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Birthers, Mexican style

4 August 2009

Who knew, when I was putting together Gods, Gachupines and Gringos that I pegged Mexicans as ahead of the U.S. … at least in wacky birther conspiracy theories.

Footnote # 117, page 279

The gods, gachupines and gringos all seemed to converge in 2005. The trickster god Tezacatlipoca seems to have inspired some historical research. A historian working on a biography of Vincente Fox uncovered a court document in which the president’s father, José Luis Fox Pont, claimed he was an American citizen, not a Mexican. This would have been a very serious matter, if—as it appeared—the sitting president had been ineligible for the office in the first place. The Fox administration’s official explanation was that one provision of the “Bucarelli Agreement” permitted American citizens to have compensation claims for lands expropriated by the Mexican government heard by a arbitrator rather than the Land Court. Arbitrators were generally much more generous than the courts, and Fox Pont—or his lawyers—had a logical reason to commit perjury. When questions about Fox Pont’s citizenship (and, by extension, the legitimacy of his son’s government), refused to go away, Fox Pont’s birth certificate “miraculously” surfaced in Guanajuato. Citizenship requirements were much more fluid at the time, and there is no proof that Fox Pont’s father, José Luis Fox Flach ever officially took out Mexican citizenship. George Romney, the American politician, was born in Chihuahua of U.S. parents, claimed U.S. citizenship through his parents. But, whether Romney OR Fox Pont was a Mexican or a gringo is still an open question.

Mexican Presidential qualifications are a bit stricter than those in the U.S., which only require being a “natural born citizen, or a citizen…” which since the 1790s has meant anyone born to an American citizens, or since 1935 to at least one citizen who had lived in the United States for five or more years.   George Romney probably was a U.S. citizen, though having been born in the Muncipio de Galeana, Chihuahua in 1907,  I’m assuming at least one of his parents was born in the United States and had lived in the United States for more than five years (U.S. Code Title 8, Sec. 1401).  On the other hand, I’ve never seen either of the late Mr. Romney’s parent’s birth certificates.

It used to be a requirement that both of a Mexican president’s parents had been born in Mexico, but the law was changed to only require one parent to be Mexican born just in time for Fox (whose mother was born in Spain) to run.  When the questions about Vicente Fox’s father’s citizenship were first raised, it was a lot of fun (in an academic way) but not taken seriously by anyone.

I also wrote about George Romney (and his son Mitt), as well as Mexico-City bred Bill Richardson back in January 2007, never expecting that there really would be a foreign born U.S. presidential candidate (the old guy with the crazy running mate)… but definitely a “natual born” citizen just like the Hawaiian dude.

By the way, if for some reason you needed a phoney birth certificate, Kenyan birth certificate blanks can be downloaded at this PDF file.  But why would anyone do that?

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