Debate: Should foreign-born US citizens be allowed to run for President?

Currently, the US President has to be a citizen by birth. That's because when the constitution was created, there were about 3 million people in the country (about half of them immigrants) and they thought if naturalized citizens were allowed to run for president, a foreign government could easily send someone to run for president and enough settlers to affect the outcome. Or they could still be loyal to their old country instead of USA.

I think it's inequal. If all men are created equal, every citizen should be eligible for presidential candidacy. It's time that we change it.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I think most Americans have never lived abroad for a long period of time and thus don't understand what it's like. I have lived in America for just 1,5 years and already in this relatively short amount of time, I have become quite American in many respects. I think it's rather silly (and a bit ignorant) to believe that naturalized citizens (they're not "foreigners" anymore as so many people claim here in the comments!) have dangerous political interests. Living abroad is NOT easy. I'm speaking from my own experience here, I've done it twice (in two very different countries). If somebody decides to live in a foreign country for 10 or 15 or even more years, there's a pretty chance that this person truly loves that country. Also, taking the tests for naturalization and actually becoming a US citizen also takes quite a bit of courage and effort. Nobody would go through this just to hurt America.
    Also, I find it sad that many Americans only seem to look at the dangers of it... cuz there are also a lot of great opportunities. Somebody who was born in a completely different culture and environment who has made the huge effort to become fluent at the English language, has learned about American politics, history, society and culture and engages in American affairs is most likely a smart and very hard-working, disciplined person. On top of this, a different mentality and different cultural background can add some interesting new perspectives to a problem that seems to have no solutions. People who live abroad are usually pretty cosmopolitan in their way of thinking and do not just look in their own backyard for solutions. Maybe this person would understand more about other countries' politics and "steal" some smart ideas that have worked well over there.

    And finally, when I look at American politics as a whole, I can't exactly claim to find it appealing. There are so many outright idiots sitting in the American government who have all been born on American soil. Especially in the Republican Party, most of these people's alliances are not with the American people anyway but with the top 1% of the American population. Most of these people just work for their own interests. So it's not like they're all innocent, uncorrupted angels.
    I come from Switzerland, where we have a very unique political system. Instead of having one president, we have 7 federal councils (a. k. a. "presidents"). These 7 people are assembled from all different parts of the country, from the

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    • German part, the French part and the Italian part of Switzerland. They're all Swiss but they all have rather different mentalities and customs and of course different native languages and it's a big advantage for our country. It means that we don't just have 7 people of the same kind looking at a problem but people who have vastly different background. We also don't have any law like the one in America, so it's legally also possible for naturalized citizens to become federal council.

    • I like your country's system.

What Guys Said 5

  • The first 11 US presidents were not born in the US. Although there have been documents stating that they were so. My 2 cents is that these documents were frauds. 1st reason: There was no "United States of America" BEFORE they were born. 2nd reason: Grandfather clause allows an "exception" to those not native or us born. 2nd reason confirms that their birth documents were frauds.

    Finally, the us constitution and foundations is being slapped around by politicians and lobbying.

    The federal reserve, aka 4th branch and not a founding foundation of this country was made from a seed of corruption. Why do these guys have the power to create money out of nothing and call it value? President's VETO and powers basically gives him/her the power to do anything whatever the f*ck they want lol.

    Fact is, our gov and politicians hate equality.

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    • Get real.

      First, this is the clause in Article II that is relevant: " 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; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States. "

      The first 11 presidents satisfy this clause.

      The reason for the natural-born requirement is that the Presidency is the single most important position in the Federal Government. The framers wanted to minimize any conflict of interest as to the loyalty of the president.

      As to your diatribe about the Federal Reserve Board; it was created by law and can be eliminated by law. It is independent in its decision making to shield it from politics. Lots of Federal organizations are like that.

  • Let's be clear. You can be born in a foreign country and already be an American citizen who can later become president. Naturalized citizens - people who were citizens of another country but then become American citizens - cannot become president. I agree with that. In fact, I'd make it stricter: not only do you have to be born an American citizen but so do both of your parents.

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  • No. The reasons for that rule haven't changed. We don't want foreign powers holding sway on our nation. The people running the government are spread idiots and corrupt most of the time, imagine adding possible foreign allegiance to that mix.

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  • In no way ever do I not only think a foreigner shouldn't be allowed but in no way should they be allowed. Your write up starts with because when the constitution was created as if is should be less of a concern in these times when the reality of it is it's about a million times more of a concern today than it was 200 years ago. Allowing foreigners to be in charge of our country is very dangerous thinking because a foreigner will always bring their own best interest where they came from with them and put it before anything else. Suppose someone from China took office and got ride of our defenses allowing China to come and kill off everyone here? And believe it the ones in the world would do that if they had half the chance are very real. Do you think that's a good idea? The framers of our constitution were a lot smarter than most people living today.

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  • I'm not American.

    It's possible for a non-native born person to become the leader of my country.

    It seems outdated and unnecessary. If the voters want to elect an immigrant, I think their judgement is better than the rule in this case.

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