Should international adoptees be eligible for president? This 10-year-old thinks so. (+video)
Preteen Alena Mulhern is petitioning Massachusetts lawmakers to pass a resolution asking the US Congress to ensure 'equality for America’s adopted children.'
Alena Mulhern may only by 10 years old, but she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up.
“I want to be president,” she told Wicked Local in Kingston, Mass., her adopted hometown. “I think I would make a great leader by bringing people together, I would make informed decisions in our country’s best interest, and I would make this country a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
But there’s only one problem. Despite the fact that Alena has lived in the United States since she was 10 months old, she was born in China.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution notes that only natural born citizens – those who are US citizens at birth – are eligible for the presidency. It’s an obstacle Alena is determined to overcome.
“We should all have the opportunity to run for president,” she testified before a State House committee on Wednesday, according to CBS Boston.
“I am an American as much as you are and everyone else,” she told reporters. “I don’t really remember China that much. All I know is America.”
Alena’s goal is to convince state lawmakers to pass a resolution asking the US Congress to ensure “equality for America’s adopted children.” The resolution calls on Congress to change the definition of natural born citizens to include foreign-born adopted children as set forth in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. As Wicked Local reports:
Foreign-born adopted children could then become US citizens automatically if at least one parent is a US citizen, the child is adopted under the age of 16, the child lives in the US in the legal and physical custody of the parent who is a citizen, the adoption has been finalized, and all legal requirements pertaining to adopted children comply with the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
While changing the Constitution is no small challenge, Alena’s mother, Barbara Mulhern Caparell, fully supports her effort.
“She was just born in a different country,” her mother told Wicked Local. “That’s the only difference.”
This report contains material from the Associated Press.