Why this 10-year-old girl wants to change US Constitution

Alena Mulhern lives in Massachusetts and wants to become the president of the United States. But she was born in China. 

REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle dance on a replica of the presidential seal at the Commander-in-Chiefs Inaugural Ball in Washington, January 20, 2009. Barack Obama took power as the first black U.S. president on Tuesday and quickly turned the page on the Bush years, urging Americans to rally to end the worst economic crisis in generations and repair the U.S. image abroad.

A 10-year-old girl who was born in China wants lawmakers to change the Constitution so she can run for president.

WBZ-TV reports that Alena Mulhern testified on Wednesday before a Massachusetts State House committee that everyone should have the opportunity to lead the country. Alena was adopted from China and moved to Kingston, Mass. when she was 10 months old.

"I am an American as much as you are and everyone else. And I don’t really remember China that much. All I know is America,” she told WBZ-TV.

Only natural-born citizens can be eligible for the presidency.

Alena is trying to persuade state lawmakers to pass a resolution asking the U.S. Congress to amend the Constitution to state that natural-born citizens include foreign-born adopted children.

She asked the committee to consider "all the great candidates" who cannot serve their country due to "a law that came into existence more than 200 years ago."

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution mandates that one be either a "natural born citizen" or a citizen at the time of the Constitution's adoption in 1787 to be eligible for the presidency. 

As Brian Levin wrote in an opinion piece for The Christian Science Monitor in 2004 when the Austria-born actor and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was mooted as a possible presidential candidate:

Early in its history, America was a small, fledgling, untested democracy. For some, the prospect of a foreign-born president with ties to a more powerful and less democratic regime meant untenable risks, not only in the area of diplomacy and the fragile economy, but to domestic interreligious and class relations as well. 

However, the United States of 2004 is hardly the nation it was over two centuries ago in terms of influence, wealth, population, power, equality, and the presence of an informed electorate

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