Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthright Citizenship - Do you agree with the GOP?

(Please note:  There's a poll at the end of the post.  Don't forget to vote.)

The "birthright citizenship" provision of the 14th Amendment pertained to slavery:
The 14th was designed to ensure that all former slaves were granted automatic United States citizenship, and that they would have all the rights and privileges as any other citizen. The amendment passed Congress on June 13, 1866, and was ratified on July 9, 1868 (757 days).
Illegal aliens are not slaves, but under the 14th Amendment, if they have a child on American soil, that child is granted United States citizenship.

According to an article in TheHill.com:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told The Hill on Monday that Congress “ought to take a look at” changing the 14th Amendment, which gives the children of illegal immigrants a right to U.S. citizenship.
McConnell’s statement signals growing support within the GOP for the controversial idea, which has also recently been touted by Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
The idea of repealing the 14th Amendment has picked up steam among conservatives in recent weeks. Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced legislation to deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants. The legislation, previously introduced by retired Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), has 93 co-sponsors.
Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) is the highest-ranking House Republican to formally co-sponsor the measure.
(Personal note:  I find it ironic that Lindsey Grahamnesty is pushing for this.)

How many "anchor babies" are born in the United States and become American citizens by default?  The EU Times asks the same question, and reports:
How many children of illegal immigrants are born in the US each year?
No one really knows.
But in April, the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington-based, nonpartisan organization, released a report that estimated the number of children of illegal immigrants, who received citizenship by birth on U.S. soil, has risen by nearly 50 percent from 2.7 million in 2003 to 4 million in 2008. One-third of those children live in poverty, which is nearly double the poverty rate for children of US-born parents.
EU Times also reports that there are about 30 nations with similar "birthright citizenship" policies as the U.S.:
It’s not an exclusively American practice. Worldwide, about 30 nations (mostly in the Western Hemisphere) have similar birthright citizenship policy. Citizenship based on where a person is born, is called jus soli, which is Latin for “right of the soil.”
But jus soli is primarily a New World right. Today, there are no European nations that grant jus soli. Most countries in Europe use a jus sanguinis policy, which determines citizenship based on having an ancestor who is a citizen.
A list of countries, by population, that grant birthright citizenship includes the United States; Brazil; Pakistan ; Mexico; Colombia; Argentina; Canada ; Peru; Venezuela; Malaysia ; Chile; Ecuador; Guatemala ; Dominican Republic; Bolivia ; Honduras; Paraguay; El Salvador; Nicaragua ; Panama; Uruguay; Jamaica; Lesotho ; Trinidad and Tobago; Fiji; Guyana; Belize ; Barbados; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Grenada; Antigua and Barbuda; Dominica; and Saint Christopher and Nevis.
Another reason to consider amending the Constitution in regards to "birthright citizenship" is brought up in a comment left at the National Review Online:
"...As somebody who has adjudicated over 30,000 nonimmigrant visas in Latin America, the Middle East, and West Africa, I can assure you that this is a problem everywhere in the world. There are vast, vast numbers of women traveling to the U.S. solely to obtain citizenship for her child. It serves as a huge magnet and does us great harm (economically, national security, etc.)  In many of these cases, these women have absolutely no connection whatsoever to the U.S. In the worst of cases, these children become true threats to our country. While serving at a post in the Middle East (in a country where American diplomats have been killed in cold blood by terrorists), I came across countless cases of teenagers and young men (and women) who carried a U.S. passport but had never been in the U.S. outside of the 6 weeks they spent on our soil right after being born. One can easily imagine the threat this poses to our country...."
(It's worth going to the website to read the entire comment and a few others that pertain to ending "birthright citizenship".)

So not only does "birthright citizenship" put a serious financial burden on the United States, it is also a threat to our national security.

I do not believe it is hypocritical for conservatives to want to change the Constitution, even after we claim we must follow the Constitution and the original intent of the Founding Fathers.  The Founders made it possible for the Constitution to be amended if necessary. I think the destruction of our economy and the threat to  national security make a great case for amending our Constitution.  "Birthright citizenship" is a magnet for those who want to take advantage of the "benefits" of US citizenry and a magnet to those who may do us harm.   I don't think the Founders would object to amending our Constitution in this case...I think they would agree.

Here's an interesting website that addresses the Original Intent of the 14th Amendment.
This is an excerpt addressing the phrase in the 14th Amendment that causes much controversy:
The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was intended to exclude American-born persons from automatic citizenship whose allegiance to the United States was not complete. With illegal aliens who are unlawfully in the United States, their native country has a claim of allegiance on the child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship.
With the Dems in charge and in need of votes, it will be interesting to see how far this push for reviewing the 14th Amendment will go.  I sure hope the Republicans are serious about this and not just saying it because they think it's what we want to hear. It's been tried before with no success.
Bills challenging the citizenship provision have been proposed multiple times in recent years without success--former Rep. Nathan Deal, who's running for governor of Georgia, submitted such an idea last year, and Rep. Ron Paul did so in 2007 without success.

I'm also not sold on Lindsey Graham's sincere pursuit of this issue.  He is a RINO of the first degree and had been working with the Obama Regime on immigration reform up until just a few months ago.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't think this is going to solve the illegal alien immigration problem.  I think that by taking "birthright citizenship" off of the table, some illegals will think twice before crossing the border.  It may not be worth the trouble.  Maybe even a better argument would be that the end of "birthright citizenship" is a plus in the fight for our national security. 


  1. The founders didn't write the 14th Amendment - that's the first problem. Had they done so we probably wouldn't be in this mess. So there is no problem with rewriting it so that it says what is truly meant. It was never intended to allow "anchor" babies. Those children should have always been considered citizens of whatever country their parents were citizens of. Personally? I have no problem with changing the language to better articulate exactly what is meant by the term "US citizen", and when one is considered a US citizen.

  2. Well, you have convinced me. It sounds like the 14th amendment needs some amending.

  3. HBS:
    I agree with you. Now the big question is...will anything come of the GOP actions to change it. As long as the Dems are in charge, I seriously doubt it.

  4. Opie:
    We are our own worst enemy. This should have been changed a long time ago.

  5. TCL, I need to go back and revise my stats on the number of anchor babies born here. Your figure is far higher than mine and yours make more sense.

    I don't think there is a need to change much in the 14th Amendment because no where does it say that the children of illegals will be citizens. I think there is a need to clean-up one Judge's ruling, and then repeal (or however it's done) the 1982 ruling about schools mandated to take and fund the children of illegals.

    Great overview of a subject that has been muddled in so many ways.

  6. I'm with Opus, Amending it might be the best course. Since the relevant section was attended for former slaves, I think we can say "mission accomplished," and move on.

  7. Hi Maggie:
    Funny, I had to use an EU article to get the stats on anchor babies in the US. Sometimes I think the foreign press is more honest about us than we are.
    It would seem like a no-brainer that the 14th Amendment does not apply to illegal aliens. Too bad that something so "simple" to remedy has been allowed to fester for so long.

  8. Matt:
    You'd think it was that easy. Only in a sane world.

  9. Great post. I'm in favor of repealing the 14th.

    When we're done with that, we can repeal the 16th and the 17th.f

  10. Curtailing 'anchor babies' is common sense, in addition to the legal basis that describes 'fruit of the poisonous tree.'

    'Fruit of the poisonous tree' is a legal metaphor in the United States used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence (the "tree") is tainted, then anything gained from it (the "fruit") is as well.

    Once an illegal person enters (invades) the U.S., all of their activies can also be considered illegal, including having babies on U.S. soil.

    The 14th ammendment should be revised to accommodate this invasion currently underway as I write this.

  11. RK:
    I think you are asking for a miracle.

  12. Fredd:
    "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree". That certainly describes it. Revising the 14th Amendment to stop birthright citizenship makes sense - common sense - which the leaders of this country do not have.

  13. I have no problem doing away with the 14th amendment (or the 16th or the 17th). The 18th was no peach either and we managed to do away with that one.

    The 14th no longer serves its purpose and is being abused by illegal aliens, some of whom want to harm this country.

  14. Hi Kristin:
    I think anything we can do to discourage illegals from coming into the country should be done. The 14th Amendment (at the least) needs to be changed to make it clear that there is no birthright citizenship for babies of illegal aliens. Spell it out clearly and distinctly because over the years it's been misinterpreted.

  15. This was refreshing. I wished I could read every post, but i have to go back to work now... But I'll return.
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  16. Kit:
    Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Come back soon.


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