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  #1  
Old 05-28-2002, 07:41 AM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Citizenship question (born on a US Army Base)

I was born on an American army base in Germany when my dad was stationed there. The land I was born on was part of the Army base, and I think, therefore technically American land, but I'm not sure.

For the purposes of, say, becoming the president, where one has to be born on US soil (I believe), would I qualify?
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2002, 07:54 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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The army base in Germany is not "US soil".

Happily, the requirement for being President is not that you be "born on US soil" but that you be "a natural-born citizen". This is generally understood to include those who, as the children of US citizens, are themselves US citizens from birth.

Now all you need is to get one of the major parties to nominate you.
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Old 05-28-2002, 07:56 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Probably. While there can be some interpretation of what is meant by "natural born" (which is how the qualification is worded) the courts most likely would allow you to run if you were born of American parents and never had any other citizenship.

The closest similar case was George Romney, who ran for president in 1968 despite being born in Mexico to American parents. There were some idle questions about whether that was "natural born," but no one tried to challenge him (and his campaign eventually self-destructed due to brainwashing).
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Old 05-28-2002, 08:03 AM
astro astro is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by RealityChuck
There were some idle questions about whether that was "natural born," but no one tried to challenge him (and his campaign eventually self-destructed due to brainwashing).
I thought it was just "a light rinse".
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Old 05-28-2002, 08:21 AM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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I thought I had read somewhere that US military bases on foreign soil were considered small bits of US territory, and therefore were immune to local laws, things that happened on it were subject to US law, etc.
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Old 05-28-2002, 08:26 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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I don't think that US bases generally possess extra territoritality, which is what you are asking about. Guatanimo Bay in Cuba may be an exception. By agreement, the bases may not be subject to local law, which is not the same as extra territoritality, which implies a sovereign right.
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2002, 08:27 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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It's the other way around. They do enjoy some exemptions from local law, and certain aspects of US military and federal law do apply there. But that's not enough to make the "US territory", although a lot of people assume it is.
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  #8  
Old 05-28-2002, 08:36 AM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Another, related question: I was born in Nuremburg, but the German spelling is Nürnburg - if I need to file out governmental forms that require my city of birth, which is the way to spell it?
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  #9  
Old 05-28-2002, 08:41 AM
zev_steinhardt zev_steinhardt is offline
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Embassies, are, IIRC, considered "part of the country" of which they serve. I don't think that applies to army bases. However, UDS is correct in that a child born to U.S. citizens abroad are citizens of the U.S. themselves.

Zev Steinhardt
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  #10  
Old 05-28-2002, 08:46 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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UDS: United States military bases overseas don't "enjoy some exemptions from local law." There's this thing called the Status of Forces Agreement which describes how member of the US military who do violate local law will be dealt with whilst awaiting trial. The issue of the family members of the military members is quite easy: they're dealt with just like the local population is dealt with by the local law enforcement.

Now, if the military member and his family are stationed overseas in a diplomatic capacity, then they are covered under diplomatic immunity.
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  #11  
Old 05-28-2002, 08:52 AM
flodnak flodnak is offline
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Beef, I'll assume you have some sort of American-issued birth certificate. (My kids got "Consular Reports of Births Abroad" from the embassy; might be something different for an Army kid.) Just stick with whatever spelling of the city they used there and it should work fine.
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  #12  
Old 05-28-2002, 09:18 AM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by flodnak
Beef, I'll assume you have some sort of American-issued birth certificate. (My kids got "Consular Reports of Births Abroad" from the embassy; might be something different for an Army kid.) Just stick with whatever spelling of the city they used there and it should work fine.
Ah, yeah, and that's what I've been using. (It's spelled the German way).

I just wasn't sure if it was correct.

Actually, we lost that certificate once, and it was such a pain to get back. Apparently it's a pain for the State department to find a record for a birth certificate created in a country that doesn't exist anymore.
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  #13  
Old 05-28-2002, 09:53 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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SenorBeef:

I also was born in Germany to American parents (actually, one of my parents also had German citizenship). My birth was recorded by the doctor who delivered me as the law for reporting births in Bavaria is pretty much the same as the law for reporting births in most states here. What the local authorities issued is my Geburtskünde. That doesn't have a single thing to do with citizenship at all! It is merely the birth certificate. My father used that birth certificate to prove to the Amercian Consulate that, yes, there really is the child, named Monty, born to my parents at a particular time, date, and place. The consulate issued a Report of Birth Abroad of an American Citizen. A note: in my case, it took years for the consulate to do that. The certificate issued by the Consulate is the proof of citizenship. The Geburtskünde is not.

If you're looking for help on getting your birth certificate, contact the Germany Embassy or Consulate. Both times I needed a certified copy issued by the same office that issued the birth certificate, they helped me and I got the thing for no charge. Nowadays, it costs about $20 to get it. For assistance on getting the Certificate of Citizenship from the State Department, you can get some info from http://www.vitalchek.com
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  #14  
Old 05-28-2002, 11:07 AM
Gorgon Heap Gorgon Heap is offline
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Here is a story written by a friend of mine in SJA. I dosn't have any "official" rules, but it has a lot of background and could give you a place to start. Viel gluck.

http://www.usma.edu/PublicAffairs/PV/020419/MLaw.htm
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  #15  
Old 05-28-2002, 01:16 PM
chula chula is offline
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"Natural born" means a citizen at birth - I don't think there's been any dispute about that. In the early days, it wasn't clear who was a citizen at birth. Congress has the power under Article I of the Constitution "to establish a uniform rule of naturalization," so legislation over the years has clarified the meaning of the term "natural born." INA § 301 (8 U.S.C.A. § 1401) lists eight categories of people who are citizens of the United States at birth. It includes
  • Anyone born in the United States
  • Anyone born to a member of an Indian tribe
  • Anyone born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
  • Anyone born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
  • Anyone born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
  • Anyone found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
  • Anyone born outside the United States, if one is an alien and as long as one is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
  • Anyone born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.
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  #16  
Old 05-28-2002, 01:28 PM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by zev_steinhardt
Embassies, are, IIRC, considered "part of the country" of which they serve.
This is a common misapprehension. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, the premises of a foreign diplomatic mission are "inviolable"; that is, under no circumstances can they be entered by the local government without consent, and the property is immune from search, seizure, attachment, and the like, but it's still part of the same country. See Articles 20 - 25 of the convention, available at the UN website here:

http://www.un.org/law/ilc/texts/diplomat.htm

--Cliffy
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  #17  
Old 05-28-2002, 02:42 PM
Milton De La Warre Milton De La Warre is offline
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Very minor point: "Anyone born to a member of an Indian tribe"

I understand that this was not the case until 1901 (or so). Before that, Native Americans were not (legally) Americans.
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  #18  
Old 05-28-2002, 02:50 PM
Big Kahuna Burger Big Kahuna Burger is offline
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Quote:
The closest similar case was George Romney, who ran for president in 1968 despite being born in Mexico to American parents. There were some idle questions about whether that was "natural born," but no one tried to challenge him (and his campaign eventually self-destructed due to brainwashing).
Similarly, Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona when it was still a colony. Ultimately, no major objections were made because LBJ knew he'd kick his butt. Plus, every president before Van Buren was born when the United States were still colonies. Also, John McCain was born in the Canal Zone, which was American soil at the time.

I read an article on Michigan gubenatorial candidate Jennifer Granholm, who was born in Vancouver but moved to Detroit when she was fairly young. People said that if she won the governorship she'd be a great presidential candidate if she wasn't foreign-born. I wonder if the Romney case would apply to her, but I'm not sure on whether her parents were Americans or not.
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  #19  
Old 05-28-2002, 02:58 PM
chula chula is offline
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You're right JCHeckler. In Elk v. Wilkins (1884), the Supreme Court ruled that Indians were not citizens, since they were not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. It wasn't until 1940 that Congress made all Indians born in the United States citizens at birth. Of course, slaves were also not considered citizens when the Constitution was written. The statute I referred to reflects current law and was most recently amended in 1994.
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  #20  
Old 05-28-2002, 03:09 PM
Hirsel Hirsel is offline
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Hi guys,

do I say it or don't I?
Okay, just to let you know: people who
are born in Germany are not automatically Germans. So
whatever you are, when your parents are non-German, you are also non-German. Sounds pretty rough, but the Germans
leave it up to the foreigners to sort out whether their child
is also a foreigner or without any citizenship. In SenorBeef's
case he would be US citizen, but not German. I think the law
has changed slightly in recent years, but propably not
dramatically.

[smartypants on]
Also, you were probably born in Nürnberg, not Nürnburg, where
berg means mountain and burg means castle, quite a difference.
[smartypants off]
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  #21  
Old 05-28-2002, 04:29 PM
Spavined Gelding Spavined Gelding is offline
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My oldest daughter was born at the US Army hospital at Landstuhl, Germany (then West Germany). IIRC the documents we received and filed with the local recorder of deeds when we got back to the States were a German birth certificate, a certificate of some sort from the attending physician and a document from the State Department attesting to the birth of a child to US nationals overseas. These three papers, or copies certified by the recorder of deeds, were sufficient to establish her age, date of birth and nationality sufficiently for her to get a driver’s license and a US passport. The important thing is to file the papers with the local office that accepts, among other things, armed forces discharge papers to qualify for veterans’ exemption on real estate taxes.

My little sister was born at Fort Sam Huston, Texas. This was real trouble since at that time Fort Sam was an exclusive federal enclave by cessation by the State and was not part of the State (or republic) of Texas. Accordingly there was no Texas birth certificate for her. There may have been an entry on my mother’s medical charts, but other than that there was only a decorative certificate from the medical detachment adjutant. We had to establish her bona fidies with an affidavit from our mother and her high school transcript.
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  #22  
Old 05-28-2002, 07:25 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by chula
INA § 301 (8 U.S.C.A. § 1401) lists eight categories of people who are citizens of the United States at birth. It includes
  • Anyone born in the United States
  • ....
  • Anyone born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
And 8 USC 1402 and other later amendments further qualify that in some US possessions -- e.g. Puerto Rico -- "jus solis" citizenship applies too, so everyone born there is Americans by birth.
(In our case, those who were alive in 1917 -- my grandparents -- were made Americans by Act of Congress; those born between 1917 and 1941 -- my father -- were born American by parental inheritance; and those born after 1941 -- my mother and myself and siblings -- have been American by our own birthright. )
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  #23  
Old 05-28-2002, 07:37 PM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hirsel
Hi guys,

do I say it or don't I?
Okay, just to let you know: people who
are born in Germany are not automatically Germans. So
whatever you are, when your parents are non-German, you are also non-German. Sounds pretty rough, but the Germans
leave it up to the foreigners to sort out whether their child
is also a foreigner or without any citizenship. In SenorBeef's
case he would be US citizen, but not German. I think the law
has changed slightly in recent years, but propably not
dramatically.



Actually, my mom told me that I was offered dual citizenship, but she just took American citizenship.

Quote:

[smartypants on]
Also, you were probably born in Nürnberg, not Nürnburg, where
berg means mountain and burg means castle, quite a difference.
[smartypants off]
Ah, thanks.

It's not often that I actually have to spell it - the only time the issue comes up, actually, is on NICS checks.
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  #24  
Old 05-29-2002, 02:26 AM
chula chula is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by JRDelirious
And 8 USC 1402 and other later amendments further qualify that in some US possessions -- e.g. Puerto Rico -- "jus solis" citizenship applies too, so everyone born there is Americans by birth.
I'm being nitpicky, but § 302 (8 U.S.C.A. § 1402) is not an amendment to the section I cited but rather another section. It establishes that all persons born in Puerto Rico after 4/11/1899 are citizens, and all persons born after 1/12/41 are eligible to be president. This section came into effect in 1952. Of course, there are almost as many portorriqueños en Nueva York que en Puerto Rico, y vivo en la Loisaida, so I wouldn't exclude the portorriqueños if it were relevant to the topic of children born on military bases in Germany.
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  #25  
Old 05-29-2002, 07:41 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by chula
I'm being nitpicky, but § 302 (8 U.S.C.A. § 1402) is not an amendment .
[A Bill]
Sect. 1: In the article originally posted by JRDelirious on 28 May 2002, after "8 USC 1402" strike "and other later amendments" and replace by: "and other later sections of the c. 1951 Immigration and Naturalization Act, including those which replaced and amended all or parts of sections of the earlier c.1940 Nationality Act, as well as other related statutes and amendments thereto,"
Sect. 2: This amendment shall go into force immediately upon ratification
Sect. 3: Notification shall be made to Opal pursuant to the rules and regulations of the SDMB
[/A Bill]
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  #26  
Old 05-29-2002, 12:27 PM
Regina Regina is offline
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I was born in Panama in the Canal Zone in a military hospital. My parents had two birth certificates, one official and one from the hospital, and when they moved from Panama when I was 2, had me "naturalized," and I was issued a "Certificate of Naturalization," which I understand has now been replaced with the Consular Report of Birth Abroad as mentioned by flodnak and Monty. Apparently for a while there was a special certificate just for Canal Zone births.

My sisters used to tease me all the time that I couldn't be President since I wasn't born in the U.S. Of course, they couldn't offer me any cites. It's good to know I can now run for President! (Let's see, now how to wipe the memories of all the friends I had in High School . . . )

BTW, in attempting to obtain a passport, I have been round and round with both INS and the State Dept. trying to get a certified copy or duplicate original of my Certificate of Naturalization becuase I do not trust the passport office or post office to return my original. After three months of frustration and even a call to my U.S. Senator, who just succeeded in muddying the waters, I finally just sent the darn original to the passport people. Sure hope they send it back.
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Old 05-29-2002, 02:05 PM
chula chula is offline
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§ 303 (8 U.S.C.A. § 1403) gives citizenship to any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904 to a citizen parent. But the fact that you were naturalized implies that you are not a “natural born citizen” - I can’t see why you would need a Certificate of Naturalization. Maybe it’s because that section didn’t come into effect until 1952.
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  #28  
Old 05-29-2002, 02:38 PM
Merlot Merlot is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by SenorBeef


Actually, my mom told me that I was offered dual citizenship, but she just took American citizenship.
[/B]
My mother told me the same, however she never mentioned taking American citizenship and indicated that at or by age 18 I must declare my citizenship.
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  #29  
Old 05-29-2002, 03:40 PM
Regina Regina is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by chula
§ 303 (8 U.S.C.A. § 1403) gives citizenship to any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904 to a citizen parent. But the fact that you were naturalized implies that you are not a “natural born citizen” - I can’t see why you would need a Certificate of Naturalization. Maybe it’s because that section didn’t come into effect until 1952.
Well, I hate to date myself, let's just say it was the late 60's. I guess my folks were just doing whatever they were told to do like good Air Force parents. Maybe the AF just kept doing the same paperwork year after year regardless of the law. I can't believe my parents played with my ability to become President like that! Think if I tell the passport office about Sec. 303 they'll get on with issuing my passport already so I can take my trip?
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  #30  
Old 05-29-2002, 04:13 PM
chula chula is offline
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I'm not saying that the certificate changes anything - it's just that you shouldn't need one, if I'm not totally misunderstanding the statute. I'm thinking that they probably just continued to use the old procedure for a while after the law was passed. According to the passport webstie, if you are born abroad, you need either a Certificate of Naturalization or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. It's because it's too hard for someone in the United States to know what a valid Panamian birth certificate looks like.
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Old 05-29-2002, 04:47 PM
Regina Regina is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by chula
. . . you need either a Certificate of Naturalization or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. It's because it's too hard for someone in the United States to know what a valid Panamian birth certificate looks like.
And I guess the difficulty in getting a certified copy from a foreign country. Although right now I don't see how this could be any more difficult than getting the darn duplicate original or certified copy or whatever the heck I've paid the State Department $30 for but haven't seen yet. My Congressman said I should fill out form 565-N or some such with the INS for a replacement certificate. I looked it up on their website: $155 for this! I attempt to call the passport office thinking they'll know if what I want comes from the State Department or the INS; all they have is a $4.95 per call telephone number! Sorry about this little hijack; you can probably sense I'm a little put out about this.

So anway, chula, you're saying the passport people need the Certificate of Naturalization not to prove I'm a citizen but because they can't determine what a valid Panamanian (it's in English) birth certificate looks like? I guess I could get copies of my parents' birth certificates and prove my citizenship that way. Well it's all moot for me anyway since I took a chance and mailed the original document to the passport office. Not to mention the absolute moot-ness of the issue of my being able to run for President. If only I had known a little earlier in life . . .
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