The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Naturalized Americans treated as second class

| Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The U-Wire column titled “U.S. President Should Stay American” that appeared on Jan. 31, fails to make a serious argument in favor of keeping the status quo and limiting the highest office to U.S. born Americans. Mr. Gardner begins his column by asking: “Should a foreigner be allowed to run for president?” He misses the point, or is perhaps asking the wrong question. Once a permanent resident becomes an American citizen, U.S. law (to the best of my knowledge) no longer treats him or her as a foreigner except in matters of national security (intelligence) and serving in the highest office of the land. Yet, Henry Kissinger, who acted as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, was born a German. Madeleine Albright, another Secretary of State, was born a Czech. Although it should be considered, perhaps the national security argument isn’t rock solid.

As for Mr. Gardner’s comment on foreign-born Americans not being willing to fight and die for their chosen country, maybe he should think of the many “foreigners” who have died in Gulf War I and II (and other wars) as members of the U.S. Armed Forces. I believe they bled red, white and blue defending U.S. interests. In some instances they even died for our country without having received U.S. citizenship.

Finally, I think we should admire those who choose to become Americans instead of thinking those who were born here are somehow worth more. I understand matters of national identity and even national security are complicated, but the question stands: when will naturalized Americans no longer be treated as second class citizens?

Victor Carmona

MTS Candidate 2006


Feb. 1