Born in the USA: Bobby Jindal throws his hat in

by Yeung  May 9, 2011 09:59 IST

#2012 U.S. Elections   #Bobby Jindal   #White House  

In an indication that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal may be throwing his hat in the ring for the U.S. presidency in 2012, Jindal's office released the governor’s birth certificate on Friday.

The U.S. Constitution requires presidential candidates to be natural-born citizens, an issue that reached a fever pitch last month when U.S. President Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate in response to the so-called “birther” movement, which questions the legitimacy of Obama’s birthright citizenship.

Bobby Jindal in the White House dining room. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Nine days after Obama confirmed his birth in Hawaii—and the birthers became the butt of numerous jokes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner a few days later—Jindal, who is Indian American, provided documentation of his birth in Louisiana.

Jindal's birth certificate states that he was born at 12:27 p.m. on June 10, 1971. His parents lived on campus housing at Louisian State University (LSU) at the time, and he was named Piyush Jindal.

Politico reports that Jindal’s office said it released the document upon request “after being asked whether Jindal’s eligibility to run for office would be affected by a ‘birthright citizenship’ bill introduced by a fellow Louisiana Republican, U.S. Sen. David Vitter.”

Vitter's bill would limit automatic U.S. citizenship to children whose parents were legal residents.

Though Jindal categorically insisted in 2010 that he was not running for president in 2012, political observers consider him to be a potential Republican candidate in the next election.

Arriving in utero

According to the Times-Picayune newspaper, Jindal’s parents arrived in 1971 with green cards for permanent residency, and the governor has described their path to the United States in his 2010 book Leadership and Crisis.

Jindal’s father, a professor of engineering in India, secured a green card in early 1971 by methodically working his way through the American Yellow Pages. “Starting with the A's, he made cold calls to local business in his heavily accented English, eventually landing a job offer at a railroad," the governor wrote in Leadership and Crisis. (Jindal's father now works for an engineering firm called URS Corporation.)

Meanwhile, Jindal’s mother was offered a scholarship in 1970 by LSU to finish her graduate studies in nuclear physics. She completed two master's degrees from LSU; she is currently the director of information technology for the state’s Department of Labor.