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The Hatch Amendment

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posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:27 PM
In 2003, Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah) proposed an amendment to the constitution to allow foreign born citizens of the U.S. run for president.

July 10, 2003
Mr. HATCH introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for 20 years.

`SECTION 1. A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for 20 years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President, is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States.

`SECTION 2. This article shall not take effect unless it has been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States not later than 7 years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.'. has a list of the top five misconceptions about the proposed amendment, and a short list of both republicans and democrats who support it. So far it has only made it the congressional hearing phase, which happened in 2004.

Basically, this amendment would allow any person who had been a naturalized citizen of the United States for more than 20 years run for president. It has been said that no person should be able to become president if they weren't born here because of the potential conflict of interests. Others say that the founding fathers themselves were immigrants and would not have wanted to prevent other immigrants from running our country.

So what does everyone think? Is it a good idea to allow someone born in a different country run ours? If they have gone through all the proper channels to become a US citizen, and have been here for 20 years, are they still less "American" than someone born here? Or do they deserve the same rights as anyone else in our country, including the right to run for president? I would also like to point out that naturalized citizens can still run for and be elected to any other office in the country except president or vice president.

Maximizing Voter Choice: Opening the Presidency to Naturalized Americans
Library of Congress - Status
Library of Congress - The Amendment
Senator Hatch's speech

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 04:41 AM
I have no problem with amending the Constitution to allow naturalized citizens to run for elected office, up to and including the oval one. However, there should be a certain amount of time after naturalization occurs before they can run. Doesn't mean they can't be involved in the political scene, just not run for elected office. This would allow them time to acclimate to the political scene, learning its ins and outs before being elected to an office at whatever level. Does this make sence? I know what I am trying to say, but at 230 in the morning, not sure my brain is working on all cylinders.

[edit on 17-7-2006 by seagull]

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 10:29 AM
Yeah, I get what you're trying to say and I agree. I don't have any problems with it either. If they have taken the time to actually immigrate the correct way (meaning legally) and have become naturalized then as far as I'm concerned they are Americans. I'm not sure how the process works, but I'd imagine it's a lengthy one to go through. I highly doubt someone would go through all that trouble just to try and mess our country over when they got into office. I think being naturalized for 20+ years is enough to give them time to learn about how are political offices are supposed to work.

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 11:57 AM
I know this is going to sound very paranoid, very unPC, etc, but I simply do not believe that it is in America's best interest to have foreign elected officials.
My rationale does go a bit further than simple questions of loyalty though.

Consider the fact that most people in a position to take political office are very well off. Self made men are the exception, not the rule, among US Presidents. This raises the distinct possibility that a foreign-born president would have substantial financial interests, not merely personal ties/loyalties, outside of America.

It's bad enough having an administration that bows to American defense contractors and oil companies. Do you want an administration that bows to GERMAN defense contractors or SAUDI oil companies?

At the end of the day though, my big concern is that we are dealing with someone from an at least slightly different culture whose deeper personality may or may not be at odds with the general position in America on some issues. Certain things are basically a given in America. There are certain dichotomies that most people fit onto one side or the other of because thats how the issue is popularly defined. The dichotomies are not necessarily the same abroad, and this means that a position we think we agree with can have subtle but important differences in terms of what it is or is not mutually exlusive to.

Then of course there's the easiest question: why? Got anybody in mind Mr. Hatch? Or after all of these years, has it suddenly just occurred to us, hey, what if some day there is a foreigner who should be president?

If Hatch has somebody in mind, my answer is no. Arnie can't be president. I'll die. I'm not saying that as a metaphor. I will break into tears at such an alarming rate that I will become dehydrated and expire in only a matter of minutes.

If Hatch doesn't have somebody in mind, my obvious answer is that the amendment can wait. I'm not opening the door to some jerk sight unseen.

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 12:30 PM

Originally posted by The Vagabond
Then of course there's the easiest question: why? Got anybody in mind Mr. Hatch? Or after all of these years, has it suddenly just occurred to us, hey, what if some day there is a foreigner who should be president?

If Hatch doesn't have somebody in mind, my obvious answer is that the amendment can wait. I'm not opening the door to some jerk sight unseen.

That is a good question, and I'm ashamed of myself for not thinking about that. (I tend to trust to easily, it's a character flaw I'm working on.) I'm not sure that he does have someone in mind. There was another similar amendment that was proposed in 2000 by Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.). The status on it is the same as the status on Hatch's proposed amendment.

I don't know if they are both trying to get the same person into the White House, or if they are just thinking ahead. There are potential risks with this amendment, but I think we take the same risks regardless of whether it's an American in the White House or if it's someone who was born in a different country. There's still always the risk, and usually the reality, that the president might be swayed by whoever can pay him the most. We'll never get rid of that risk regardless of who is actually holding the title of President.

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