Kamala Harris does not fall into the groups—Native Americans and children of diplomats–that the Fourteenth Amendment’s clause “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States was meant to exclude. The new birther argument about Harris instead centers on her parents’ immigration status when she was born. It contends, I think, that unless her parents were lawful permanent U.S. residents at her birth, and not just here on student visas or some other status or here illegally, she is not a citizen. According to this new theory, the Fourteenth Amendment requires a person when born to be subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States. We can debunk this position: this is not in the text of the Constitution; it is a logically incomprehensible proposition: and the most apposite Supreme Court case held against it.
But I don’t want to debunk the theory. Instead, I want to give birthers their due and take it seriously and apply it to Donald J. Trump. Let’s ask the truly important question: Is Trump a natural born citizen?
Trump’s mother Mary Ann MacLeod Trump was born May 10, 1912, in Scotland. Supposedly, she supposedly obtained a visa to come to the United States in 1930. (Have you seen that visa? In our history, many people not from primitive toilet countries have come here illegally. Get on it, birthers.) However, she apparently went back and forth between Scotland and the United States several times in the 1930s and remained at least sentimentally attached to her homeland all her life. MacLeod married Fred Trump in 1936, and reports say that she was naturalized on March 10, 1942, in Brooklyn. (Have you seen those naturalization documents? Have you seen the long form naturalization papers? Get on it, birthers.) People do lie about being naturalized or at least Trumps do. Fred and Mary Ann Trump reported on the 1940 census that she was naturalized when she was not. (Why did they lie about this? What were they hiding? Get on it, birthers.)
Donald Trump was supposedly born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York, but have you seen that birth certificate? Reports say that his mother “returned to her home area in Scotland often during the course of her life.” (She declined to speak English there as if she was a foreign agent.) Is it possible that Donald was actually born in Scotland on one of her, as far as we know, secret trips to the Hebrides? Birthers, have you looked for birth records in the U.K. to see if Trump was born there?
Of course, birthers should not accept that Trump’s mother was a citizen when he was born until those authenticated and not forged naturalization papers are produced and it is explained why the parents lied about the naturalization. (Was the naturalization, if it did occur, a product of fraud?) If those unproduced records show that the mother was naturalized in 1942, she was a U.S. citizen when Donny was born, but if we accept the contentions about K. Harris, both parents would have to be citizens or permanent residents to make the child subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States when born. What about Trump’s father?
Standard sources say the president’s papa was born in New York City, but Donald J. Trump is not a standard kind of guy. At least three times the president has said that his daddy was born in Germany. Birthers should take Trump at his word about his ancestry. Surely, you don’t think that he would ever, ever say anything that was not true. Clearly, then, the important issue becomes whether der Vater was a citizen or at least a permanent resident when the Trumpster was born. Birthers, demand that the president produce the immigration and naturalization records of his old man. If he can’t, and I for one am quite confident that he cannot, then the conclusion must be that Trump’s father was here illegally and that he was neither a citizen nor a permanent resident when the wunderkind was born. Birthers, show that you are not just racists and also want to make sure white people are eligible to be president. Show that you are not just right wing loonies but want to check on the bona fides of all candidates even if they are right wing loonies. Start checking, and you might find, that by your logic, Trump is not a natural born citizen and cannot be president.
Who out there knows anything about the birth of Mike Pence?