Andrew Yang

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As for Mr. Yang, Andrew wangalthough he was born in 1975 in Schenectady, New York – unquestionably geographically located within the United States – his bio reflects that his parents were “immigrants from Taiwan” who met while they were both graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley.  His father, Kei Hsiung Yang, and his mother, Nancy Yang, moved to the United States in the 1960’s to pursue their higher education goals.  The anecdotal evidence retrievable via the Internet, however, does not (as yet) disclose whether either or both Mr. or Mrs. Yang had become naturalized U.S. citizens by the time their son, Andrew, was born.

If both of them – and in particular, Mr. Yang – had not already become naturalized citizens before the birth, then Andrew Yang would not meet the de Vattel § 212 criterion as embodied in Art. 2, § 1, Cl. 5 of the Constitution.   Stated otherwise, while he arguably might be a “native born citizen” under the 14th Amendment, he would not be a “natural born citizen” as required for presidential eligibility purposes.  Further complicating the issue, in a newspaper article footnoted in Mr. Yang’s Wikipedia entry (please, spare me the tutorial on the downsides of “open source” websites like the one mentioned), it is noted that “Yang said he visits Taipei almost every year to see his parents, who retired in Taiwan after previously working and living in the U.S.”

While it may not be unusual for persons born in Taiwan to wish to retire at their birthplace, if one has previously renounced and completely abjured allegiance to and citizenship in a foreign nation in order to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, one is tempted to ask: why move back?  Family?  Cost of living?  The counter-argument is much easier made that, after working a lifetime here as a “green card” permanent resident, but still possessed of one’s Taiwanese citizenship, when retirement time comes, why not move “back home?”

The eligibility question will likely become moot and academic as to Mr. Yang when it becomes apparent that he will not succeed in becoming the nominee of the Democrats to challenge President Trump.  But the fact that the issue may become moot as to him does not mean that the underlying problem has evaporated as to others.  Stay tuned… this could get interesting.