It didn"t take lengthy for the "controversy" come begin. Simply days after Kamala Harris announced she bid to become president in 2020, the racist assaults on Harris" eligibility started. "Kamala Harris is not eligible!" cry right-wing activist Jacob Wohl ~ above Twitter. Later, once Joe Biden request Harris to it is in his angry president, with the pair at some point winning the 2020 election to come to be president and also president-elect, the assaults started increase again. To be clear: The just technical demands a presidential candidate must fulfill are the he or she is 1) a natural-born citizens of the united States, 2) a resident for 14 years, and also 3) 35 years of age or older. Wohl to be claiming the Harris is not, in fact, a "natural-born American" (we"ll obtain into the special, shortly).

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But first, let"s rest this down once and for all: Kamala Harris has actually birthright citizenship, and also in the united States, that renders her eligible come president, vice-president, or any other office she chooses. (She"s also deeply standard to every one of those roles, because that what it"s worth, but unlike the standing of she citizenship, the isn"t encoded in the Constitution.)

Speaking that the Constitution, let"s begin there. Every the Fourteenth Amendment, ar 1, which was added in 1868:

All people born or nature in the joined States, and also subject come the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens the the joined States and also of the State wherein they reside.

In other words: If you are born in America, you are an American. That"s the way America works, and has been working for an ext than 150 years. (Interestingly, the U.S. Is among only a handful nations that upholds birthright citizenship, however that"s neither below or there as soon as it comes to Harris.)

Of course, the hasn"t stopped specific people native debating this certain point—particularly, narrowing down the meaning of herbal born citizen. Courtesy that a commentary piece on the San Antonio express News: "As a constitutionalist, I believe the an interpretation of a natural-born citizen is one that was born on American soil of 2 parents who were American citizens at the moment of their birth." This traction from details in a book the framers that the Constitution used (information that, it must be noted, did not make it into the Constitution).

The item continues: "Based top top the information I have found, neither of Sen. Kamala Harris’ parents to be American citizen at the moment of she birth. Therefore, I think it is difficult for her to be a natural-born citizen, which is among the requirements to it is in president."

But, come be totally clear here, through the an interpretation currently written in the Constitution, Harris is eligible to offer her country in office. An altering or broadening the existing wording simply to invalidate she seems...let"s contact it excessive. But this type of attempt to create "disqualification top top a technicality" helps spread out of misinformation around Harris"s citizenship and also her career.

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Which bring me come "birtherism," a term the you can remember came out of trumped slinging falsehoods in ~ then-candidate Obama over and also over again in 2008. Trump, it need to be noted here, was not also a politician at the time, merely a real-estate mogul and also reality TV star who made decision to declare the Obama was not eligible to be president, spreading lies around his place of birth the were categorically false. But Trump"s conspiracy theory thrilled an military of right-wingers. Even after trump card rescinded the comment in 2016, they ongoing to attack America"s former very first Family for being "ineligible," i m sorry is just a euphemism below for "not white."


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The "birtherism" controversy surrounding Obama—if "controversy" is the right term for a bigoted conspiracy—is base in racism. It constantly has been. This is also the situation with Harris. Birtherism is a lied designed to perceive american of color as "un-American."

Let me be together clear as possible: Kamala Harris was born in the United claims (Oakland, California to it is in exact), therefore making she a citizen. She parents to be both immigrants—her mom from Chennai, India, she dad from Jamaica—and once they divorced, Harris invested her teenage years in Canada before returning to the U.S. Because that college. These space all facts that have no bearing top top Harris" citizenship, yet I point out them to define why Harris, and only Harris, is being subjected to "birther" claims. She parents are immigrants, and Harris herself is a mrs of color, and also even despite conservatives consistently tout a path to citizenship as the American Dream writ large, a part of the American population believe these facts do Harris also "other" to serve them in public office.