Published on -10/3/2012, 1:03 PM
Don Desbien's letter in Friday's paper was smoothly written. However, it was nearly, if not completely, fact-free.
Let's examine Mr. Desbien's claims about natural-born citizens and presidential eligibility, illegal travel to Pakistan and whether dual citizenship is illegal in the United States.
1) "...recent federal casess expressly (support) the principle ... that one born in the United States and under its jurisdiction, even when one or both parents were 'aliens' is considered a citizen of the United States by birth, and thus a 'natural-born' citizen of the United States. ... There is no Supreme Court case that has ruled specifically on the presidential eligibility requirements." From: A report by the Congressional Research Service: Qualifications for President and the "Natural Born" Citizenship Eligibility Requirement. Nov. 14, 2011.
2) In the summer of 1981, Barack Obama did travel to Pakistan legally as a U.S. citizen, as other Americans did using American passports. There was an "advisory" however, issued by the State Department that year. You can view it at tinyurl.com/8wok89w
3) Dual citizenship is not outlawed in the U.S. "A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth. U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. ... The U.S. government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause." tinyurl.com/9lhxh23
As one quick example: Sen. Joe Lieberman has dual citizenship, U.S. and Israeli. The State Department or Immigration Services don't keep track, but there are assuredly thousands such -- especially those with dual citizenships with Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.