Letters to the editor, Nov. 30
TBO.comNot all Americans are U.S. citizens
Published: November 30, 2011
Published: November 30, 2011
I would like to take exception to John Reiniers column, "Who is an American."
There are millions of people who are Americans, but not U.S. citizens.
People from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile are Americans. They are citizens of South America. People from Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua are Americans. They are citizens of Central America.
We, in this country, are citizens of the United States of America.
I would suggest that people stop using the terminology interchangeably, the two are not synonymous!
Carol Holle Pahl
Not all natives natural born citizens
On Nov. 23, Dallas Dunlap accused me of "pursuing the newest mutation of birtherism" and that "this time, the idea is that President Obama might be a citizen at birth, but that there is some super-duper type of citizenship called 'natural-born citizen' that the president just doesn't have."
His words, not mine.
I didn't even mention Obama. I advocate the U.S. Constitution. He then accuses me of ignoring Minor v. Happersett. He claims that there is no difference between "native" and "natural-born citizen," based on his interpretation of that case.
It is true that natural-born citizens are natives, but all natives are not necessarily natural-born citizens, just as cars are vehicles, but not all vehicles are cars. Elk vs. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884) explains why children born here of foreigners are not always U.S. citizens under the 14th Amendment, contrary to Dunlap's opinion that everyone born here is a U.S. citizen.
Dunlap quotes Minor: "Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts."
Dunlap leaves out the next sentence: "It is sufficient for everything we now have to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens."
Minor was a citizen under those terms, that's why it was not necessary to "solve these doubts" in her case. It is also obvious that the other "class" of children was not ruled to be natural-born citizens in the case, otherwise they would not have stated "doubts."
The binding Minor precedent says "all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners."
Even in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), the majority opinion said that "natives or natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens." Dunlap tries to take "native" out of context, when it is part of the above rulings defining "natural-born," requiring citizen parents. Minor did not rule that the words "native" and "natural-born" have the same meaning, as I pointed out earlier.
The U.S. Supreme Court in Minor directly construed Article 2 Section 1 while directly avoiding construction of the 14th Amendment. This is because she was the child of U.S. citizens, so the 14th Amendment was unnecessary to the case.
The U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark is specifically limited to determining who is a citizen under the 14th Amendment. It specifically avoided construction of Article 2 Section1, but directly construed the 14th Amendment. Minor is specifically limited to determining who is a U.S. citizen, natural-born. Thus, the two cases are not in contradiction.
For you history buffs, another definition is worthwhile. In 1789, historian David Ramsay wrote, "A Dissertation on the Manners of Acquiring the Character and Privileges of a Citizen."
He was personally involved with the Framers of the Constitution and other Founding Fathers. His definition of "natural-born citizens" is children born in the country to citizen parents. Citizenship as a natural right belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since July 4, 1776. Since he wrote this two years after the natural-born requirement for the office of President was written in the Constitution, it evidently was the consensus at that time.
It would appear that the likely reason for the natural-born requirement for the office of President would be to reduce the possibility of the President being adversely influenced by foreign heritage, to the detriment of the United States.
Being responsible for your crime
Claims of insanity should never be a valid excuse for a crime, particularly an excuse for killing someone. Claims of insanity by criminal defense attorneys are one of the often used excuses for freeing killers and putting them back on the streets. Everyone must be responsible for his criminal acts, whether sane or insane. No responsibility for one's acts makes a criminal more willing to commit a crime.
Criminal defense lawyers love to free killers with the defense of insanity as proof of their skill and to promote business. Convincing a jury of insanity is not difficult, as jurors are emotionally vulnerable and are usually reluctant to convict someone of a crime. We must change our antiquated criminal laws in order to prevent criminal defense lawyers from using insanity as a way to free criminals.
The Florida Legislature must change these laws in order to make everyone responsible for his criminal acts and to stop freeing these criminals and killers. Write your legislator and demand change, which will protect the public from these bad people.