Obama: American citizenship “not a matter of blood or birth”

posted at 12:55 pm on July 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Well, actually, it is a matter of birth, at least, in the sense of natural-born citizenship.  The Fourteenth Amendment makes that all too clear, which is why the issue of “anchor babies” has been part of the immigration debate for the last several years.  Those opposed to that reading of the Constitution might like what Barack Obama had to say about it in his widely-anticipated speech on immigration today (click the picture to watch):

“Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith,” President Obama declared at a speech he gave on immigration.

Obama also blamed “resentment” to new immigrants to poor economic conditions.

“Now, we can’t forget that this process of immigration and eventual inclusion has often been painful. Each new wave of immigrants has generated fear and resentment towards newcomers, particularly in times of economic upheaval,” Obama said.

We know what Obama meant in this passage — a similarity to those who have expressed the notion that they were Americans before ever setting foot in the US, thanks to their love of liberty.  However, the people expressing that concept came to the US through legal immigration, and didn’t presume to break our laws in order to express their desire to live in freedom.  They understood that the aspirational concept of being American and the legal status of American citizenship (or even residency) are two completely different things.

Besides, if being an American is a matter of faith, then the religion in question is devotion to the rule of law.  We have created the laws by which we live through representative democracy within a framework set by our Constitution.  Breaking the law to get into the country isn’t an expression of faith; using Obama’s construct, it’s actually heresy.

Obama and his open-borders allies attempt to blur the difference between illegal and legal immigration.  Almost no one of consequence opposes the latter.  Everyone of the “faith” of Americanism should insist on enforcing the laws against the former.  Unfortunately, this President — and many of those who have come before him — have proven rather faithless in this task.


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How about a provisional citizenship.

Same illogical poorly thought out or disingenuous position. If the current 20MM illegals get citizenship or a right to stay and get benefits of any kind, what does the next 20MM illegal immigrants to the country get? If the border can not be secured, and they can not be deported, what is stopping another 20MM illegals from entering the country and getting benefits? And then another 20MM, and another 20MM, etc…

ray on July 1, 2010 at 9:40 PM

Glory to ME in the highest….

Fighton03 on July 1, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Excellent

Here’s my take

Goon of hocus pocus

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2010 at 9:48 PM

rukiddingme on July 1, 2010 at 6:32 PM

SCOTUS is wrong.

An 1898 decision, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, held by a vote of 5-4 that a child of legal resident aliens is entitled to birthright citizenship. The Wong Kim Ark decision, however, was based on the mistaken premise that the Fourteenth Amendment adopted the common law system of birthright citizenship. The majority opinion did not explain how subjects were miraculously transformed into citizens within the common law. Justice Gray, writing the majority decision, merely stipulated that “citizen” and “subject” were convertible terms—as if there were no difference between feudal monarchy and republicanism. Indeed, Chief Justice Fuller wrote a powerful dissent in the case arguing that the idea of birthright subjectship had been repealed by the American Revolution and the principles of the Declaration.

Source.

Conservative Samizdat on July 1, 2010 at 9:48 PM

THE MOST DIVIDING RACIST SPEECH EVER GIVEN. Rush Limbaugh tells why he basically says Obama blamed white man and Arizona for making the country more dangerous than played the race card for every person of the past.

Obama:The ink on our Constitution was barely dry when, amidst conflict, Congress passed the alien and sedition acts, which placed harsh restrictions of those suspected of having foreign allegiances. A century ago, immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Poland, other European countries were routinely subjected to rank discrimination and ugly stereotypes. Chinese immigrants were held in detention and deported from Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. They didn’t even get to come in. The politics of who is and who is not allowed to enter this country and on what terms has always been contentious, and that remains true today.

PrezHussein on July 1, 2010 at 9:57 PM

The sooner he expires the better…………….All Hail the Messiah!

dmann on July 1, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Anyone here heard about this; There was another shooting in Juarez, Mexico yesterday, (not news in itself because at least one person is murdered by drug lords everyday there), but several of the bullets, fired from automatic weapons, came right over the border and hit El Paso’s (Texas) City Hall. One of them hit a ninth floor window, flew through the window and landed in a picture frame on the wall of an office, the others lodged into the exterior stucco walls of the building. Our City Hall is about a mile from the border, farther than many other areas and buildings in the city, so it is miraculous that no person was hit. Our Texas AG is livid, and wrote a letter to Obama slamming him and the Federal Government, and demanding that they do something. Here is the link to the article and letter.
http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/97513529.html

Susanboo on July 1, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Hmm what to do, what to do about Mexican Nationals shooting across the border into an American town hall?

Say isn’t there a U.S. Army Base right there? Yes I believe its called Fort Bliss. How about your local town council/City assembly whatever make a nice request to the AMERICAN MILITARY to come out of the base and shoot back at the F%&K$ who are shooting into American Cities?

P.S. My best friend is stationed there, after returning from a 13-month deployment to Iraq. I’m pretty sure he and his friends would be more than happy to fix this little problem you all are having.

SgtSVJones on July 1, 2010 at 10:02 PM

When a president recites Emma Lazarus in a speech on immigration—and recites not merely a fragment or two but virtually the entire length of “the New Colossus”—one is inclined to conclude that his speech was written by someone who has just graduated from high school and has a young head brimming with social studies. This being President Obama, however, one can conclude that he will have written a fair portion of the speech himself, and, in so concluding, one would be struck forcefully by how banal the speech was. It was, if one can say such a thing, the acme of boilerplate, so utterly conventional was it in its narrative of American immigration.

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2010 at 10:05 PM

Did he or did he not swear an oath to defend The Constitution?

Sir Napsalot on July 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Yes, he did. And has forsworn that oath several hundred times. Articles of Impeachment are writing themselves, submitted to Congress January 15, 2011.

Who is John Galt on July 1, 2010 at 10:06 PM

Obama declared America a theocracy today?

Inanemergencydial on July 1, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Obama declared America a theocracy today?

Inanemergencydial on July 1, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Liberals, democrats, and liberal democrats are way cool with that.

Inanemergencydial on July 1, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Let me reiterate: DMFD!!!!

dmann on July 1, 2010 at 10:13 PM

To have this speech before July 4th is just a slap in the face. He just doesn’t get this country.

txmomof6 on July 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM

His formative years were spent at schools in Indonesia. From what, ages 8-17 or so? Beams down in the USA at 19-20, goes to college on ? funds, and status? International or State Resident?

I’d like to know. Throwing out the first pitch proved beyond any doubt this dude wasn’t raised in America.

Everything since that proves he doesn’t like Americans.

Articles of Impeachment Jan, 2011 – “Violating Oath Of Office”.

Who is John Galt on July 1, 2010 at 10:14 PM

We know what Obama meant in this passage

No Ed we do not….keep shillin’ for your daddy!

dmann on July 1, 2010 at 10:27 PM

“Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith,” President Obama declared at a speech he gave on immigration.

..I am sure Bill “Manson was a tuned in dude” Ayers was smiling from ear to ear today.

Baxter Greene on July 1, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Wonder if getting citizenship in the new Confederate States of America or the the Republic of Texas will be that easy?

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 1, 2010 at 1:56 PM

I have connections in Texas, and a DD-214 from San Antonio. so I’m in! Sad to say, this is one of my few positive thoughts each day.

Who is John Galt on July 1, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Actually it’s blood and birth and faith.

kellyjane on July 1, 2010 at 10:52 PM

The border is too vast to enforce?

Why doesn’t Obama ask his Russian buddies how they enforce their borders?

Hell, ask the Mexican President how they enforce their southern border.

jjrakman on July 1, 2010 at 11:03 PM

Say hello to the new Founders.

Virus-X on July 1, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Say hello to WWIII.

Who is John Galt on July 1, 2010 at 11:12 PM

SCOTUS is wrong.
Conservative Samizdat on July 1, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Justice Gray clearly articulates the 14th Amendment was based on common law. He did not just merely stipulate that “citizen” and “subject” were convertible terms.

There is, therefore, little ground for the theory that, at the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, there as any settled and definite rule of international law, generally recognized by civilized nations, inconsistent with the ancient rule of citizenship by birth within the dominion.

As to the issue raised by the author of your source regarding “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, Justice Gray said this:

It is impossible to construe the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in the opening sentence, as less comprehensive than the words “within its jurisdiction” in the concluding sentence of the same section; or to hold that persons “within the jurisdiction” of one of the States of the Union are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.”

Indeed, Chief Justice Fuller wrote a powerful dissent in the case arguing that the idea of birthright subjectship had been repealed by the American Revolution and the principles of the Declaration.

Justice Gray wrote a powerful argument for the majority opinion that birthright citizenship can be traced throughout court cases of the United States back to the Founding. In turn, the opinions of those cases can be traced back to Calvin’s Case of 1608.

Here is my source.

rukiddingme on July 1, 2010 at 11:45 PM

“Daddy, I don’t like America because most of the citizens don’t like you according to the polls. Does that mean I am NOT American, Daddy?

miron on July 2, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Teleprompter in Chief can’t read, again.

…the speech also relied heavily on sentimentality, most of all when Obama closed with the story of Emma Lazarus, and the sonnet she wrote for the Statue of Liberty, “The New Colossus.” It was a moving finish, despite Obama incorrectly reciting the famous line as “yearning to be free” instead of “yearning to breathe free.”

Schadenfreude on July 2, 2010 at 12:49 AM

SCOTUS disagrees.

rukiddingme on July 1, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Wong Kim Ark is based on a flawed premise about the 14th Amendment and not consistent with the Founders nor the drafter’s intent of how citizenship is determined.

Here’s a good explanation:

There is no Supreme Court decision squarely holding that children of illegal aliens are automatically citizens of the U.S. An 1898 decision, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, held by a vote of 5-4 that a child of legal resident aliens is entitled to birthright citizenship.

The Wong Kim Ark decision, however, was based on the mistaken premise that the Fourteenth Amendment adopted the common law system of birthright citizenship. The majority opinion did not explain how subjects were miraculously transformed into citizens within the common law.

Justice Gray, writing the majority decision, merely stipulated that “citizen” and “subject” were convertible terms—as if there were no difference between feudal monarchy and republicanism.

Indeed, Chief Justice Fuller wrote a powerful dissent in the case arguing that the idea of birthright subjectship had been repealed by the American Revolution and the principles of the Declaration.

Source.

Conservative Samizdat on July 2, 2010 at 1:16 AM

SCOTUS disagrees.

rukiddingme on July 1, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Wong Kim Ark is based on a flawed premise about the 14th Amendment and not consistent with the Founders nor the drafter’s intent of how citizenship is determined.

Here’s a good explanation:

The Wong Kim Ark decision, however, was based on the mistaken premise that the Fourteenth Amendment adopted the common law system of birthright citizenship. The majority opinion did not explain how subjects were miraculously transformed into citizens within the common law.

Source.

Conservative Samizdat on July 2, 2010 at 1:18 AM

It’s certainly clear that the Constitution has been completely put out of their minds, just like the Bible is to Allahpundit. This place will burn down before 2012 ever gets here.

leftnomore on July 2, 2010 at 4:19 AM

“Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith, and a fake Hawaiian COLB”

Ahhhhh. Now we see why he thinks he is eligible to be POTUS under Article II.

Mr Purple on July 2, 2010 at 5:09 AM

Can we please have a caption contest on this?
Schadenfreude on July 1, 2010 at 2:50 PM

That photo is idolatrous and offensive. The lengths to which members of the MSM go to construct their hagiography for Jug-Eared Jesus far outstrips anything Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl did for Hitler and the Nazis. AP photographer Charles Dharapak had to position himself ahead of time to catch this and I wouldn’t put surprised if The Won had been coached to make the pose. It’s disgusting.

ya2daup on July 2, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Obama is dead wrong:
“*Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith*”
Obama is dead wrong:

Born and raised in the UK and married to an American, I am proud of our shared heritage, but regardless of which route my roots took the seed germinated in Great Britain. I became a naturalized American many years after moving permanently to the USA….. believe me people it isn’t easy to raise your hand and renounce your birthplace and swear allegience to your new homeland no matter how happy you are living in it and to be perfectly honest I was quite happy being a Brit. living in America.

As I watched in horror and disbelief 9/11 my initial reaction was ‘What made these scum do that to my country, they lived amongs us, most likely helped and made welcome as they learn to fly planes and kill us’ It was at that moment I realized I had become an American in my heart and made the decision to apply for naturalization, I am still a born and bred Brit. nothing is ever going to change that but I am an true blue American.

Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it is not a matter of faith, it is what is in your heart, it is a commitment to be true and faithful to a promise taken willingly with purity of heart….
The oath of allegiance to the United States of America
…that is what being an American is.
.

philly_PA on July 2, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Throwing out the first pitch proved beyond any doubt this dude wasn’t raised in America as a boy.

Who is John Galt on July 1, 2010 at 10:14 PM

FIFY!

TugboatPhil on July 2, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Wong Kim Ark is based on a flawed premise about the 14th Amendment and not consistent with the Founders nor the drafter’s intent of how citizenship is determined.

Conservative Samizdat on July 2, 2010 at 1:16 AM

This point has been addressed with my first response here.

Repeating the same point from your source does not make your source more correct.

Read the opinion (linked as my source in my response), it is the basis of my response.

Should you choose not to read the opinion, I leave you with this:

“It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth however derives its force sometimes from place and sometimes from parentage, but in general place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States; it will therefore be unnecessary to investigate any other.”

James Madison, The Founders’ Constitution Volume 2, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 2, Document 6 (1789)

rukiddingme on July 2, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Obama: American citizenship “not a matter of blood or birth”

I think Mikey Monsoor would disagree…

Seven Percent Solution on July 1, 2010 at 9:36 PM

I think so too. If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes I don’t know what will.

Gang-of-One on July 2, 2010 at 10:03 AM

There is no Supreme Court decision squarely holding that children of illegal aliens are automatically citizens of the U.S. An 1898 decision, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, held by a vote of 5-4 that a child of legal resident aliens is entitled to birthright citizenship.

Ark’s parents were deemed illegal aliens due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Justice Gray said this:

The Fourteenth Amendment, while it leaves the power where it was before, in Congress, to regulate naturalization, has conferred no authority upon Congress to restrict the effect of birth, declared by the Constitution to constitute a sufficient and complete right to citizenship.

rukiddingme on July 2, 2010 at 10:11 AM

And Øbama actually taught Constitutional law! Amazing! I’m not a “birther”, but birthers are no more kooky than Øbama and his notion of citizenship and the constitution.
cartooner on July 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Can anybody find a student?

ProudPalinFan on July 2, 2010 at 10:52 AM

At the end of each presidency, there are pardons. Whats to stop him from pardoning the illegals at the end of his?

aceinstall on July 2, 2010 at 10:54 AM

Citizenship is a matter of LAW. Just another slimey perversion.

LarryG on July 2, 2010 at 11:02 AM

We know what Obama meant in this passage — a similarity to those who have expressed the notion that they were Americans before ever setting foot in the US, thanks to their love of liberty.

Unless that was sarcasm, I’m going to have to say “Nope.” This is a poke at everyone who still wonders about the secrecy behind the president’s personal history. The personal history regarding his college transcripts, complete health records and yes, even his birth certificate, that he has so far been able to keep secret and away from public scrutiny.

(I, personally, think he was adopted by Soetoro which explains the name used in Indonesia and which means he, Obama, probably doesn’t have access to that original bc due to adoption privacy laws of the time. That doesn’t mean I think he is ineligible for office, just not forthright with his past or his legal name.)

Fallon on July 2, 2010 at 11:11 AM

“Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith,”

What a sell-out load of nonsense for the sucker liberal bleeding hearts & the Mexican population he’s appealing to for future votes. Let South Americans sneaking into Mexico try to get by with saying that to Mexican authorities, with “Mexico” substituted for “American”. They would laughingly explain that that’s the kind of crap one tries to sell only to the gringo.

Chessplayer on July 2, 2010 at 12:06 PM

This place will burn down before 2012 ever gets here.

leftnomore on July 2, 2010 at 4:19 AM

Right now it’s 50/50 as to which side starts the fire. I’d make the case that “THEY” have been fanning a small coal for decades and the critical point is here where it suddenly bursts into a bonfire conflagration. Past the “Tipping Point”, if you will.

So, “THEY” started it. Neener Neener Neener!

Who is John Galt on July 2, 2010 at 11:54 PM

“Being an American is not a matter of 1.) blood or 2.) birth, it’s 3.) a matter of faith,” President Obooba declared at a speech he gave on immigration.

So Obooba fails on all three counts.

Akzed on July 3, 2010 at 8:56 AM

I am an Australian citizen. Using Vattel’s definition of Natural born citizen, I am a Natural Born Citizen of Australia. My parents and my grandparents, through to my great-grandparents were born in Australia. My ancestors migrated from Scotland, England, Ireland and Saxony (located in East Germany). One of my great-great grandmothers got a one way ticket to HobartTown in Van Dieman’s Land (Hobart, Tasmania) because she stole some clothing. Her husband, my great-great grandfather, was an Irishman and a soldier in the 49th Foot Brigade of England (yet he was not involved in the skirmish at the Eureka Stockade).

In Australia, outside of those who came on a one-way ticket to the colonies, there was an influx of immigrants from all over the world when gold was discovered. Australia suffered from a form of racism on the gold-fields when there were riots against the Chinese (who worked hard when others gave up). The end result of such events was our White Australia policy where we deliberately kept out mass Asian immigrants.

After the second world war my mother’s sister was amongst those war brides and fiancees who sailed to the USA to be with their loved ones. As a result I have 7 cousins (2 are deceased) who were born to an Australian mother and a Mexican-American father. My cousins are not NBC even if they are Native Born because they were born on the soil. However, I could not imagine my cousins behaving in such a disloyal fashion as the man who was elected to be POTUS. They would be loyal Americans first and I doubt that they have Australian citizenship anyway.

During 1984-85 I lived in the USA – in Fairborn Ohio. This was during the Reagan era. The overall environment was politically stable. I had a great time and it was an interesting experience. Last year I returned to the USA and stayed there for the whole of July. There was a very different feel about the place.

Having studied American history I am appalled that the man who is now POTUS was ever allowed on the ballot in the first place. The man is totally clueless. Not only will I be prepared to call myself a birther, because I believe that he should provide such information, but I think that he needs to release ALL of his records, just like GWB, Clinton and others released their records for public scrutiny.

GWB for example earned a Masters of Business from Harvard. So what if he did not get top marks. He still showed that he is very intelligent by getting that Masters Degree in the first place.

There is absolutely no evidence provided to back up the “intelligence” statements about Dufus in the White House.

I find the comments from POTUS about citizenship to be absolutely appalling. I am speaking as an outsider, and as one who has relatives in the USA. What exactly is he trying to say? It sounds like he is trying to get around his own citizenship issues, especially when the man is at the very least one who had British citizenship at birth, not American citizenship. (His father was a British and Kenyan citizen and only his father could actually confer citizenship because the mother was too young to do so.)

maggieo on July 5, 2010 at 6:13 PM

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