible to be president. And it does not bar criminals from being president.

Why not? Because the responsibility is that of the voters. Moreover, we know that the writers of the Constitution did not believe in divided loyalties. They believed (as Blackstone held) that a person could have only one allegiance, to the country where she or he was born.

This is probably wrong. We know that even people born to two US citizen parents in the USA can be a traitor, but that being the case, a child born to two foreign parents in the USA is not necessarily more likely to be a traitor than the child of two-US parents.In any case, the rule is that every citizen who was born in the USA is a Natural Born Citizen, and only naturalized citizens are not Natural Born Citizens.

“All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country, as well as of England.” Justice Swayne, United States v. Rhodes, 1 Abbott, US 28 (Cir. Ct. Ky 1866)

“Every person born within the United States, its Territories, or districts, whether the parents are citizens or aliens, is a natural-born citizen of the United States in the sense of the Constitution…Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England; that is, within the ligeance, or, as it is generally called, the allegiance of the King; and aliens are such as are born out of it.” …… “It makes a man a subject in England, and a citizen here, and is, as Blackstone declares, ‘founded in reason and the nature of government’ … The English Law made no distinction … in declaring that all persons born within its jurisdiction are natural-born subjects. This law bound the colonies before the revolution, and was not changed afterward.” Rep. Wilson, 1866 Civil Rights Act debates. 10 Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., lst Sess. 1115, 1117 (1866)

“Natural born citizen. Persons who are born within the jurisdiction of a national government, i.e. in its territorial limits, or those born of citizens temporarily residing abroad.” — Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition

A.C. McCloud said...

This is probably wrong. We know that even people born to two US citizen parents in the USA can be a traitor, but that being the case, a child born to two foreign parents in the USA is not necessarily more likely to be a traitor than the child of two-US parents.

Do you have any data or is this just anecdotal speculation? I could just as easily speculate otherwise. As to presidents, there is no data whatsoever.

In any case, the rule is that every citizen who was born in the USA is a Natural Born Citizen, and only naturalized citizens are not Natural Born Citizens.

Vattel and others have disagreed but rather than get into all the minutia my question was more practical. Most liberals usually agree the constitution is a living and breathing document so should we consider changing presidential eligibility to only those born of US citizen parents?

BTW, I think we should change the citizenship laws to say babies born on US soil of illegal alien parents become citizens of whatever country their parents hold citizenship, not the US. The only babies who become automatic citizens are those born to naturalized parents, citizens, or those here on legal Visas, etc. Just common sense.

Anonymous said...

You asked: "two US citizen parents in the USA can be a traitor, but that being the case, a child born to two foreign parents in the USA is not necessarily more likely to be a traitor than the child of two-US parents."

I don't believe there are any statistics. Seven presidents have had at least one parent who was not a citizen (though all parents after the constitution were thought to have been naturalized--though the naturalization laws were far more lax than today) , and Andrew Jackson had two.

In any case,an example of a traitor who had two American-born parents, four American-born grandparents and apparently eight American great grandparents (one of whom was the first governor of a state) was Benedict Arnold.

On the other side, we have Andrew Jackson, both of whose parents were Irish, and hence British citizens at the time of Andrew's birth. Sure, he was grandfathered under the Constitution since he was born before the Constitution. But the two-citizen parent theory would exclude Andrew Jackson from the presidency if he ran today, since although he was born in the USA neither of his parents were citizens.

Jackson was a loyal and good president.

A.C. McCloud said...

In any case,an example of a traitor who had two American-born parents, four American-born grandparents and apparently eight American great grandparents (one of whom was the first governor of a state) was Benedict Arnold.


Using Benedict Arnold, who himself was only a natural born citizen by writ, is not the best example. I'd say a better example might be the Rosenbergs, natural born citizens who had Polish/Russian ancestry.

On the other side, we have Andrew Jackson, both of whose parents were Irish, and hence British citizens at the time of Andrew's birth. Sure, he was grandfathered under the Constitution since he was born before the Constitution. But the two-citizen parent theory would exclude Andrew Jackson from the presidency if he ran today, since although he was born in the USA neither of his parents were citizens.

Again, this is a specious argument. I'm talking about revising the constitution today, not in a time where peoples' parents were immigrants to a British colony.

Anonymous said...

Re: "I'm talking about revising the constitution today, not in a time where peoples' parents were immigrants to a British colony."

I'm not sure what you are getting at. Are you saying that (1) Andrew Jackson would not be eligible today because he had two parents who were not US citizens, and that that is a good thing? Or, are you saying that you propose changing the Constitution to make Andrew Jackson not eligible?

There are no statistics on loyalty. A few recent spies against the USA were natural born citizens who were tempted by money.

But this does not affect the fact that all US citizens who were born in the USA are Natural Born Citizens.

A.C. McCloud said...

I'm not sure what you are getting at. Are you saying that (1) Andrew Jackson would not be eligible today because he had two parents who were not US citizens, and that that is a good thing? Or, are you saying that you propose changing the Constitution to make Andrew Jackson not eligible?

It would not be retroactive, especially to include dead people.

There are no statistics on loyalty. A few recent spies against the USA were natural born citizens who were tempted by money.

But this does not affect the fact that all US citizens who were born in the USA are Natural Born Citizens.


Which is what I'm proposing to change.

Anonymous said...

Re your proposed amendment.

It would take a two-thirds vote of each house of the Congress and then three-quarters of the states.

And what would the result be, that the US-born child of one or two foreigners, who herself or himself may be a fine person, would be barred from being president. Why? Because she or he may not be a fine person? If she is not, surely the voters can decided that. If she is, why bar her?