While the background to passage of the Fourteenth Amendment is interesting—even, perhaps, fascinating, it isn’t relevant to the issue brought to us by President Donald J. Trump, who is considering an Executive Order denying birthright citizenship to the so-called tourist babies. Also called anchor-babies, these are children who are birthed in the United States by parents whose intent is to circumvent our immigration laws. No doubt, Mr. Trump has unleashed a firestorm on the issue of illegal immigration to the United States; his recent announcement will fuel these already existent flames. I’m glad. The denial of birthright citizenship is long overdue.
Let’s evaluate this.
There are several sections to the Fourteenth Amendment, the first of these addressing citizenship in the United States of America. It reads, “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.” Does this apply to “anchor babies?”
Read it again, this time focusing on these words: “…and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Are anchor babies subject to the jurisdiction of the United States?
I’m not sure why President Andrew Johnson opposed the amendment, but we can clearly see that the amendment, or its popular interpretation, has been nothing if not flawed when it comes to assessing the correctness of illegal aliens coming here to birth their children, and then claiming citizenship (and benefits) on behalf of those children (and their parents).
To my way of thinking, the Fourteenth Amendment is clear. Persons are citizens when they are born or naturalized in the United States AND subject to the jurisdiction thereof.
They are NOT citizens when they are born United States but are NOT subject to the jurisdiction thereof. If Jose and Maria are citizens of Mexico, who travel to the United States, they are subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico, not the United States. If Maria is pregnant when she arrives in the United States, she remains subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico. If she delivers her baby in the United States, the baby is subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico —not the United States.
Trump is not only correct to consider an Executive Order denying birthright citizenship, he is on legal grounds to do so.
Here is what Senator Jacob Howard, author of the 14th Amendment, said about birthright citizenship in 1866 and his thinking behind it. It seems that Trump can absolutely end birthright citizenship for anchor babies with an EO. Link to Library of Congress archive:
Here is a copy of a Pdf of the Congressional Globe: Birthright Citizenship (1)
Oopsie … The above post got added to today’s earlier post which was–
It’s a good one… stop on by