I received an e-mail from one of the students of my Constitution Class in Temecula, California asking about eligibility. She is still having trouble grasping the definition, largely because the education system and media has been sending us mixed messages on the issue. The following is my reply:
Your first premise is wrong. You said to be a natural born citizen both parents have to be born here. That is not correct. To be a natural born citizen both parents need to have been citizens at the time of birth of the child. Citizenship is not only just being born here. If my wife had naturalized as a citizen before our kids were born, they would be natural born citizens, but she didn't naturalize until after they were born, making them only native born citizens.
In some circles it was just the father that needed to be a citizen, but reading Vatell's Law of Nations, it needs to be both parents, in order for someone to be a Natural Born Citizen.
If a child is born here of non-citizen parents their citizenship depends on the jurisdiction of the parents. For example, my wife's sisters were born here in the United States, but their parents were not citizens. However, they were here legally on resident alien cards (green cards) which means the parents fell under the full jurisdiction of the United States. Therefore, despite my wife's sisters being born to non-citizen parents, they are citizens because the parents were here as legal residents. Note that they are not natural born citizens, because their parents were not citizens at the time of their birth.
Yes, Marco Rubio's parents were not citizens of the United States at the time of his birth. Like Virginia's sisters, he is a citizen because Rubio's parents were legal residents of the United States. However, because they were not citizens at the time of his birth, he is not a natural born citizen, making him ineligible for Vice President (Vice President must also meet eligibility requirements of President).
Douglas V. Gibbs
Constitution Radio, KCAA, KCXL, WHTH
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary