Thursday, August 13, 2020
As KitJ posted on ImmigrationProf blog yesterday, VP candidate Kamala Harris the child of two immigrants. The revelation revitalized questions about her eligiblity to be VP and President, if she were to succeed Joe Biden. The upshot: yes, she is eligible. AP provides this straightforward explanation:
CLAIM: If Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his running mate she will not be eligible to serve as president because her mother is from India and her father is from Jamaica. That means, if Biden is unable to serve a full term as president, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would be next in line to become president.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat who represents California, is a natural-born U.S. citizen who is eligible to serve as president. Her parents were graduate students in the United States when Harris was born in Oakland, California. Since Oakland is in the U.S., Senator Harris is regarded a natural born citizen under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that "all persons born...in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens." The national origins of her parents at the time of her birth on U.S. oil does not make a difference to her eligiblity, per the 1898 Supreme Court case US v. Wong Kim Ark.
The broader context for the challenges to birthright citizenship recalls President Trump's allusions to limiting birthright citizenship to the children of permanent residents and his earlier unsubstantiated attacks on President Obama's eligiblity for citizenship as the child of another immigrant.