Off My Mind: Is Superman a Legal Resident of Earth?
What about claiming to be American as Clark Kent? Are Jonathan and Martha Kent guilty of committing fraud? There's also the question of how they came to be his legal guardians. I know in the early comics Clark was actually taken to an orphanage and later adopted by the Kents. In the later comics the Kents claimed Clark was their own child. Where did Clark get his birth certificate and social security number from?
Superman tries holding himself above the law but is he guilty himself of breaking several himself?
== TEASER ==
Let's be clear that this is just about Superman. I don't want this to turn into a racist argument. That's not why we're here. The world wouldn't be what it is without immigrants. The problem is, Superman did not go through an actual legal route. You can become a citizen by law or by birth. Superman did neither of these. As Clark, he may have met the legal requirements of residing continuously in the United States, as well as being a person of good moral character, has the ability to read, write, speak and understand English and has knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of U.S. History and government. But again, he never applied to become a citizen.
As Superman, everyone knows he's an alien. Has anyone wondered where Superman lives? Do they assume he lives up north in the Fortress Of Solitude? Without knowing about his fraudulent life as Clark, they would have to wonder where Superman hangs out when not saving the world. I'm sure pretty much any nation would offer Superman citizenship due to all the great deeds his done, but has he ever actually been offered citizenship?
Should it be overlooked that Superman has been lying since he's saved the world so often or is it time for Superman to do the right thing and stand up for immigration laws?
In Smallville, Lionel Luthor arranged all of the forgery of documents so that it would appear as though Clark was legitimately a citizen.. Maybe there was some sort of benevolent being that helped them when they were starting out in the comics too? Although it's probably more likely Superboy super-hacked the computer systems he needed to to become legit, lol
When I'm not working I can give a longer legal analysis on this but it should be noted that the Byrne version used the birthing matrix to avoid the issue making him a naturalized citizen by birth ("jus soli" type citizenship under Title 8 US Code Sec. 1401). I'm not 100% clear on which origin story is binding right now. Birthright does not use the matrix and Secret Origin does not have the rocket scene (yet) from either set of parents' perspective... but if the rocket shape is meant to cite the earlier origin then that too would lack the matrix.
So... at least during Man Of Steel it was a consideration.
When I have time I'll explain the consequences and his options if under another origin.
Well considering the Kent family have passed him off as their own child, I am pretty sure they got all the legal documents they needed, because he is "their" son. So Clark Kent is most definitely a legal citizen... and no one questions Superman because he's not just a citizen of the US he is a citizen of the world at large. Hell even the Soviet Russians... and Communist China acknowledges him as a hero and they were all evil back in good old days of comics.
We've seen that Smallville doesn't always follow the Superman stories, so I guess that could be pretty much irrelevant.
" In Smallville, Lionel Luthor arranged all of the forgery of documents so that it would appear as though Clark was legitimately a citizen.. Maybe there was some sort of benevolent being that helped them when they were starting out in the comics too? Although it's probably more likely Superboy super-hacked the computer systems he needed to to become legit, lol "
Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, he would have been granted citizenship, as he had been legally adopted by the Kents, who were American citizens, but he was over the age of 18 on February 27, 2001.
I am guessing he was issued a "Baby Doe" birth certificate at the orphanage, and as such was registered as and American birth (falsely) before the adoption. If anything, the Kents committed fraud by not revealing the origin of the child (being a suspected alien).
Being an attorney I can tell you that citizenship is determined by one's domicile. As Superman, his domicile would obviously be the Fortress of Solitude. This is because domicile is typically determined by physical presence with an intent to remain indefinitely, I think it could be argued that Superman satisfies both of those requirements. As Clark Kent, if you assume that he was supposed to be the Kent's naturally born child, domicile and citizenship for that matter are irrelevant because he would have been born an American citizen. While the Kent's may be liable for some type of fraud, Clark would most likely not as he was an infant and unaware of the subject. Great question, but it brings up the traditional one about Superman in general, is he Clark or is he Superman? I vote for Superman.
I always just choose to think that the Kents figured that out and the writers didn't feel like it was an exciting enough story. Although today he would be a US Citizen by marriage wouldn't he? Even if they tracked him down he's married to Lois who is a US Citizen. Wouldn't that work?
It should be completely overlooked. It would be considered "biting the hand that helps you" no doubt about it. If Americans don't hold up to their own laws then why should they expect it from those that go to live there and tries to hold up the laws almost by himself. Besides that there are many citizens that live there but are not going under the names they were born with. During the Death of Superman arc they did say that even though he was an alien he was an American so he was to be buried as such by the president when some scientists wanted his body.
If they ever made that into a storyline I hope they add he moves to Canada because up here we wouldn't mind. lol
Of course Superman is a legal resident of Earth, why wouldn't he be? He was legally adopted by The Kents and was then, as TerryMcC mentioned, made into a citizen of Earth and all its nations by The U.N. and allowed to cross over any border without restraint. That information alone should be more than enough to convince everyone that he is indeed a legal resident of Earth.
Well lets think about this, Golden age superman got to earth during ( or was it before ) world war one where the US policy for imigration is that if you could get to america and work you were a citizen. In that calse olf Kal-L is a legit US citizen. Kal-el. Well maby he did the paperwork after locking up his first bad guys, you know just to make sure that they could get into prison..... maby.......
In the John Byrne Man of Steel tales, Jonathan and Martha passed him off as their birth son. Their was a huge snow storm (caused by the Manhunters-- see Milennium mini), and Smallville was snowed in for months. The story the Kents used was that Clark was born during that time. So he has a birth certificate and everything.
Case closed. Let's move on now, shall we? :)
"In the John Byrne Man of Steel tales, Jonathan and Martha passed him off as their birth son. Their was a huge snow storm (caused by the Manhunters-- see Milennium mini), and Smallville was snowed in for months. The story the Kents used was that Clark was born during that time. So he has a birth certificate and everything. Case closed. Let's move on now, shall we? :) "
absloutely, i couldn't have said it better myself
Please Log In to post.
This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.
Comment and Save
Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.