Is Kamala Harris not a United States citizen, making her ineligible to be president because of the laws of her parents' home countries? No, that's not true. Social media posts claim that the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee is not a U.S. citizen, can't be president and should be deported. These claims are false, according to Georgetown Law professor Josh Chafetz. "Under U.S. law, she was a citizen at birth and is therefore eligible to the presidency," Chafetz told Lead Stories.
The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by PatriotsforTruth.org on August 11, 2020, under the title "U. S. Senator Kamala Harris is not a United States citizen. Demand her deportation immediately." It opened:
U. S. Senator Kamala Harris is not a United States citizen. Demand her deportation immediately.
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris must be arrested and deported immediately for immigration fraud.
This is how one version of the story appeared on social media:
The article claims that Joe Biden's pick as vice president on the 2020 Democratic ticket cannot be president according to the laws in her parents' home countries.
The article states:
Harris was born Oct. 20, 1964. At the time of her birth, her father Donald Jasper Harris, was a citizen of Jamaica, and her mother Gopalan Shyamala, was a citizen of India. Therefore, the laws of both Jamaica and India are clear: Kamala Harris was either a citizen of Jamaica, pursuant to Section 3C(b) of the Constitution of Jamaica, or a citizen of India, pursuant to Part II, Sec. 5 of the Constitution of India.
The article on went on to cite Section 3C(b) of the Jamaican constitution:
And Part II, Sec. 5 of the Indian constitution:
But Chafetz explained to Lead Stories why those articles from other countries' constitutions are irrelevant.
It remains both absurd and racist. The laws of other countries are irrelevant here. Under U.S. law, she was a citizen at birth and is therefore eligible to the presidency."
Harris was born in 1964 in Oakland, Calif. Harris' father is Jamaican and taught at Stanford University; her mother was the daughter of an Indian diplomat and was a cancer researcher.
Her Indian mother and Jamaican father were not citizens at the time of her birth.
But the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship for anyone born in the United States, regardless of their parents' immigration status. The Constitution requires a president to be a natural-born citizen, and Chafetz explained:
Under the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Harris was a U.S. citizen at birth, which makes her a natural born citizen for the purposes of presidential eligibility."
This is called "birthright citizenship," and is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Adam Winkler, professor of law at UCLA, also told Lead Stories that Harris is eligible to be president and her parents' citizenship is not an issue at all.
This is a non-issue. This is Obama's birth certificate all over again. The 14th Amendment is explicit that all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are citizens of the United States.
"She is clearly a citizen. She was born in the U.S. The citizenship of her parents does not matter. The supreme court has been very clear on this issue and has ruled on it numerous times, holding that people that are born in the U.S. are citizens under the Constitution."
Winkler pointed out that by arguing against the 14th Amendment, people are dismissing the actual reason for it.
"This would make the 14th Amendment meaningless for the people it was trying to help -- the formerly enslaved people that were freed by the Civil War."
Even before she was named as Biden's running mate, Lead Stories debunked the claim that Harris is ineligible to be the president because her parents were not U.S. citizens: