kamala harris
Kamala Harris

Trump targets Kamala Harris under oft-rejected ‘natural-born’ citizenship row

US President Donald Trump, who had once brushed aside Newsweek as a source of fakenews has embraced its dubiously opinionated article alleging that Kamala Harris, the Vice Presidential candidate of Joe Biden Kamala is not a natural-born citizen of the United States.

The Newsweek column was aimed at repeating the same old argument leveled against Barack Obama when he contested for the Presidential election in 2008 and Trump was among those who rallied behind it on social media. In fact, he had brought it up several times during his 2016 campaign but in vain. But it smacks of his prejudice against the natural born citizens from the immigrant parents.

What Does US Constitution Say?

In order to become the President or Vice President of the United States, a person must be a natural-born citizen under Section 1 of Article 2 of the US Constitution. Under the 14th Amendment, it clearly states: “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.”

The Newsweek article takes exception under the tweaked argument that the Amendment does not confer citizenship on everyone born in the US. During the elections, this old argument has often been revived to weaken the candidates and Obama in 2008 was a victim while Kamala Harris stands to witness the same in 2020. However, the poll outcome has remained neutral to such last-ditch efforts by already weakened opponents.

The column by John C. Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University, sought revive the old argument that undocumented immigrants aren’t subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. and hence, their children though born in the US are not citizens. However, this argument was repeatedly rejected by federal courts and no legal luminary can take shelter to push forward such controversy.

Nervous Trump Camp?

Trump himself proposed such false claim against Obama that he was not born in Hawaii, but rather in Kenya, though he had to withdraw it later. The US Constitution holds the view that anyone born in the country — even if the parents are undocumented immigrants — is a citizen. And that stands unarguably for Kamala Harris, who is set to become the Vice President for sure as Trump camp is dwindling under pressure to prepare for a defeat.

In another article that appeared in Newsweek debate, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh takes an entirely different view and supports Harris’ citizenship, with citations from the Constitution and the legal interpretation of it in William Rawle’s 1825 treatise on the Constitution. Rawle, who was a lawyer when  the US Constitution was being framed, and served as the federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania during the Washington and Adams administrations, said that “every person born within the United States, …whether the parents are citizens or aliens, is a natural-born citizen.”


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