General Question

JackAdams's avatar

All embassies everywhere, are considered "foreign soil," in the countries where they are located. So, if a woman in Tokyo gives birth on the grounds of the American (USA) Embassy, has her baby been (in fact) born in the USA?

Asked by JackAdams (6515points) September 10th, 2008

It’s my guess that it has been born in the USA, but I don’t know that at all, which is why I am asking.

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17 Answers

robmandu's avatar

Interesting read on the concept of birthright citizenship.


The framers of the Constitution were, of course, well-versed in the British common law, having learned its essential principles from William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. As such, they knew that the very concept of citizenship was unknown in British common law. Blackstone speaks only of “birthright subjectship” or “birthright allegiance,” never using the terms citizen or citizenship. The idea of birthright subjectship is derived from feudal law. It is the relation of master and servant; all who are born within the protection of the king owe perpetual allegiance as a “debt of gratitude.” According to Blackstone, this debt is “intrinsic” and “cannot be forefeited, cancelled, or altered.” Birthright subjectship under the common law is thus the doctrine of perpetual allegiance.

America’s Founders rejected this doctrine. The Declaration of Independence, after all, solemnly proclaims that “the good People of these Colonies. . . are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” According to Blackstone, the common law regards such an act as “high treason.” So the common law—the feudal doctrine of perpetual allegiance—could not possibly serve as the ground of American (i.e., republican) citizenship. Indeed, the idea is too preposterous to entertain!

JackAdams's avatar

So, if the baby is automatically born as a USA citizen/national, then are we correct in assuming that a pregnant Mexican woman does not need to come to the USA illegally (to have her baby born on American soil) and instead can give birth on the grounds of the American (USA) Embassy in Mexico City?

flameboi's avatar

Jack, the premises within the walls of the Embassy are considered American soil thus, the woman would have to birth her child in the Health Unit of the compound
I work for a diplomatic mission so I know how this thing works

allengreen's avatar

I’ve been to the American (USA) Embassy in Mexico City, there is not way to enter without having offical business.

JackAdams's avatar

@flameboi: I was told by an Ambassador that anywhere inside the walls of an Embassy, including the parking lot, is “foreign soil,” but that was over 20 years ago.

flameboi's avatar

@ Jack
Yes, the parking lot is within the walls of the Embassy that’s true, but it is impossible to access the compound without previous authorization.

cwilbur's avatar

Citizenship law varies by country.

In the US, you are considered an American citizen if you are born on American soil (even to people who are in the country illegally), or if you are born abroad to two American citizens (though one of the two has to have resided in the US), or if you are born abroad to one American citizen and one foreign citizen, provided the American citizen spent enough time resident in the US. And by international law, the grounds of an embassy are considered territory of the home country.

So yes, if a Mexican woman managed to give birth inside the US Embassy in Mexico City, that child would have American citizenship. Given the level of security that embassies tend to have, however, it’s likely to be difficult to accomplish that.

Now, because the Mexican government gets to define its own rules for citizenship, that hypothetical child might also be a Mexican citizen.

JackAdams's avatar

@flameboi (aka The Human Torch): Yes, embassies are pretty much impregnable.

flameboi's avatar

@ cw
That’s correct, you can have dual citizenship in the cases mentioned above, although some countries do not use such criteriia
@ Jack
You have no idea, is more like a ritual to get to your desk every morning, and I’d love to be the human torch :)

flameboi's avatar

I used to be this flameboy Jack, you know, back in the day….

JackAdams's avatar

So this part is about you?

The World Team heads to Phoenix

April 3, 2008— Phoenix Am is this weekend. So a bunch of the World team hopped into the van and headed out east with Flameboy and Wet Willy at their heels. Here’s a list of the guys that came on the trip.

flameboi's avatar

Yes! I got that nickname back in 1996, I used to have a bad temper :s then, in my early teenage years I used to skate frecuently, now, I’m behind a desk :D oh that brought back some nice memoirs :)

JackAdams's avatar

Let me guess: You have red hair, right? LOL

flameboi's avatar

@ Jack
I had red hair once, also blue, green, orange, white, blond, highlights…. phew, thank God those wild days are gone

JackAdams's avatar

We can only hope. LOL

Asplich's avatar

Since it’s just an old myth that foreign embassies are the soil of that country, no.

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