Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate for President of the United States and a House Representative from Hawaii, is one of the 10 contenders in tonight’s Democratic debate. Where is she from? What is her ethnicity? Read on for more details.
Tulsi Gabbard Was Born in American Samoa
Tulsi Gabbard was born in American Samoa and has proudly shared that she is the first Samoan-American member of Congress and the first Hindu member of Congress, Honolulu Magazine reported.
Gabbard was born on Tutuila in 1981, American Samoa’s largest island, BuzzFeed News reported. Interestingly, the UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal wrote in 2012 that “American Samoa holds the unique distinction of being the only American jurisdiction whose residents have been declared by Congress to be U.S. ‘nationals’ at birth, and not U.S. ‘citizens.'” The journal suggested that an American born on U.S. soil as a “national” might struggle with the Article II clause requiring the President be a “natural born citizen.”
A natural born citizen is typically described as someone who was a citizen from birth and never “had to go through the naturalization process,” Political Science Professor Colin Moore told BuzzFeed News shortly after Gabbard announced her intention to run for President. Moore said that most people born in American Samoa are disqualified from being President because they aren’t given birthright citizenship status by the U.S., but are considered non-citizen U.S. nationals.
The UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal concluded in 2012 that an American Samoan does have a standing for running, although it might be challenged. “An American Samoan candidate can rest assured that amidst current precedent, he has a legal and political leg to stand on if he decides to run.”
But Gabbard has another reason for qualifying. Tulsi Gabbard’s mother, Carol Gabbard, was born in Indiana. Her father, Mike Gabbard, was born in American Samoa and his father was a U.S. citizen. Tulsi is a U.S. citizen from birth based on her parents alone, BuzzFeed News concluded. U.S. law states that a person has citizenship at birth if “The person has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen; and the U.S. citizen parent meets certain residence or physical presence requirements in the United States or an outlying possession prior to the person’s birth in accordance with the pertinent provision.”
Tulsi Gabbard’s Mother is Hindu & Her Father Is Catholic
Mike Gabbard is Catholic, Hawaii News Now reported, while her mother Carol follows the Hindu faith. They’ve found a good compromise in their marriage. Carol goes to Mass and Mike participates in some religious holidays that she observes, including Janmashtami.
Mike was born in American Samoa to Benjamin Harrison Gabbard, Jr. and Agnes Yandall Gabbard. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in Adult Education. He’s one of eight children. Mike is also a songwriter, his bio shares. An earlier version of his website also mentioned that Mike was a teacher, counselor, headmaster for a private school, college administrator, tennis pro, and restaurant owner.
Carol is from Decatur, Indiana but grew up in Michigan. Carol’s former political website mentioned that she had a bachelor’s in speech therapy, was a former teacher, and had tutoring and homeschooling experience.