NBC Nightly News did a lengthy segment tonight on the conspiracy theories about Obama’s citizenship. This all seems to center around a conviction that he was not born in Hawaii. Even though it has been demonstrated that he was born in Hawaii, conspiracy theorists and the gullible continue to insist that he is not an American citizen and therefore not eligible to be President. The Constitution states that one must be a “natural born citizen” to be President. The U.S. Supreme Court has never issued a ruling defining what “natural born citizen” means in this context. However it is generally agreed that it means the individual is a citizen by right of birth, not through a naturalization process. I have not heard anyone dispute that Barack Obama’s mother was an American citizen. And that alone makes him a U.S. citizen by birth, not naturalization. In other words he would be a natural born citizen (a citizen from the moment of birth) even if he hadn’t been born in Hawaii. This is directly from the U.S. Department of State web site:
Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock: A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) INA provided the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child’s birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen are required for physical presence in the U.S. to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.
Obama’s mother spent her entire childhood in the U.S., satisfying the 10 year requirement. Barack Obama was born when his mother was 18, before she could possibly have spent five years after the age of fourteen in the States, but of course she eventually would spend far more than five years after the age of fourteen in the States. And in any event, it is irrelevant because he was born in the U.S. anyway.