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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: MUHTAR KENT - SOON TO BE CEO

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CEO week continues here at Immigrant of the Day. Earlier in the week, Coca Cola announced that it was replacing Irish-born E. Neville Isdelle as Chief Executive Officer with American-born Muhtar Kent. When I read Mr. Kent's biography however, something struck me as odd. Mr. Kent only lived in the US for a few years and was raised in Turkey. He was educated in Europe and is said to be a dual US-Turkish national. But presumably, he's not an immigrant because he was born in the US, right?



Actually, that's very likely not the case in Mr. Kent's situation. You see, his father was the Turkish Consul-General in New York at the time he was born. And children of diplomats do not attain birthright citizenship as is the case with 99.9999% of other children of immigrants born in this country. I cannot say with absolute certainty that Mr. Kent is a naturalized citizen of the US, the odds are extremely high that he is.



Mr. Kent began his career at Coca Cola in the US as a young man, was transferred back to Turkey to run Coca Cola's operations there in 1985 and was promoted to higher positions until he left the company in 1999 as its vice president of international operations. He headed up a Turkish beverage company for the next few years and then rejoined Coca Cola in 2005 and has overseen Coke's non-US operations for the past two years. Coke announced this week that Kent will become the company's leader on July 1, 2008.



Interestingly, Mr. Kent's father Necdet Kent is known as the Turkish Oskar Schindler for helping to rescue dozens of Jews from Nazi persecution.

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Comments

  1. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "And children of diplomats do not attain birthright citizenship"


    How does that square with the Constitution?

    I thought the reason children born to illegal immigrants were given citizenship was because they were born on US soil.
  2. legal-forever-waiting-forever's Avatar
    it's one of the weird things
    diplomats live in a "bubble"
    remmeber they also do not pay taxes on most things and are not subject to prosecution...so that special "state" then also does not allow many priveleges. in fact embassies are technically foreign terrotory are they not?

    i see your point though.
  3. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "diplomats live in a "bubble" ... embassies are technically foreign terrotory "

    The embassies are foreign territory, true. But, unless the children are born within the walls of the embassy I don't see how this squares with the Constitution.

    I don't think it is fair that children of illegal immigrants are defacto US citizens. However, it is the law of the land and I accept that. The Constitution is about the big picture. If we start denying children of illegal immigrants citizenship - where will it stop? We must endure some bad for the greater good when it comes to the Constitution. This is exactly why we allow the KKK and other hate groups to march through towns. If we deny them freedom of speech, where will it stop?

    In short, I don't think it is Constitional to deny someone born in the United States citizenship - including the children of diplomats. The only way to do this is with an amendment. I don't think I would support such an amendment because of the slippery slope.
  4. USC's Avatar
    "We must endure some bad for the greater good"

    Well done! Well put! Incidentally, that is my argument against Basic & National IDs. Sure, those who want to make life difficult for those illegally here will achieve that goal but US citizens will also be damaged. If both these things are implemented every lowly govie official will be able to look up any USCs home address & place of employment. Do we really need or want that?

    "In short, I don't think it is Constitional to deny someone born in the United States citizenship - including the children of diplomats."

    FYI, This is what the relevant portion of the constitution says:

    "Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

    Since diplomats and their families (including children) can't be prosecuted by the US even if they murder someone while in the US (usually in situations like this the foreign country will waive diplomatic immunity) their children are considered not being subject to the jurisdiction of the US and hence constitutionally ineligible for birthright citizenship.

    "I don't think I would support such an amendment because of the slippery slope."

    I agree entirely!


  5. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "AND subject to the jurisdiction thereof"

    Are you sure children and spouses of diplomats are also extended immunity?

    OK, I'm a software engineer so it does appear that those who wrote the constitution put in an AND clause. I didn't realize they knew boolean ;-) OK, geek joke.

    I think I watched a Steven Segal movie that explored this issue ;-) Segal "revoked" the immunity of the diplomat's son at the end of the movie. Meaning he was shot dead. I think that was a Segal movie, anyways.
  6. het Stratumseind's Avatar
    The Employment Resource Center is comprised of both the Student Employment Office and the Employment Resource Center.
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