By Joseph Arminio
WASHINGTON – Former senator and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum often has spoken of being the son of an immigrant, but information provided to WND by the candidate’s mother essentially dispels concerns that he, like Barack Obama, might not meet the Constitution’s requirement to be a “natural born citizen.”
Doubt surrounds the issue of Obama’s eligibility, based on the evidence that he has provided as well as documentation that remains missing.
His “Certificate of Live Birth” from the state of Hawaii, posted on the White House website in April, indicates he was born in the U.S. However, numerous experts have concluded the document is not genuine, and others say that even if Obama was born in Hawaii, he still would not meet the Constitution’s requirement for presidents.
The critics assert that if the document is genuine, it shows his father, Barack Obama Sr., was not a U.S. citizen.
The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “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
Many scholars believe that the authors of the Constitution, who applied the
“natural born” requirement to no other office, defined a natural-born
citizen as someone who was born of U.S. citizen parents.
Other significant documentation for Obama that remains concealed includes his kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental college records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records and his adoption records.
Dozens of lawsuits, including those brought by former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, have challenged Obama’s eligibility, without success to date. But
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has formed a posse of five to investigate whether Obama is eligible to be placed on the upcoming Arizona presidential ballot.
In the midst of the uproar over Obama’s eligibility in June, Santorum, the self-acknowledged son of an Italian immigrant, declared for the presidency but did not address his own eligibility for the presidency.
In September, Santorum told WND that the issue of Obama’s eligibility “was solved.”
“If there’s evidence to the contrary [showing Obama is not eligible], they should bring it forth,” he said.
Santorum, at the time, said, “I don’t think that’s what the Constitution requires, and [Obama] was born in the country, so it doesn’t matter.”
Questions had remained about Santorum’s status, based on his repeated references to his immigrant father.
But Catherine Santorum, the former senator’s mother, told WND, “I was born in the country; I have my birth certificate, and I have the citizenship papers of my husband Aldo,” Rick Santorum’s father.
She said published reports that place Aldo Santorum in U.S. military uniform from 1942 to 1946 are correct.
“He was in the Army Air Corps, in India and elsewhere. And I
have records of that too,” she said.
As she evidently was born in the country, and Rick Santorum’s father would have been granted citizenship based on his military service long before the former senator’s birth in 1958, the evidence strongly indicates Santorum’s eligibility.
His campaign declined to respond to WND requests for comment.
The testimony of Catherine Santorum regarding her son’s eligibility for president was sought after public records in Somerset and Mifflin counties in Pennsylvania and the Department of Defense yielded no definitive answer.
These public records reveal that father Aldo Santorum was one of more than eight million Americans who served in uniform in World War II, yet the Department of Defense made available on the Internet the war service records of only several hundred thousands, Aldo Santorum not among them. And there was no record that Aldo Santorum obtained citizenship in Somerset County, Pa., the logical place where Aldo Santorum’s father, Pietro, could have automatically conferred it on him by taking the oath of allegiance. Rick Santorum’s grandfather departed from Riva del Garda, Italy, and arrived in New York in 1923, being “lawfully admitted,” according to the official Certificate of Arrival of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Naturalization, a copy of which is in the possession of WND. Pietro ultimately moved to Somerset County and there, in 1927, he renounced allegiance to any foreign power, according to another document obtained by WND. Aldo, also born in Italy, came to the U.S. at the age of 7 in 1930 with his mother, but no documents yet confirm his status at that time or up to his apparent departure for war in 1942.
However, Catherine’s statements affirm Aldo’s citizenship a few years later.
On Rick Santorum’s mother’s side, the records show that Dominic Dughi, an Italian citizen and grandfather of Catherine Santorum, arrived in Mifflin County, Pa., in 1893 after having entered the country legally through New York. In 1899, Dughi made a Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen, according to the Mifflin County court record, a copy of which WND obtained. But the subsequent confirmation of an oath of allegiance is not available. Adam John Dughi, Dominic’s son and the father of Catherine Santorum, may or may not have been an Italian citizen at the time of his birth. He later married Mayme Keane in 1916. Their child, Catherine, was presumably born in the U.S.
The dispute over Obama arose during the campaign for the 2008 election. As far back as March 2009, the FBI noted a “crescendo” of public concern over Obama’s eligibility and warned that if he is indeed discovered ineligible, then a “constitutional crisis” could ensue and civil unrest occur. By June 2011, polls showed that half of Americans did not believe he is eligible to be president, and 28 percent of Democrats believed he needed to come forward with the missing documentation.
Similar concerns have been raised about U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both of whom have been mentioned as potential future presidential or vice presidential candidates.
While their offices say they qualify as “natural born,” in both cases their parents were naturalized citizens after their sons were born.
In a video explanation of the term “natural born citizen,” Dr. Herbert W. Titus, of counsel to the law firm William J. Olson, explains it most likely means the offspring of two citizen parents born in the country.
“‘Natural born citizen’ in relation to the office of president, and whether someone is eligible, was in the Constitution from the very beginning,” he said. “Another way of putting it: There is a law of the nature of citizenship. If you are a natural born citizen, you are a citizen according to the law of nature, not according to any positive statement in a Constitution or in a statute, but because of the very nature of your birth and the very nature of nations.”
If you “go back and look at what the law of nature would be or would require … that’s precisely what a natural born citizen is …. is one who is born to a father and mother each of whom is a citizen of the U.S. or whatever other country…”
Additional research by Jillian MacMath