Presidential Campaign

I am running for president (well, if I were eligible)

Greg Nash

After much consideration, I have decided to join the legion of 2016 primary candidates. It is time we get American democracy back on track.

My candidacy will run under the Democratic banner, both to avoid the GOP’s circus primary (e.g., Donald Trump) and because Republicans already have an impressive diversity of candidates, a bad situation for Democrats’ supposedly superior outreach to communities of color.

{mosads}Some critics may argue that birth in the U.S. assures loyalty — it doesn’t, given, for example, Gen. Benedict Arnold’s switch to the British during the American Revolution or the FBI’s Robert Hanssen spying for the Soviets.

Of course, under Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, a president must be a “natural born citizen” and be at least 35 years old. I am neither a U.S citizen nor 35 years old, so an official candidacy is currently not possible.

But even though I can’t make a run for the White House, I can still demand genuine leadership from my next president.

So often, we hear candidates of both parties utter the same talking point that “they will call on Congress to act on immigration,” a futile demand given that Congress’ ability to legislate has been crumbling; despite the backing of Republican and Democratic presidents and a broad coalition of the American people over the past decade, Congress hasn’t had the ability to get legislation to the president’s desk.

The presidency is about boldly exercising every last drop of executive power — unlike President Obama’s partial use of his powers on immigration — to justly improve the lives of all hardworking Americans; it is not about White House residency for a wealthy or Ivy League figurehead.

Indeed, the White House is not made for excuses or the timid; the country needs an intrepid president with real-life experience who will not be contaminated by the Beltway virus that ultimately drags everyone into a legislative black hole from which no policy, light or joy can escape.

No, good sirs and madams, the presidency is made for men and women who are built out of Chuck Norris.

There is criticism from the far right, clamoring that a president acting on immigration is in violation of the Constitution or acting like a tyrant. However, as retired Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, an immigration law expert and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient has stated, “The Immigration and Nationality Act and other laws are full of huge grants of statutory authority to the president. Congress gave the president all these powers. … Other presidents have used the same authority in the past without an outcry.”

With so many Americans frustrated with today’s political bickering at the federal level, hopefully one day the country will pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the archaic presidential requirement to be born in the U.S and see a new generation of bold leaders that can serve in the White House.

“We can do better than just the Bushes and Clintons,” one voter in Nevada recently told me.

Only when everyone can have a chance to become president of the United States, regardless of immigration background, can we will fully realize the American dream.

This piece has been corrected after the inadvertent omission of a word.

Vargas is co-director of the Dream Action Coalition and a national advocate for immigration reform.

Tags Donald Trump Immigration Immigration reform natural-born citizen presidential eligibility

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