No matter what your politics are, the current debate about whether or not Sen. Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen, can legally become president raises a pretty interesting question for military kids born overseas.
Here's the deal: The U.S. constitution states that only "natural-born citizen" of the U.S. can become president or vice president. Controversial presidential candidate Donald Trump says that Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, cannot be president because he was not born on U.S. soil. Cruz was born in Canada -- his mother was a U.S. citizen and his father was a Canadian who, at the time, held a U.S. green card. Trump's stance is that if you weren't born in the U.S. proper, you aren't a "natural-born citizen" and you can't be president.
The implications of that idea are pretty sweeping for U.S. service members and their kids who are born overseas. U.S. military bases overseas are not considered U.S. soil for the purposes of citizenship, according to the State Department, and even if they were, not all military kids born OCONUS are born on base. If Trump is correct, no military kid born on or off a U.S. base in a foreign country could ever become president. That seems like a pretty unfair side affect of being born into a military family, doesn't it?
Fortunately, according to legal experts, this claim is just Trump hot air. "Natural-born citizen" is accepted by law to mean "born as a U.S. citizen," regardless of place of birth.
So start passing out the campaign buttons and cue the theme songs -- military kids born overseas can absolutely become U.S. presidents or vice presidents.
Under U.S. law, a child born overseas to at least one U.S. citizen who has spent at least five years of their life physically living in the U.S. (and at least two of those years being after they were 14-years-old) is a U.S. citizen as long as her parents apply for (and receive) a consular report of birth abroad for that child.
(Want to know more -- and I mean a lot more -- about the legal reasons behind this natural-born citizen business? This articles has a ton of information.)
Of course, depending on the parents' own citizenship circumstances, it can get a lot more complicated. This website has a rundown on every single situation we (and they) could think of. If you have a military kid born overseas to a complicated family circumstance, and you are wondering if they are technically a U.S. citizen, the experts at that site probably have your answer.
MilKid for President -- 20__!