Michelle Obama tried to register to run for President in 2020 with the Secretary of State’s office this morning, the first step on a long to-do list to get a person on the ballot. Once certified as a potential candidate, the process of gathering signatures and getting on the ballots in the individual states begins. The State Department’s only job is to make sure that the candidate meets the three constitutional requirements to be president.
The first she meets easily. She is over thirty-five-years-old. The second she also meets having been born in the United Sates. The third requirement, one few people think about, is where she came up short. You must be a resident “within the united states” for 14 years before you’re eligible. Why she doesn’t qualify is partly how she was raised but mostly of her own doing.
As a child, Michelle Obama’s legal residence was in the British Virgin Islands. Her parents kept it that way so she would be eligible for immigrant status and special consideration for schooling. Between birth and age 22, when she graduated college, Michelle Obama had only racked up two years of legal, US residency.
After college, in order to avoid paying taxes, she kept an address in the Cayman Islands from which she filed all of her tax returns. Therefore, none of the years between the time she graduated and the time she became First Lady count either. While in the White House, the Obamas filed joint returns, giving her another seven years of residency. At nine years of residency, she is ineligible to be president. She will qualify in 2021, meaning she will miss the next cycle.