Originally posted by slicobacon
Let me know if I'm wrong here guys, but if someone was born in Germany on a US facility to American parents they are still considered natrual
It has nothing to do being born in US facilities. Military bases abroad are ruled by
s (Status of Forces Agreement). Bases abroad are extra-legal jurisdictions and
are not subject to civil law.
From the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual
Title 8 Section 1401
Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the
United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of
the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.
of the US Code rules who is a citizen of
the US at birth. These are the requirements that matter. Not US facilities.
But, in your example, under current law, yes - a child born to American parents in Germany would be a "natural born" citizen, provided
requirements (such as that at least one of the parents had residence in the US prior to the child's birth -Section 1401(c)).
McCain was born in Panama but was elgible because it was a US facility and his American parents were stationed there.
Again, having been born in a US facility abroad does not influence the citizenship a newborn might get.
In John McCain's case I'm convinced he is not
a "natural born" citizen because when he was born, the Act (of 1934) that ruled the laws of
citizenship were as follow:
Any child hereafter born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, whose father or mother or both at the time of birth of such
child is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States: but the rights of citizenship shall not
descend to any such child unless the citizen father or citizen mother, as the case may be, has resided in the United States previous to the birth of
Why is the declared language important? In the case U.S. v. Wong Kim
Ark, 169 U.S. 649
of 1898, the Supreme Court stated that,
The fourteenth amendment of the constitution, in the declaration that 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside,' contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two
only, birth and naturalization. Citizenship by naturalization can only be acquired by naturalization under the authority and in the
forms of law.
There are only two ways to be a citizen, either at birth (widely understood as "natural born" citizen) or through naturalization.
The Supreme Court, in the same case, explained what naturalization is and how it is done:
A person born out of the jurisdiction of the United States can only become a citizen by being naturalized, either by treaty, as
in the case (...) of the annexation of foreign territory, or by authority of congress, exercised either by declaring certain classes of persons to
be citizens, as in the enactments conferring citizenship upon foreign-born children of citizens, or by enabling foreigners individually to
become citizens by proceedings in the judicial tribunals, as in the ordinary provisions of the naturalization acts.
In 1952, the Immigration and Nationality Act was introduced, and contemplated persons born in the Panama Canal Zone, in
(Title 8 Section 1403
of US Code):
(a) Any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this Act, whose
father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of
the United States.
A provision was created in the Act to specifically contemplate persons born in the Canal Zone, and it declare them - or in other words, naturalize
them - through legislation as US citizens.
This provision alone shows that people born in the Panama Canal Zone until then, weren't contemplated in US code and weren't 'protected' under the
14th Amendment either, otherwise the provision would be useless.
Since John McCain was born in 1936 (effectively on or after February 26, 1904
) and on a Military base - which are not 'protected' under the
14th Amendment - his citizenship comes from Section 303(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (legislation).
Since according to the Supreme Court there are only two ways you can become a citizen, McCain's citizenship wasn't at birth, but rather, from
naturalization ("by authority of congress, exercised either by declaring certain classes of persons to be citizens, as in the enactments
conferring citizenship upon foreign-born children of citizens
The conclusion is that John McCain is not a "natural born" citizen.
It is quite unfair, since under current US Code, the exact same situation would have granted him now
the status of "natural born" citizen, as
it's clear in Title 8 Section 1401(c)
of US Code:
The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth: (...)
(c) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom
has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person;
[edit on 3-12-2008 by danx]