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> Is McCain a "Natural Born Citizen"?
scubatim
post Feb 28 2008, 09:29 PM
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Just thought that this would be an interesting discussion, or at least to see what temperature the water is here at ad.gif on the topic.

The NYT published a story discussing whether or not Senator McCain is considered a natural born citizen based on the fact that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

Questions for debate:

Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?
Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?
Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?
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quick
post Feb 28 2008, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE(scubatim @ Feb 28 2008, 04:29 PM) *
Just thought that this would be an interesting discussion, or at least to see what temperature the water is here at ad.gif on the topic.

The NYT published a story discussing whether or not Senator McCain is considered a natural born citizen based on the fact that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

Questions for debate:

Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?
Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?
Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?


1) No--both American parents, and both his father and grandfather were US naval officers, which is why McCain was born in the Canal Zone in the first place. Also, I thought the Canal Zone was a U.S. Territory by treaty until the property was returned to Panamanian sovereignty by the Carter admin's treaty.

2) No--waste of money.

3) No--if you have access to the "football", you need to have unquestioned loyalty to the United States.
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scubatim
post Feb 28 2008, 10:09 PM
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QUOTE(quick @ Feb 28 2008, 03:52 PM) *
1) No--both American parents, and both his father and grandfather were US naval officers, which is why McCain was born in the Canal Zone in the first place. Also, I thought the Canal Zone was a U.S. Territory by treaty until the property was returned to Panamanian sovereignty by the Carter admin's treaty.

2) No--waste of money.

3) No--if you have access to the "football", you need to have unquestioned loyalty to the United States.

Believe me, I don't disagree with you at all, but, is a territory the same as a state? Since he was born outside of the borders of the United States, does that make him a natural born American citizen?

Another angle, if a baby is born to two American citizens that are on a missionary trip or some other humanitarian aid mission while in another country with an organization that is structured and based in the United States, is the baby a natural born citizen?
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BoF
post Feb 28 2008, 10:09 PM
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QUOTE(quick @ Feb 28 2008, 03:52 PM) *
1) No--both American parents, and both his father and grandfather were US naval officers, which is why McCain was born in the Canal Zone in the first place. Also, I thought the Canal Zone was a U.S. Territory by treaty until the property was returned to Panamanian sovereignty by the Carter admin's treaty.

2) No--waste of money.

3) No--if you have access to the "football", you need to have unquestioned loyalty to the United States.

I agree with quick's answer to question 1.

I also agree with answer two, but for a different reason. Amending the constitution is a cumbersome process. If this can be clarified (if indeed it needs to be) by an act of congress or a court ruling, then in my opinion, it would be better. The founders left the constitution vague. Maybe they thought we'd have the moxie to flesh in the details as we went along. We wouldn't even have time to begin amending the document before the election.

I do think the natural born citizen thing is a bit archaic, but hey, it keeps The Terminator out of the oval office. One actor in a century is plenty. wacko.gif

This post has been edited by BoF: Feb 28 2008, 10:16 PM
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scubatim
post Feb 28 2008, 10:38 PM
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QUOTE(BoF @ Feb 28 2008, 04:09 PM) *
QUOTE(quick @ Feb 28 2008, 03:52 PM) *
1) No--both American parents, and both his father and grandfather were US naval officers, which is why McCain was born in the Canal Zone in the first place. Also, I thought the Canal Zone was a U.S. Territory by treaty until the property was returned to Panamanian sovereignty by the Carter admin's treaty.

2) No--waste of money.

3) No--if you have access to the "football", you need to have unquestioned loyalty to the United States.

I agree with quick's answer to question 1.

I also agree with answer two, but for a different reason. Amending the constitution is a cumbersome process. If this can be clarified (if indeed it needs to be) by an act of congress or a court ruling, then in my opinion, it would be better. The founders left the constitution vague. Maybe they thought we'd have the moxie to flesh in the details as we went along. We wouldn't even have time to begin amending the document before the election.

I know I wasn't suggesting, and I would hope no one else would suggest getting an amendment ratified before November. Hell, we can't even get Congress to work together on simple bills in a timely manner, a Constitutional Amendment would take decades at this pace.

QUOTE(BoF @ Feb 28 2008, 04:09 PM) *
I do think the natural born citizen thing is a bit archaic, but hey, it keeps The Terminator out of the oval office. One actor in a century is plenty. wacko.gif

I'm kind of on the fence on this one. On one hand, I think this country, or any country for that sake, should be lead by a person that was born and raised here, has worked here or served here, and does not have any ties to any other nation. On the other hand, I know some people that otherwise are more qualified than the current collection of candidates aside from their immigrating here to become citizens. Being born here also doesn't ensure loyalty. I think we all know that natural born citizens can often break ties and find allegiance in other places. When it comes down to it, natural born seems to win for me.
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BoF
post Feb 28 2008, 10:59 PM
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QUOTE(scubatim @ Feb 28 2008, 04:38 PM) *
I know I wasn't suggesting, and I would hope no one else would suggest getting an amendment ratified before November. Hell, we can't even get Congress to work together on simple bills in a timely manner, a Constitutional Amendment would take decades at this pace.

Then why did you ask the question in the first place?

If McCain wins, I do not think Democrats will challenge the election on this issue. At that point we have a precedent to support seating a president who was born under these circumstances. After that, it would be like trying to close the stall after the horse had kicked the door off it's hinges.

This post has been edited by BoF: Feb 28 2008, 11:17 PM
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Dontreadonme
post Feb 28 2008, 11:05 PM
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Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?

No. My wife falls into a similar catagory. She was born in England when her father was stationed there in the Air Force. She was issued both a British and a US State Department birth certificate, and could claim dual citizenship if she desired, but is considered a natural born US citizen.

Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?

No.

Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?

Yes, it is archaic and is not based on any sound basis whatsoever.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Feb 28 2008, 11:13 PM
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I guess this is redundant after DTOM's post above (I was writing when he posted, and didn't see it)....

There are two ways to become a US citizen. A person is either a "naturally born" citizen, or a naturalized citizen. There is no such thing as a naturally born US non-citizen or unnaturally born US citizen, or whatever. Natural born citizens are citizens at birth. This applies to babies born on US territory, babies born by military members when on duty overseas. They are given US citizenship at birth, rather than naturalized later, ergo they are naturally born US citizens.

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KrazyKarl
post Feb 28 2008, 11:13 PM
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Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?


Not more than that with of any of the first seven presidents of the United States. The rules were established to keep potential immigrant presidents from facing ethical dilemmas involving foreign policy. I don't particularly think of John McCain as a Panamanian (Where's the checkered lapel pin? wink2.gif ) and I don't believe many others do. If he was born to two Panamanians on route from David to Panama City or to two passengers passing through the canal, then maybe it would be questionable, but as far as I'm concerned a military base is American enough for me.

Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?

No. I think the chances of us running into a real difficult question regarding the legitimacy of being a naturally born citizen (born in an embassy, security council chamber floor, under the flag on the moon...) are minimal enough that we shouldn't waste time or money on the subject.

Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?

I think it's a reasonable requirement.
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entspeak
post Feb 28 2008, 11:34 PM
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Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?

I think the question is valid, but I think the answer is that McCain is a natural born citizen.

Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?

Eh... I think we can interpret the constitution to mean that a "natural born citizen" is someone issued citizenship at birth. No need to amend.

Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?

No, I don't think it's archaic. I think the requirement is perfectly fine.
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Hobbes
post Feb 29 2008, 03:23 AM
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I would add that given, as several posters here have shown, that there is no real question as to whether or not McCain is a natural born citizen, then the fact that the NYT even published the article at all calls their journalistic integrity into question once again. The case is clear cut...there is no more reason to question McCain's citizenship than there is Obama's or Clinton's. Only an entity with an ulterior motive would even run the story.
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scubatim
post Feb 29 2008, 03:29 AM
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QUOTE(BoF @ Feb 28 2008, 04:59 PM) *
QUOTE(scubatim @ Feb 28 2008, 04:38 PM) *
I know I wasn't suggesting, and I would hope no one else would suggest getting an amendment ratified before November. Hell, we can't even get Congress to work together on simple bills in a timely manner, a Constitutional Amendment would take decades at this pace.

Then why did you ask the question in the first place?

The same reason anyone asks a question. Because the article brought it up and I wanted to see what the ad.gif members thoughts were on the topic.


QUOTE(BoF @ Feb 28 2008, 04:59 PM) *
If McCain wins, I do not think Democrats will challenge the election on this issue. At that point we have a precedent to support seating a president who was born under these circumstances. After that, it would be like trying to close the stall after the horse had kicked the door off it's hinges.

If McCain doesn't win, there would still be no precedence regarding the issue, and it would still be up for interpretation.
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VDemosthenes
post Feb 29 2008, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE(scubatim @ Feb 28 2008, 04:29 PM) *
Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?
Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?
Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?


1.) It's a fairly regular procedure, and the answer is always yes. Two American parents working by and large for American interests elsewhere. Neither parent renounced citizenship, therefore, McCain is considered "natural born." Had he been born on a military base in South Korea, the soil is technically South Korean, but the flag flying is American. The two come into conflict for a reasoned mind, but statues say that if an American flag flies, the child is a natural born American.

2.) No. It's worked this long.

3.) Certainly not. I couldn't waltz into Russia and be named president there. I don't want anyone, no matter how stringent the requirements, coming here and sitting in the Oval Office if they were not immediately subject to the rules from birth.
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scubatim
post Feb 29 2008, 02:53 PM
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QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Feb 29 2008, 08:43 AM) *
QUOTE(scubatim @ Feb 28 2008, 04:29 PM) *
Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?
Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?
Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?


1.) It's a fairly regular procedure, and the answer is always yes. Two American parents working by and large for American interests elsewhere. Neither parent renounced citizenship, therefore, McCain is considered "natural born." Had he been born on a military base in South Korea, the soil is technically South Korean, but the flag flying is American. The two come into conflict for a reasoned mind, but statues say that if an American flag flies, the child is a natural born American.

Would this be true if only one of the parents were American citizens? I have found that many American GIs that get stationed overseas as single men, come back to the states with a wife from that country, and sometimes a kid. Where is the line drawn for those that are born outside the borders of the country? If a GI is stationed in South Korea, gets married and has a kid in Korea, is that kid natural born citizen? If a GI is stationed in South Korea and doesn't get married, but fathers a child in South Korea, is that child natural born citizen? This slightly veers from the actual issue with Senator McCain, however it is conversations like these that seek precedence. What constitutes natural born citizen? I am not saying that anyone is wrong, I am just taking the conversation to real world possibilities.
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carlitoswhey
post Feb 29 2008, 03:22 PM
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The Swamp did a story on this 10 days ago.

QUOTE
Let's set the Swamp's Time Machine to March 16, 1790, the second session of the very first U.S. Congress. The Constitution was only a year old, and Congress was busy passing laws explaining and amplifying what it various clauses and phrases actually meant.

According to the Act of March 26, 1790, 1 Stat. 103, "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be borne beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States."

So, to become a "natural born" American you don't need to be born in the continental U.S. But you do need to have two parents who are U.S. citizens. By that standard, McCain passes.

To nail things down even more tightly, Congress later stipulated that individuals born in the Republic of Panama or the Canal Zone after February 1904 were automatically U.S. citizens.


But then again, that's the New York Times. 10 days behind the blogs, and 180 wrong on key issues of the day. At this point, I wouldn't feed the Times to my gerbil.

scubatim, you are right - it is different if only one parent is a citizen. There is some kind of residency requirement that applies - 10 years in the USA, with 5 years over the age of 14, for the non-citizen parent to qualify for their children to be "natural born." Then again, this being the non-partisan NY Times, they would probably write an article that induced labor or a C-section for a Republican makes them not "natural born" at this point.

According to the Pentagon, the whole "military bases are US soil" thing is a myth. If that were true, we'd see pregnant women rushing to Embassy parking lots to give birth. Foreign nationals who are born on US army bases are not on "us soil" and do not qualify for citizenship. It's irrelevant that Panama had a special legal status - McCain's parents were both American citizens, and that's it. McCain could have been born with his parents on vacation in Bermuda, and he would still be a citizen. One of my best friends had a daughter in Paris, and once she's 35 and has lived in the US for 14 years, she will be qualified to be President.

Apparently, this concept dates back to English Common Law, which stipulated that children of ambassadors living outside England were "natural born subjects." link

QUOTE
all children, born out of the king's ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain.


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scubatim
post Feb 29 2008, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 29 2008, 09:22 AM) *
The Swamp did a story on this 10 days ago.

QUOTE
Let's set the Swamp's Time Machine to March 16, 1790, the second session of the very first U.S. Congress. The Constitution was only a year old, and Congress was busy passing laws explaining and amplifying what it various clauses and phrases actually meant.

According to the Act of March 26, 1790, 1 Stat. 103, "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be borne beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States."

So, to become a "natural born" American you don't need to be born in the continental U.S. But you do need to have two parents who are U.S. citizens. By that standard, McCain passes.

To nail things down even more tightly, Congress later stipulated that individuals born in the Republic of Panama or the Canal Zone after February 1904 were automatically U.S. citizens.


But then again, that's the New York Times. 10 days behind the blogs, and 180 wrong on key issues of the day. At this point, I wouldn't feed the Times to my gerbil.

scubatim, you are right - it is different if only one parent is a citizen. There is some kind of residency requirement that applies - 10 years in the USA, with 5 years over the age of 14, for the non-citizen parent to qualify for their children to be "natural born." Then again, this being the non-partisan NY Times, they would probably write an article that induced labor or a C-section for a Republican makes them not "natural born" at this point.

According to the Pentagon, the whole "military bases are US soil" thing is a myth. If that were true, we'd see pregnant women rushing to Embassy parking lots to give birth. Foreign nationals who are born on US army bases are not on "us soil" and do not qualify for citizenship. It's irrelevant that Panama had a special legal status - McCain's parents were both American citizens, and that's it. McCain could have been born with his parents on vacation in Bermuda, and he would still be a citizen. One of my best friends had a daughter in Paris, and once she's 35 and has lived in the US for 14 years, she will be qualified to be President.

Apparently, this concept dates back to English Common Law, which stipulated that children of ambassadors living outside England were "natural born subjects." link

QUOTE
all children, born out of the king's ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain.


Thanks for the insight. Just to be clear, if GI Joe were to be stationed in South Korea, and he met Mama San, and the two of them were married and had a child together, the child would have to be at least 19 years old and have lived in the United States for ten years before the child is considered a natural born citizen. Right? Does the same apply if GI Joe and Mama San don't get married? This is the issue that our Founding Fathers could not have predicted. This is where an arguement could become one for precendence.
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VDemosthenes
post Feb 29 2008, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE(scubatim @ Feb 29 2008, 09:53 AM) *
Would this be true if only one of the parents were American citizens? I have found that many American GIs that get stationed overseas as single men, come back to the states with a wife from that country, and sometimes a kid. Where is the line drawn for those that are born outside the borders of the country? If a GI is stationed in South Korea, gets married and has a kid in Korea, is that kid natural born citizen? If a GI is stationed in South Korea and doesn't get married, but fathers a child in South Korea, is that child natural born citizen? This slightly veers from the actual issue with Senator McCain, however it is conversations like these that seek precedence. What constitutes natural born citizen? I am not saying that anyone is wrong, I am just taking the conversation to real world possibilities.


Yes, it would. My good friend Robin had an Italian mother and an American father, but she was born on an American cruise liner a month early. The circumstance may be a tad different since a U.S. cruise liner is considering floating U.S. soil. I think the same courtesy extends to John McCain, however, since it was an American locale in which he was reared.

Conservatives believe life begins at conception, so did the deed occur in Panama or in America? That's another way to look at it from the GOP perspective.

If the South Korean-American was born on the U.S. base, yes, s/he would be a natural born citizen regardless of the parents' relationship.
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carlitoswhey
post Feb 29 2008, 04:40 PM
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QUOTE(scubatim @ Feb 29 2008, 10:04 AM) *
Thanks for the insight. Just to be clear, if GI Joe were to be stationed in South Korea, and he met Mama San, and the two of them were married and had a child together, the child would have to be at least 19 years old and have lived in the United States for ten years before the child is considered a natural born citizen. Right? Does the same apply if GI Joe and Mama San don't get married? This is the issue that our Founding Fathers could not have predicted. This is where an arguement could become one for precendence.

Not exactly. You either are born a citizen or you are not; you can't acquire it after a while. As for military babies, I think that this was contemplated - see second-to-last category in the list.

link

QUOTE
(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years: Provided, That any periods of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization as that term is defined in section 288 of title 22 by such citizen parent, or any periods during which such citizen parent is physically present abroad as the dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person
(A) honorably serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, or
(B) employed by the United States Government or an international organization as defined in section 288 of title 22, may be included in order to satisfy the physical-presence requirement of this paragraph. This proviso shall be applicable to persons born on or after December 24, 1952, to the same extent as if it had become effective in its present form on that date; and


QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Feb 29 2008, 10:32 AM) *
Yes, it would. My good friend Robin had an Italian mother and an American father, but she was born on an American cruise liner a month early. The circumstance may be a tad different since a U.S. cruise liner is considering floating U.S. soil. I think the same courtesy extends to John McCain, however, since it was an American locale in which he was reared.

Conservatives believe life begins at conception, so did the deed occur in Panama or in America? That's another way to look at it from the GOP perspective.

If the South Korean-American was born on the U.S. base, yes, s/he would be a natural born citizen regardless of the parents' relationship.


Respectfully, you are just wrong about the US cruise ship (which probably flies a Panamanian or Liberian flag anyway) and the Korean military base. The only place you find US soil is in the US.

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VDemosthenes
post Feb 29 2008, 04:43 PM
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QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 29 2008, 11:40 AM) *
Respectfully, you are just wrong about the US cruise ship (which probably flies a Panamanian or Liberian flag anyway) and the Korean military base. The only place you find US soil is in the US.


I'm not wrong. Her birth certificate, social security card, all official documents give the legal impression that she is natural born. It can be taken up with the State Department, but she is a legal American citizen because the precedent has been that all children born on American-holdings or American Armed Forces institutions are under the protection of the United States Constitution- thereby making it U.S. soil.
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carlitoswhey
post Feb 29 2008, 04:46 PM
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QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Feb 29 2008, 10:43 AM) *
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 29 2008, 11:40 AM) *
Respectfully, you are just wrong about the US cruise ship (which probably flies a Panamanian or Liberian flag anyway) and the Korean military base. The only place you find US soil is in the US.


I'm not wrong. Her birth certificate, social security card, all official documents give the legal impression that she is natural born. It can be taken up with the State Department, but she is a legal American citizen because the precedent has been that all children born on American-holdings or American Armed Forces institutions are under the protection of the United States Constitution- thereby making it U.S. soil.

Again, with respect, I linked the applicable regulations, which made no reference whatsoever to being on ships or bases. (They do refer to 'outlying possessions' but that means Puerto Rico, Samoa, etc. If you say "I'm not wrong," perhaps you could extend the same courtesy and provide some evidence?

This post has been edited by carlitoswhey: Feb 29 2008, 04:48 PM
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