Apr 25 2012

History of the Types of Citizenship in the U.S.

Published by at 1:02 pm under All General Discussions

Since this seems to be a highly debated hot topic issue I decided to provide some history and let the debate be sparked. Due to the legal implications of the definitions of the types of citizens we will be focusing only on the Constitution, US law and SCOTUS cases. We will not be relying on written opinions from non-justices.

The Constitution mentions natural born citizens, naturalized citizens, and citizens.

* Natural born citizens are recognized as “…any child that is born in the United States or one of its territories…” Children born on US soil to diplomats and other recognized foreign government officials will not receive US citizenship. “If you were born in the U.S., your U.S. citizenship will last your entire life unless you make an affirmative action to give it up, like filing an oath.” Title 8 of the US Code lists the circumstances where a person is considered a natural born citizen.

* Naturalized citizens are

A naturalized citizen is a person who was born an alien, but has lawfully become a citizen of the United States under the U.S. Constitution and laws.

A naturalized citizen has all the rights of a natural born citizen, except is not eligible as president or vice-president of the United States.

* Citizen is defined as

• individuals born in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Swain’s Island;

• foreign-born children, under age 18, residing in the U.S. with their birth or adoptive parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization; and

• individuals granted citizenship status by Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).

Under the Constitution natural born citizens and naturalized citizens are US citizens. There are not three types of citizenship, there are two with US citizen being an umbrella category.

Now, on to a review of the Supreme Court cases (details can be found here) mentioning citizenship.

1. US v. Villato, 2 U.S. 370 (1797) –  The Court recognizes natural born and naturalized citizens. Natural born is used in the context of general citizenship

2. Dred Scot v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 19 How. 393 393 (1856) – During the Slaughter-House Cases the Court acknowledged (albeit not officially) that this case was overruled  by the 14th Amendment: “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.”

3. Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 21 Wall. 162 (1874) – The Court “equates ‘native-born’ with ‘natural born’ citizen, in the general citizenship context, referencing Article II’s use of the term ‘natural born.’ It notes varying authority as to whether a person born in the US to noncitizen parents may be a ‘natural born citizen’ – but does not address that issue. What is clear, however, is that the Court recognizes two – and only two – types of citizenship: natural born and naturalized.

4. Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884) – The Court states that there are “…two sources only…” of citizenship – birth and naturalization.

5. United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898) – The Court “equates a ‘born US citizen’ with a ‘natural born American citizen,’ – many times throughout the opinion, finding ultimately that a child born in the US – even if to Chinese subjects – is a US citizen.  Given the context of the full opinion, and the repeated references to the two types of citizenship – natural born and naturalized – the conclusion that Wong Kim Ark was, per the court, a ‘natural born’ US citizen is inescapable.”

6. Luria v. U.S., 231 U.S. 9 (1913) – The Court said:  “Under our Constitution, a naturalized citizen stands on an equal footing with the native citizen in all respects, save that of eligibility to the Presidency.” Once again the Court uses the term “native” interchangeably with “natural.”

7. Kwock Jan Fat v. White, 253 U.S. 454 (1920) – The Court “equates a ‘born US citizen’ with a ‘natural born American citizen,’ and notes that it is undisputed, pursuant to Wong Kim Ark, that a child born in the US – even if to Chinese subjects – is a natural born citizen.

8. Perkins v. Elg, 307 U.S. 325 (1939) – The Court “equates a ‘born US citizen’ with ‘native born’ and ‘natural born’ citizenship.”

9. Baumgartner v. United States, 322 U.S. 665 (1944) –  The Court recognizes natural born and naturalized citizens. Natural born is used in the context of general citizenship.

10. Klapprott v. United States, 335 U.S. 601 (1949) –  The Court recognizes natural born and naturalized citizens. Natural born is used in the context of general citizenship.

11. Schneider v. Rusk, 377 U.S. 163 (1964) – The Court “equates a ‘native born’ citizen with a “natural born” citizen under Article II – and, again, recognizes only two types of citizenship: natural/native-born, and naturalized.”

12. Rogers v. Bellei, 401 U.S. 815 (1971) – The Court ‘equates a “native born’ or ‘born’ citizen with ‘natural born’ citizen status. It is worth noting, however, that the Supreme Court did create a third ‘type’ citizenship – applicable to children born abroad to US citizen parents and that the Supreme Court held that such citizenship was not “constitutional citizenship” protected by the 14th Amendment.”

Emphasis mine. The Supreme Court does not define “native born” and “natural born” differently. Since they set the legal precedence for interpreting the law, then they are interchangeable. Also, means politicians such as Rubio can be President or Vice President in this great country!

Let the debate begin!!


37 responses so far

37 Responses to “History of the Types of Citizenship in the U.S.”

  1. Redteam says:

    Layman, thanks for pointing out the grammar error. ”
    “This is the case we have where clearly Rubio has historically said he isn’t running for VP because he knows he is not eligible,”
    Should have been:
    This is the case we have where clearly Rubio has historically said he isn’t running for VP; he knows he is not eligible

    You did that because I pointed out where you misspelled a word, didn’t you.

    Rubio has numerous problems in addition to the ineligible problem. As you said he’d be a flip-flopper, he supported Obama in the Libya operation putting the terrorists in charge over there. No use beating a dead horse, he wouldn’t help Romney in any way. And Romney needs all the help he can get and I’m definitely supporting him (unless he selects Rubio, then I’m supporting having a vacancy.

  2. Redteam says:

    Okay, I just re-read this one:
    1. Schneider v. Rusk, 377 U.S. 163 (1964) – The Court “equates a ‘native born’ citizen with a “natural born” citizen under Article II – and, again, recognizes only two types of citizenship: natural/native-born, and naturalized.”

    Here is an actual quote from the decision and the only place in the decision that the term ‘natural born’ is used:

    “The only difference drawn by the Constitution is that only the “natural born” citizen is eligible to be President. Art. II, § 1. ”

    In fact, the court is careful to NOT ‘equate’ the two terms and points out, in fact, that they are very distince.
    The court mentions native born and naturalized many times but points out that the requirement to be eligible to be president requires a ‘natural born’ citizen, that is as distinct from their frequent use of the term native born and naturalized.
    If the court considers native born and natural born, why were they particular to point out that the office of president requires ‘natural born’

    As it has been pointed out, if the writers considered all classes of citizens to be equivalent then they would not use different terms for describing different citizens.

  3. Layman says:

    Come on RT, I don’t give a (deleted expletive) about grammar. You twisted Rubio’s words, inserted your own meaning, and now are trying to claim it was only a grammatical slip. Give it up.

  4. Layman says:

    “…then I’m supporting having a vacancy.

    RT: Thought you didn’t hang out at the bar. Smoking something????

  5. lurker9876 says:

    Team Romney is now starting to notice an increase in fundraisers and endorsements since he’s became an obvious shoo-in for the GOP nomindation.

    As long as he does not commit gaffes, he should not have a problems coalescing the evangelicals, conservatives factions, the independents.

    Looks like the Team Romney is prepared to challenge and respond to Obama’s campaign tactics…come hell or high water on the reactions, attacks, and violence from Obama’s favorite supporters.

    Now I know who to vote for in the Texas May 29th primary. :rolleyes. Shame that this May 29th primary has no influence and the decision already made by then. Here’s to hoping that the Texas Democrats will lose more because of their fights against the new redistricting plan.

  6. Layman says:

    Its going to be interesting to see how Romney handles Obama. There are some on our side who only want red meat and Romney will disappoint them. He’s not going to call him a communist or claim he’s an illegitimate President. But on policy he really need to be aggressive and take it to him – call him on the carpet for putting down success and attacking the free markets.

    So far I like what I see. I’m cautiously optimistic.

  7. lurker9876 says:

    Romney should reference to the US Constitution and the founding quotes as part of his aggressive attacks against Obama.

  8. lurker9876 says:

    Romney Team is not going to attakc Obama for being a nice man because people still like him as a person.

  9. jan says:

    It appears that Romney is going to take a high but aggressive road in defining an Obama country versus one run by Romney. I think, like others here, that he is going to side-step the personal hits, which, all unto itself, will differentiate himself from the pettiness of Obama. Like Layman, I like what I see thus far, as well.

  10. Redteam says:

    The last Republican (in name only, same as Romney) that ran as Mr. Nice Guy got annihilated. I don’t want Romney to base his campaign on personal issues and if he sticks to the issues that are the major problems to the country he should do very well. But he can’t be nice, nice guys finish last. McCain proved that. as jan said, “defining an Obama country vs one run by Romney” should be a winning strategy. Now just select Paul Ryan as a running mate and become a shoo-in.

  11. crosspatch says:

    Romney wins the youth vote with “All the Obama loans in the world aren’t going to do you a bit of good if you can’t get a job to pay them off”.

    Romney wins across the board with a Regan strategy of believing in the American people and getting government out of our way. This administration believes American industry is completely inept and can’t do a thing for itself without government guidance like we need a manual from some agency to properly wipe our own rear ends. They believe once they get a position in government, that they are suddenly elevated to super-human intellect or something.

    I would recommend Peggy Noonan’s piece in the Wall St. Journal concerning Obama’s “bush league” administration.

    Romney can win women by showing how he is going to be there for the people of this country and get the wasteful spending under better control. Maybe we might have to reduce some programs a little, but that is going to PRESERVE those programs and make them sustainable so people can count on them being there when they retire or if they fall on hard times. Economic growth means steady jobs for families and a more secure future.

    Romney needs to say “I’m not your “bud”, I am your President and I am not going to try to pretend to be your pal trying to get you to vote for me, I am looking out for your future AFTER you graduate from college. College is only a short period of your life. What then? Obama is playing checkers with your vote, I am playing chess with your future”.

  12. Redteam says:

    Very good CP.

  13. ivehadit says:

    Great post, CP. And I would add that the President of the United States SERVES the people NOT entertains them much less rules over them..ie IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, MR. OBAMA! It’s about US.

    Barack and michelle have been on a joy ride for 4 years, imho and who has paid for that? What did you get for your money?

    It makes me so very sad and sick to see the beautiful space shuttle (on it’s last ride). It represents something that the obama’s will never know: American Exceptionalism and Ingenuity. Imho, they are not of that culture and never will be. Envy, indeed, Peggy Noonan. You hit the nail on the head.

    When will we stop electing democrat presidents who have had such deprivation (and I would add abuse) in their childhoods?

  14. jan says:

    My husband and I watched the space shuttle this morning, as well. My thoughts are similar to yours, ivehadit. There has been so much lost these past years, including the space program. I know I faced Obama’s presidency with much foreboding. But, even that initial trepidation did not prepare me for what has actually happened under Obama. I’m just relieved that the iron hand of the Labor Dept’s Farm Bill was pried loose, and the bill was appropriately withdrawn.

  15. lurker9876 says:

    It was Bush that made a decision to retire the shuttle fleet that was to be replaced by Constellation. Obama later cancelled the Constellation and gutting the NASA agency. When I saw the Enterprise being flown to NY, I was disappointed and a bit anger.

    As for the Labor Dept’s Farm Bill, if Obama gets reelected, they will bring it up again…providing that Congress becomes Democratic.

  16. Mordecai Subaru says:

    Well whatever on Obama, Rubio, and all that NBC stuff,
    but you might want to research this, because it is as serious as can be
    The killings

  17. Redteam says:

    The president touched on Sarah Palin’s recent hosting of “Today” to segue into the night’s toughest line: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious.”

    Michael Vick didn’t testify to ‘eating dogs’ and he was sentenced to prison.
    How many years is an ‘eating dogs’ admission worth?

    He might win over the illegals but he just lost the animal lovers.

    Folks, you can’t make this up….