One of these appeared a couple of days ago in comments on this blog. A singular INS document lists “native-, natural-born and naturalized” citizens. While the document lacks the context necessary to understand what distinctions it is trying to make, birthers nonetheless will assume that Barack Obama, if born in Hawaii as his birth certificate says, would be a native-born citizen, but not a natural-born citizen. What’s curious about this document is that it stands alone among known documents in making these distinctions between citizens. It is generally believed that the term “natural born citizen” does not appear in any US legislation since the repealed Nationality Act of 1790 and if true (and I think it is) cannot be the source of the language in the INS document which purports to summarize the laws in effect at various times prior to January 13, 1914.
The second claim is that Stanley Ann Obama was not a US citizen at the time of her son’s birth, having lost her citizenship upon marriage to Barack Obama, Sr., a Citizen of the UK and Colonies. That claim comes from Mr. Nash in an off-topic comment that I have moved to this article.
These claims are worth some research. A third claim, however, is utter nonsense, that being the headline of a blog entry that says: Obama & Mother; Expatriated by Marriage; British Subjects Only until Divorce. President Obama was born in the United States and thereby a citizen at birth of the United States under common law and certainly under the 14th Amendment, no matter what the nationality of his parents (see US v Wong Kim Ark). His mother married before he was born. The US Supreme Court in Perkins v. Elg made it clear that change in the citizenship of parents does not erase natural born citizenship of their child born in the Unites States. In FOIA documents obtained by Kenneth Allen, a US Department of State internal memo said, referring to Barack Obama:
The person in question is a united states citizen by virtue of his birth in Honolulu.
Since he was born a citizen after his mother’s marriage to Barack Obama, Sr. there is no act that could even allegedly change her son’s citizenship, even if marriage made a difference (which it doesn’t).
This article may be updated after further research.
Looking at the INS document, whose subject is Interpretation 324.1 Loss of citizenship by marriage, we see what the law is at various times in history, as legislation changed and the Supreme Court ruled in various cases, most notably Afroyim v. Rusk. The last historical period addressed by the document is September 22, 1922, to January 12, 1941. I’m making a preliminary conclusion that this indicates that expatriation through marriage ended in 1941 and was never US law after that. That conclusion is evidenced by the fact that the Naturalization Act of 1940, which delineates all the ways one can lose nationality, and went into effect in January of 1941, does not provide for loss of nationality through marriage.
- Interpretation 349.7 Expatriation by formal renunciation of United States citizenship
- 8 USC 1435 – Sec. 1435. Former citizens regaining citizenship
- The Nationality Act of 1940
- The Naturalization Act of 1940 (Title I, Chapter I) defines “naturalization” as “the conferring of nationality of a state upon a person after birth.”
- The Naturalization Act of 1940 states that a person under the age of 18 cannot expatriate himself by “making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer.”
- The Act of 1940 makes no provision for the loss of nationality through marriage.
- The effective date of the Naturalization Act of 1940 was 90 days from October 14, 1940 (January 12, 1941).