30 Rock, Birthright Citizenship, and Alexander Hamilton

February 15th, 2011

While I am on the topic of Birthright Citizenship, I chuckled at last week’s episode of 30 Rock.

Alec Baldwin brilliantly plays Jack Donaghy, an NBC executive and uber-Republican. Baldwin is married to Avery, a CNBC anchoress, and also an arch-conservative. Avery is pregnant. The couple finds themselves in Canada when Avery goes into labor. They are petrified that their child will be a Canadian citizen, and ineligible for President.

Avery: Oh my God, Jack. If our child is born here she can’t be President!

Jack: Don’t even say it! We’re having an American, and she WILL be President, no matter how ridiculous that sentence sounds.

Avery: If only we were in Kenya right now, we’d be fine. [laughs with Jack, then gasps and starts choking him]

Jack: So could our shared patriotism and our refusal to ever give up be, in this situation, a bad thing?

Avery: What are you saying, Jack?

Jack: Avery, maybe it isn’t the end of the world if our daughter is Canadian. Alexander Hamilton was born in the West Indies, and he went on to-

Avery: To what, Jack? Be a mouthpiece for federalism and then die in a duel against someone named Aaron?! Is that what you want our daughter to be? A big government… dual loser? [shakes her head with Jack]

Jack: [shakes his head with Avery] [next scene: both of them on a snowy road, hitchhiking to the USA]


Oddly enough, even though Hamilton was born in the West Indies, he was eligible to be President because he was a citizen of the United States at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. Who was a citizen of the US in 1787? See my article, Original Citizenship.