Political Myth: If it could be proven that President Obama was born outside the Untied States, he would then be ineligible to hold the office of President of the United States.
Reality: Even if he had been born in Kenya, he would still be eligible.
Since he first became a serious candidate for President of the United States, Barrack Obama has been plagued by allegations that he was born, not in Hawaii as he, his birth certificate, his two published birth announcements, and the Hawaii Department of Vital Records state, but Kenya. Save for a small number of its most dedicated adherents, the “birther” movement has largely lost popular support, and most of its claims have been addressed elsewhere and need not be re-addressed here. But one thing that has gotten very little attention is the “birthers'” underlying assumption that if President Obama was born in Kenya, then he would automatically be ineligible to be President of the United States.
Article II § 1 Cl. 5 of the U.S. Constitution says, in applicable part:
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.
The original Constitution did not attempt to define what a “natural born Citizen” was, leaving the task to Congress. Congress then passed the Naturalization Act of 1790, which said, in applicable part, “the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided that the right of citizenship shall not extend to persons whose fathers had never been resident in the United States.” The laws that govern nationality have been revised many times since then, with the most notable revision being the Nationality Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires, as an irreducible minimum, that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” But, the Supreme Court made it clear long before Obama’s candidacy that even after the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified Congress retained the power to provide for natural born citizenship in cases not covered by the Fourteenth Amendment:
There are “two sources of citizenship, and two only: birth and naturalization.” United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 702 (1898). Within the former category, the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees that every person “born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, becomes at once a citizen of the United States, and needs no naturalization.” 169 U.S., at 702. Persons not born in the United States acquire citizenship by birth only as provided by Acts of Congress. Id., at 703.
The Act of Congress that’s currently in effect dealing with who acquires citizenship at birth says, in applicable part:
The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:
(a) a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof;
* * *
(g) a person 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 five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.
Since even the “birthers” themselves do not dispute that Barrack Obama’s mother was a citizen of the United States who met the requirements stated above, he would be a “natural born citizen” even if he had been born in Kenya (or, anywhere else).