ALENA MULHERN is the first person to declare her candidacy for President of the United States … in 2040. The Chinese American 10-year old girl is looking 25 years into the future because she has her eyes set on the White House’s Oval Office.
The only thing preventing her from running for President is the U.S. Constitution, which clearly states that only someone born in the United States is eligible for the highest office in the land.
Alena was born in China and adopted by her parents when she was 10 months old. No big deal; Alena launched a campaign to change the Constitution.
She started her campaign at the Massachusetts States House on Wednesday (Oct. 28). “I’m American as you,” she told a TV reporter.
As the law stands now, children adopted from abroad by Americans are automatically granted citizenship by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The act, however, does not grant them the status of natural-born citizens, making them ineligible to run for the Oval Office.
Alena’s mother, Barbara Mulhern Caparell of Kingston, Mass., told the local channel that she remembers when she first told her daughter that she wasn’t legally allowed to be president. “She said, ‘Well, that’s not fair.’ And I said, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ And she said, ‘I’m going to change the law.’”
A petition addressing the issue has been filed by Rep. Josh Cutler from Duxbury, who happens to be her uncle. Alena also spoke in front of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs to convince the lawmakers to pass a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that would allow America’s patriotic, foreign-born citizens the opportunity to compete for their country’s highest office.“I would be a great leader and bring people together. I would guide our country so it would be an even greater place to live, work and raise a family. And most of all, I love my country. I want to serve my country, and this is my country,” she said.The committee will now review the petition before making a recommendation to the legislature and opening it up to a vote. If Gov. Charlie Baker signs off on it, it would send a message to Congress, which would then have the option to act on the issue either by amending the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 or taking the much harder route of amending the Constitution.
In a phone interview with Boston Magazine, Cutler said that his niece as a “very poised” fifth-grader who loves to discuss current events and public service.
“She was kind of heartbroken to learn she wasn’t eligible to run for office because of this technicality,” he said.
Should Alena succeed on her quest, she’ll be eligible to run for president in 2040 at the earliest, because another constitutional amendment requires presidents to be at least 35 years old. That should be time enough for a determined 10-year-old to change the 240 year old law. I wouldn’t bet against her.