Jamie Freeze Baird
December 22, 2009
Facts are stubborn things: Obama is a natural-born citizen
By Jamie Freeze Baird

I never will forget meeting former North Carolina State Senator Hugh Webster my senior year of high school. He came to my school and had lunch with the seniors. As he sat down beside me, I asked him to tell me what he most loved and hated about being in Raleigh. I don't remember what he most loved, but I'll never forget what he most hated. In the words of Mr. Webster, "I don't deal well with incompetent people."

At that point, I knew Mr. Webster and I were kindred spirits. I too don't deal well with incompetent people. As a matter of fact, I go out of my way to avoid them, but when dealing with them is inevitable, I can't help but point out their incompetencies. As a law student, I am being trained to be meticulous, well-reasoned, and intelligent. After my final exam grades come back, we'll see how well I'm doing. But that aside, I feel that I have been too longsuffering in letting the Birther Movement receive simply a few caustic remarks and jabs from me. It's time for me to call a spade a spade. Here goes: If you believe that President Obama is NOT a natural-born citizen, then you are an incompetent idiot who is probably watching Glenn Beck while wearing a tin-foil hat. You probably think Obama's a Muslim too.

If you are still reading (and not firing off angry emails), then allow me to offer you factual proof that Obama is a natural-born citizen who satisfies the constitutional requirements for Commander-in-Chief. My argument is two-fold: 1. Obama was born in Hawaii (a U.S. state for my incompetent readers). 2. Obama satisfies the requirements found in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which defines natural-born citizens.

1. Obama was born in Hawaii. Hawaii joined the Union in 1959. Barack Obama was born in 1961. Do the math. It works. Ok, so perhaps that argument is a bit over-simplified, but that is because I find the birth certificate question so ridiculous. The President released his birth certificate (which was verified by the Hawaii Health Department) yet conspiracy theorists refuse to see logic. "Big bad Obama must be hiding something. That certificate isn't the long form. What's he hiding?" What the naysayers fail to realize is that in 1961 the standard Hawaiian birth certificate was...wait for it...exactly the same length as Obama's! The Hawaiian Health Department has said this, but as conspiracy theorists point out, they must be covering for Obama. Despite the facts, folks say that even if he was born in Hawaii, he is not a natural born citizen because his father was Kenyan. However, even if Obama was born on the moon, he would still be a natural born citizen under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

2. Obama is a natural born citizen. In Scales v. INS, 232 F.3d 1159 (2000), we have a clear definition of what natural born citizenship is. Scales' father was an American serviceman stationed in the Philippines where he met Scales' mother. They married despite the fact that Scales' mother was pregnant with him at the time. In all probability, the court said, Scales was a product of his mother's previous relationship. However, he was born after Mr. Scales married his mother, and he was treated as Scales' son. Later, Scales was facing deportation because of an aggravated felony involving drugs. He challenged his deportation saying he was a natural born citizen. The court determined that natural born citizenship depends on the statute in effect at the time of the child's birth. Since Scales was born in 1977, he was a natural born citizen because a "person shall be a national and citizen of the United States at birth who is 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 ten years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years." Id. at 1169; see 8 U.S.C. 1401(a)(7) (1976). Therefore, Scales was a natural born citizen despite the following: having been born in a foreign country, having been born to a non-citizen, having his American father later deny paternity (and prove non-paternity), and having claimed to be a citizen of the Philippines. Sounds like it is difficult to get rid of natural born citizenship. Let's examine Barack Obama's citizenship.

Obama's citizenship will be determined under the 1952 version of the Immigration and Nationality Act since he was born in 1961 and the Act wasn't updated again until 1966. According to 301(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (66 Stat. 235), "a person born in an outlying possession of the United States of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such person [is a natural born citizen]." According to 305 of the same statute, any person born in Hawaii on or after April 30, 1900 was to be considered a natural born citizen. Obama's mother was a citizen of the United States, and his father was a citizen of Kenya. They were married six months before Obama was born. There is no doubt that Obama's mother resided in the United States or its possessions for at least one year prior to Obama's birth. Therefore, Obama can't be anything other than a natural born citizen. Combine this detail with his birth in an American State, you have a certified natural born citizen.

Facts are stubborn things. They refuse to go away just because people disagree with them or wish they'd go away. The Birther Movement is a stubborn thing too. It refuses to go away even when proven wrong. It is appalling that the myth of Obama's non-citizenship is allowed to flourish given that a simple search in LexisNexis of "natural born citizen" pulled up all of the relevant case law and statutes. You don't even have to be a lawyer to understand it! However, I learned a long time ago that most people are sheep they'd rather regurgitate something they've heard rather than doing their own research. And the old adage is true: if you say something often enough, people will believe it. For once let's say the truth often enough and hope people believe it. Let's forget about conspiracy theories and focus on the real issue: Obama's policies. After all, I don't deal well with incompetent people.

© Jamie Freeze Baird

 

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Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.

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