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calendar   Saturday - April 28, 2012

More Jus Than OJ

Marco Rubio: Natural Born Citizen




Oh Lord, here we go again. It seems that some folks think that Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio might be on the short list for Mitt Romney’s choice of Vice Presidental candidate. So naturally the LLL (Lunatic Loser Left) is trying to disqualify the guy, crowing that he isn’t eligible because he isn’t a Natural Born Citizen. Golly, didn’t we go through this crap TWICE with John McCain? And hasn’t the LLL and the MSM spent more than 3 years now lambasting those sicko Birthers on the Right for trying to make the same case against Obama, even when their claim may be far more valid? That’s why I dug up the “LLL” term, one that we used to use way back in the day when McAmnesty was running the first time around.

Ok, I live under a rock apparently. I was completely unaware that such a movement to discredit Marc Rubio existed. But GOP author, historian, and public speaker Michael Zak wasn’t, and he emailed me a link to his latest essay over at Human Events where he says Rubio is Natural Born, and urges the Republican party to get past such allegations and get behind this probable VP candidate. Unfortunately he uses the “Chester A. Arthur was president, so it’s Ok for Rubio too” approach, which any child can immediately see as the standard Mom pitch of “If all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge ...”. I’m not sure the debate over Arthur’s Natural Born-ness is over yet, and he was president over 125 years ago.

I have to disagree in part with Mr. Zak. We’ve exchanged several emails on the subject. Nice and cordial, as is our wont. No reason to be act like deranged Democrats. And reading his responses has caused me to look a bunch of things up, and to reform my opinion. That’s what healthy debate should be, right?

Marco Rubio’s parents came from Cuba. They did not become American Citizens until a few years after he was born. Marco was born in Miami. So, is he thus a Natural Born citizen, or even a citizen at all? That question does relate to the whole Birther thing, but more importantly it relates to the bigger Anchor Baby thing.

Zak feels that the language of the 14th Amendment grants instant citizenship to Marco on his birth. This is what lawyers call the Jus Soli viewpoint; being On The Soil is all that is necessary. [ as opposed to jus sanguinis, citizenship from the parents ] Being rather a Strict Constructionist myself, I countered that the 14th clearly does not say that at all, what with the “subject to jurisdiction” clause. I backed up that view with excerpts from the Congressional Record, which contain the explanation of the Senator who wrote the citizenship clause to the 14th Amendment when it was first being debated (lower half of center column) wherein he specifically says that this does not apply to foreigners who just happen to be here.

I could have linked to several Ann Coulter essays where she says pretty much the same thing:

The very author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, expressly said: “This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.”

Zak’s response was that it didn’t matter so much what the Senator meant, the opinions of everyone else mattered more. This left me a bit non-plussed, sitting there with my head tilted to one side the way your dog looks at you when he can’t figure out what on earth you’re doing, making sounds like Scooby-Doo. This is the scene from Rodney Dangerfield’s movie Back to School where the professor flunks him for his paper on Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House, which he had hired Kurt Vonnegut to write, and tells him “whoever wrote this paper doesn’t know the first thing about Vonnegut.” Harrooo?

So I took a different approach. Rubio’s parents came from Cuba, and he was born here in 1971. I had heard his parents only became citizens 4 years after he was born. Cuba, 1971: it was natural to assume his folks were refugees.

Back in 1885 the Supreme Court reached a decision in the United States v. Wong Kim Ark case, which effectively (and rather retroactively) granted citizenship at birth to that person based on the 14th Amendment AND his parent’s status of Permanent Resident, their current employment, and their having a permanent place to live (domicile). Ah ha.

The Cuban Refugee Act of 1966 gave permanent resident status to all Cuban exiles. [ except later for Elián González ] So if his folks had escaped the Bearded One, then Wong Kim Ark ought to apply, right? Well yes, but then again, no. Rubio’s parents were not exiles in the normal sense. Even though Marco has spoken about the plight of the Cubanos in Florida, and shown solidarity with their movement, it turns out that - to his own surprise! - he isn’t really one of them. His parents came over here in 1956, before Castro came to power. So while he grew up with them, he wasn’t legally part of that group, even though he thought he was. But his parents were legal residents, permanent ones. Heck, his grandfather, an emigre, used to go back and forth between Cuba and Florida all the time, and only got in trouble for it once. Things were a bit different in those days! So the refugee angle doesn’t work.

But the permanent resident angle does. I’m pretty sure. Someone with better knowledge of the world of the Green Card please correct me, but I’m fairly sure that the child of permanent legal residents becomes an American citizen at birth. By pure jus soli and by only a small stretching of jus sanguinis, because of the domicile aspect of Wong Kim Ark. And that makes Marc Rubio a properly Natural Born citizen. And Michael Zak has arrived at the right conclusion by almost the right path. Good enough for me, and I hope he accepts my Wong refinement as right. [ ooh, I just missed that oh so tempting little landmine!! grin ]

On the other hand, if I am wrong about the children born here of legal residents, then Marco Rubio should be passed by for the VP slot. Find someone else. We had enough of this mess with the fallacy of the John McCain situation, twice. And - justified or not, and I lean to the justified side - the Birther situation with Obama has been 100 times as divisive. I’d really like to get past that with our next crop of leaders. What would really help would be a clear statement from the Supremes on just who is and who ain’t Natural Born. The 14th Amendment has already suffered more than any other Amendment, being nearly gutted by Slaughter House Cases amongst others. While I would dearly love to see it revert - at least in this citizenship clause aspect - to it’s original intent, I’d be happy with a clear interpretation of any kind at this point from them there black robes. And failing that, I’d want to see the people running for the nation’s highest offices to be 3rd, 4th, or greater generation Americans, just so we don’t have to fall down in this puddle every 4 years. I think we can all agree on that one. Wet shoes are such a bother. [ ooh, I sidestepped another one!! ]


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/28/2012 at 12:03 PM   
Filed Under: • Illegal-Aliens and ImmigrationPoliticsRepublicans •  
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