There is currently debate concerning the definition of “natural born citizen.” The main focus of this debate is whether or not children born to Americans overseas should be considered eligible for the Presidency. Several main candidates have sought the office who were born outside the United States (e.g., George Romney was born in Mexico to U.S. parents, Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona while it was still a U.S. territory, and John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone to U.S. parents). Barry Goldwater’s case among these three is unique in that although Arizona was not a state, it was a fully incorporated territory of the United States (unlike Panama and overseas territories which were/are unincorporated), making it debatable whether or not he was born “outside” the United States; it is also unique in that Arizona was later admitted as a state. None of these candidates was elected, so the issue was never fully addressed. However, McCain is currently seeking the 2008 Republican nomination for President.
Persons Born Outside the United States to Citizen Parents:
This bill clarifies that the term natural born Citizen includes children born outside the United States to citizen parents. This provision provides comfort and certainty to members of the American military and foreign services, as well as expatriate families, that their children, too, are eligible to run for president. These children are no less qualified than children born on American soil, and they should not be treated differently. Of course, children born to American citizens abroad would only be eligible to run for president if they satisfied the fourteen year residency requirement in addition to the natural born requirement.