Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on the Restrictionist Crusade Against Citizenship for Undocumented Children


The anti-immigration crusade to scrap birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented aliens has drawn some surprising allies recently. Among them is columnist George Will, a constitutional strict constructionist, who nevertheless wants to rewrite the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship. Will maintains that if the authors of the amendment had foreseen the problem of illegal immigration, they would never have enshrined this right in the Constitution.

But as Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia argues in her latest column at The Daily, by this logic, conservatives like Will should simply tear up the Constitution and start anew. After all:

Would the Founders have written the First Amendment enshrining the freedom of the press if they had known that the Internet would one day allow WikiLeaks to release classified documents and jeopardize soldiers on the battlefield? Or the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms in a world of cop-killing bullets? Or the Fourth Amendment's injunction against improper searches and seizures in an age of terrorism? Or the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against government takings of private property when rare species are facing extinction?  

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