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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 12, 2023

Vice President Kamala Harris is a natural-born citizen and eligible for the presidency

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  • Vice President Kamala Harris is a natural-born U.S. citizen and eligible for the presidency.

Vice President Kamala Harris is next in line for the presidency if President Joe Biden were ever unable to carry out his official duties. 

But a recent Instagram post retreads old misinformation when it claims that she’s ineligible for the job. 

"Kamala Harris is NOT a ‘natural born citizens’ per Art II Sec. 1 par 5 of the US constitution," the Oct. 12 post says. "Both parents were foreign nationals, NOT U.S. citizens when Kamala was born in Oakland, CA. She is missing 2 of the 3 legs of the ‘natural born citizen’ test. Kamala can’t be president!"

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We’ve dug into similar claims before. 

The section of the U.S. Constitution cited in the Instagram post says that "no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President."

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Harris’ father and mother were born in Jamaica and India, respectively. But because Harris was born in Oakland, California, experts say that Harris meets the definition of a natural-born citizen.

"If you are born in the U.S., you are automatically a natural-born U.S. citizen under the Constitution, Harvard Law professor Einer Elhuage told PolitiFact in 2019.

Sarah Duggin, a Catholic University law professor, told us: "Her birth in the United States, to someone other than a member of a foreign diplomatic corps or otherwise not subject to U.S. jurisdiction, makes her a U.S. citizen. … There is no reason to look at where her parents came from, how long her parents were U.S. residents before she was born, or where she was raised."  

The 14th Amendment says that "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."

8 U.S. Code § 1401 says people born in the United States are "nationals and citizens."

And then there’s an 1898 Supreme Court decision that ruled people born on U.S. soil — with a few exceptions that aren’t relevant in Harris’ case — qualify for citizenship under the 14th Amendment. 

We rate claims Harris isn’t a natural-born citizen, and thus ineligible for the presidency, Pants on Fire!


Our Sources

Instagram post, Oct. 9, 2023

Article II of the Constitution, visited Aug. 11, 2020

Fourteenth Amendment, visited Aug. 11, 2020

8 U.S. Code § 1401, visited Aug. 11, 2020

United States v. Wong Kim Ark, decided March 28, 1898

PolitiFact, Yes, Kamala Harris is eligible to run for president, Jan. 22, 2019

PolitiFact, Kamala Harris is eligible to be president, Aug. 11, 2020

Email interview with Sarah Duggin, Catholic University law professor, Jan. 22, 2019

Email interview with Einer Elhauge, Harvard University law professor, Jan. 22, 2019


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Vice President Kamala Harris is a natural-born citizen and eligible for the presidency

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