Senator Rubio and Natural Born Citizenship

Is it possible that the “natural born citizen” requirement no longer serves its intended purpose?

Recently I had the privilege of receiving a copy of Marco Rubio’s autobiography An American Son.  It is an exceptnional book, not just because it is well written, but rather because it tells a quintessentially American story; one that we have been sorely lacking for many years. 

When I first began studying American History I was struck by how many people had made the journey to America from Europe or Asia in search of a better life.  Many had to sacrifice their own generation so that the next would prosper.  The Chinese who labored to build the railroads across the west, or the Europeans who toiled in factories so that their children could obtain education and become professionals are typical stories of the late 19th and Early 20th centuries.

Marco Rubio’s story is similar in many respects, but it begins in Cuba, which provides a significant difference in focus and time.  Most immigrants in earlier times came primarily for economic reasons.  The opportunity for social mobility was paramount.  But the average Cuban who came to the USA did so for political reasons; to avoid oppression under Fidel Castro, and remained here because the authoritarian regime lasted decades, rather than the few years that they expected.  Their children became American citizens, not only by virtue of residence or birth, but also by choice; by adoption of the American culture and ideals. Marco Rubio is member of that generation; a child of immigrants who understands America, in many respects better than the sons and daughters of families that have been here for many generations.

This brings us to the topic of “natural born citizenship.”  People who have followed the “birther” controversy are no doubt acquainted with the constitutional requirement that the President of the US be a “natural born citizen.”   The legal definition of natural born is a person born in the US to two people who are already citizens.  The idea behind the requirement is almost certainly to assure the loyalty of the President to the nation he is charged with governing and to its people.  Yet, when we look at the landscape of the American population today we see a tremendous number, who seem completely oblivious to the basic duties and responsibilities of citizenship.  This includes many individuals, highly placed in politics, who are quite obviously disloyal to the nation, its people, and the document they swore to uphold.  This raises the question of whether or not the natural born requirement means, today, what it did 200 years ago.

According to all relevant information Marco Rubio’s parents were not US citizens at the time of his birth.  Thus under the constitutional test Senator Rubio does not qualify for the presidency.  Despite this, the Senator seems, from all indications, a model American citizen, loyal to the nation, to his family, to faith, ad above all, to the customs, tradisions and to the founding documents that made America the success it has been.  Compare him with Barack Obama, whom many sources assert is “natural born” despite his inability to prove it (1) and it is immediately obvious that Rubio is better qualified in terms of both accomplishments national loyalty.  A similar argument could be made for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.  Thus, it seems that the “natural born” requirement might no longer make sense, simply because the children of recent immigrants are more conscious of what America stands for and more loyal to our national heritage. 

What might be an adequate test to replace the current requirement is not clear.  Still, it seems that anything that keeps a highly qualified model citizen from achieving the presidency needs rethinking.  When America is in need of leadership intent on improving its standing in the world and restoring public faith in a better future, we need more people like Senator Rubio.  Keeping him out of the Oval Office while allowing poorly qualified people bent on destroying the Republic access to it is a terrible idea.  

Meanwhile, Sentor Rubio’s book might well be one that sets the stage for an eventual presidential run.  There are a number of policical pundits already predicting that he has presidential aspirations and some have already indicated their belief that he will one day occupy the White House.  If this is true then An American Son may well be an autobiograpby written to introduce him to a broader base of the public.  At the same time it may eliminate the possibility of someone digging up dirt about him by putting it all out in public now.  It is a frank work, written, to borrow from Oliver Cromwell, warts and all.  Rubio freely admits his faults and mistakes.  He presents himself in a very human self portrait that shows how the road to success in America is not always smoots.  He also asserts that there is little tht can substitute for dedication to a goal and hard work.  He does not write from a position of pretense or to manufacture a false image of himself.  He does not pretend or claim that he can solve all of the nation’s problems.  Rather, he provides an example of how all of us, working together, as individuals dedicated to a common success can do the job that big government cannot do.  

As a resident of Texas I often hear statements from various individuals to the effect that they could never support Marco Rubio for Presidnent because he does not meet the constitutional requirements for office.  I then ask whether they would prefer to see Harry Reid elected, or perhaps another incarnation of Barack Obama who will claim that he can heal the world’s ills, to the acclamation of a toady press, only interested in acting as a ministry of propaganda to a despot.  I, if such an opportunity presents will choose the option of voting for someone who believes in America.  I will vote for Marco Rubio.  

(1)  Anyone who is familiar with the characteristics of manual typewriters knows that the strike faces develop “fingerprints” over time.  This fact is what shows that the purported birth certificate is actually a very clumsy forgery; a fact covered in great detail at

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