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Bryan Fischer

One of the most pernicious distortions of the plain meaning of the Constitution is the conceit that U.S. citizenship automatically belongs to anyone born in America.

It doesn’t.

A correct interpretation and application of the 14th Amendment makes this clear. This amendment, ratified in 1868, was enacted for one simple purpose: to grant citizenship to former slaves who had been born on American soil. The 13th Amendment abolished the institution of slavery, and the 14th Amendment granted American citizenship to the emancipated slaves. Citizenship had been denied them by the dreadful Dred Scott decision of 1857.

Here’s how the first sentence of the 14th Amendment reads (emphasis mine throughout):

 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.

It’s not enough simply to be born on U.S. soil. One must also “be subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States when it happens. No child born to illegal aliens is subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. for the simple reason that his parents aren’t.

This is why the children of diplomats, children born in America, are never considered citizens by birth. Because their parents are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, neither are they.

This is not complicated. Illegal aliens by definition are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. They, like diplomats, are “subject to the jurisdiction” of their homeland. Illegal aliens are called “illegal” aliens for the precise reason that they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, which is why they can be be deported once apprehended. Legally and constitutionally, their children are no more “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. than their parents are.

Daniel Sobieski points out that Rep. John Bingham of Ohio, considered the father of the 14th Amendment, explained the language of the amendment this way: “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your constitution itself a natural born citizen…”

As Liz Peek writes:

The United States is one of only two developed countries in the world that still bestows citizenship on every person born on our nation’s soil. Having a child become a U.S. citizen is the greatest reward possible for someone who enters the country illegally. Such status is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in free education and benefits, not to mention the incalculable value of our country’s security and freedoms. Historically, there was bipartisan enthusiasm for dumping this program; even Democrat Harry Reid had proposed its termination.

Sobieski also points out that if everybody understood that citizenship was granted by birth alone, why did it take an act of Congress in 1922 – 54 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment – to grant citizenship to American Indians, everyone of whom had been born on American soil?

The Heritage Foundation estimated some time ago that the average illegal alien consumes $32,000 per year of welfare benefits while contributing but $10,000 to the economy. The cost of illegal immigration, especially when chain migration is added to the mix, is staggering, and it’s made worse by dangling the carrot of lifelong citizenship for the children of border trespassers.

It’s no wonder that “birth tourism” is a thing. Birth tourism is when pregnant women from all over the world time a trip to the U.S. just to give birth to their child on American soil.

To get rid of birthright citizenship, we do not need to amend the Constitution. We only need to apply it. And the sooner, the better.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Northwest Connection.)


One Response to Let’s put birthright citizenship out of our misery

  • 1. American Indians were, and still are, members of a sovereign nation within a sovereign nation; therefore they are a needful exception to the rule of being born in this country granting citizenship, and the act by Congress to grant them citizenship in 1922 is appropriate.

    2. We have to look at the likelihood that it makes perfect sense and is the right thing to do, from a legal standpoint, to allow DACA kids now grown to go for citizenship if they want. Here’s why:

    Obama’s endless executive orders became law because it was easy for him to get away with them and Congress and the courts supported him and them. Unconstitutional acts have to be dealt with in the manner of our times. Consider pre-Emancipation Proclamation days: the laws regarding slave holding were ruthless and lousy, but they were also upheld; once the Civil War was over and full emancipation was achieved, were we supposed to go after previous slave holders and deal with them as if the prior laws never should have happened? They did. Only lawless men with vengeance on their agendas–on either side–broke laws to punish those they disagreed with. Remember that Lincoln wanted to bind up the wounds of the country; therefore, the way I see it, the thinking by evil people was that he had to be assassinated. If it hadn’t been Booth, it would have been someone else because vengeance was oh so lucrative for too many people, one way or another, and Lincoln was going to get in their way.

    Consider another scenario: I am foursquare against abortion on demand; it should *never* have been made the law of this land, but it was; so if we ever successfully repeal it, does that mean it’s open season on those who perpetuated it when it was lawful? Vengeance is *Whose*? Keep that in mind.

    On DACA: it’s been the unConstitutional law of our land for years; shouldn’t have been, but it was; it’s bad business in many ways. Many citizens are proposing open season on the erstwhile children–who’ve mostly known no other country than ours–to send those children–now adults–back to where their parents left. Coyotes: I have no problem with prosecuting them because we’ve most always had immigration laws that are meant to prevent that kind of behavior; we just haven’t been allowed to follow them very much at all for a long time. My point is that we have to start from where we are because we allowed too much bad stuff to happen by consistently voting in lousy representatives. So now, we look at each DACA person’s record: has he/she been a decent person, law-abiding regardless of the law-breaking of their parents and coyotes? Then they get to stay. Period. The rest of their families? No. The kids were merely the hook in the first place, to get all the family members here by greasing the immigration skids for them once the kids were illegally brought across the border, so that there’d be another mass of new Democrats–and cheap labor for Republicans.

    Steps towards citizenship for the DACA “kids” should be allowed, based on the pseudo-legalities of this mess in the first place. If they want to become citizens, they do the steps in the same manner as everyone else has to do; no going to “the end of the line” because the line is endless, and it usually seems to be that it begins within their parents’ country of origin. We Americans can absorb some 600,000 or 800,000 new citizens, if they choose to become such; however, I’ll bet at least a few aren’t as pristine as the man in Houston who lost his life protecting Houstonians. We need to suck it up, get over it, and be more on top of things in the future by holding our government jurisdictions’ feet to the fires on *every* level. If we don’t do that properly, we have no right to expect Consitutional federalism as a result. We also *never* have the right to exact as individuals, or as nonelected groups, retribution–vengeance–against the innocent, even once they grow up.

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