Immigration

The Bogus Case Against Birthright Citizenship

Anti-immigration hysteria has blinded conservatives to their own principles

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Like gout, anti-immigration restrictionism is a perennial affliction that comes and goes with the seasons. And with Republicans gaining ground this political season, get ready for a particularly painful bout of it.

Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, a committed restrictionist who now chairs the House Judiciary Committee, is already planning a big push to clamp down on undocumented aliens, especially by denying automatic or birthright citizenship to their children—a right enshrined in the 14th Amendment. Meanwhile, Republicans in five states—led by Arizona—are launching their own offensive to force Congress to repeal this right.

Such calls are not new. What is new is that they are gaining traction beyond a shrill nativist minority. Some conservative libertarians are arguing that birthright citizenship is bad for the country—and some progressive libertarians are arguing that it is bad for immigrants. Not only are both wrong, they can't reconcile this position with their broader commitment to the constitution and limited government respectively. (In this column I will address only the conservatives, saving the progressives for the next.)

The most famous representative of the conservative view is George Will, whose recent column is an odd hagiographic exercise lauding Smith—obviously calculated to pave the ground for Smith's birthright crusade that Will has openly embraced.

Smith is pushing a law in Congress to scrap this right, even though literally no one believes that it would pass constitutional muster. That's because the 14th Amendment is unusually clear about extending citizenship rights to everyone born on American soil except for children of foreign diplomats and American Indians (who belong to sovereign tribes). Eliminating these rights for anyone else will require three-quarters of the states to ratify another amendment.

Remarkably for someone who counsels deference to the original Constitution, Will has few qualms about this. Why? Because the authors of the 14th Amendment could not possibly have meant to extend birthright citizenship to illegal aliens given that no laws restricting immigration existed in1868 when it was passed, he maintains. "Is it reasonable to presume they would have wanted to provide the reward of citizenship to the children of the violators of those laws? Surely not," he declares.

It's even more plausible, however, that if the authors' failed to foresee something, it was not the law-breakers but the laws themselves. Hostility toward immigrants, especially the Irish who arrived in the wake of the potato famine, was certainly around in their time. But they still didn't pass such laws—perhaps because they thought that a country that had borne the sin of slavery to get cheap foreign labor should not erect barricades to keep out voluntary cheap foreign labor!

But if the failure to foresee events offered sufficient grounds for amending the Constitution, then we might as well throw out the whole document and begin anew. Would the Founders have written the First Amendment enshrining the freedom of press if they had known that the Internet would one day allow Wikileaks to release classified documents and jeopardize soldiers in 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 allegedly facing extinction? 

The 14th Amendment was written, among other things, to prevent Confederate states from denying citizenship to newly freed blacks. What comparable injustice would amending this amendment prevent? Restrictionists claim that birthright citizenship encourages pregnant women to illegally sneak into the U.S. for a just-in-time delivery so that their newborns can gain citizenship and later sponsor them for citizenship. They call these kids "anchor babies."

But Time magazine reported last year that of all the babies born in 2008 to at least one unauthorized parent, over 80 percent were to moms who had been in the United States for over one year. Actual instances of "birth tourism," where moms expressly came here to deliver babies on American soil, accounted for about two-tenths of 1 percent of all births in 2006. And most of these moms were not poor, illegal Hispanics—Smith's target group. They were rich Chinese moms on tourist visas.

Nor is it plausible that their intention was to use their kids to gain citizenship for themselves. Kids have to wait until 21 to seek legal status for illegal parents and the parents must typically then wait outside the US for at least 10 years before they can obtain their green cards. About 4,000 unauthorized parents with kids who are citizens can avoid deportation every year. This, then, is the grand illicit citizenship racket that Will & co. want a constitutional amendment to crack!

Conservatives argue that this amendment is necessary to enforce the rule of law. But the first principle of conservatism, constantly deployed against liberal reformers, is that it is not wise to make radical changes to long-standing laws and institutions for small gains. As Aristotle warned in the Politics two-and-half millennia ago: "[W]hen the improvement is small, and since it is a bad thing to habituate people to the reckless dissolution of laws, it is evident that some errors of both legislations and of the rulers should be let go; for the city will not be benefited as much from changing them as it will be harmed through being habituated to disobey the rulers…The easy alteration of existing laws in favor of new and different ones weakens the power of law itself."

Yet, here are conservatives now, disregarding their own wisdom and subverting the rule of law in the name of the rule of law to fight bogus causes.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a weekly columnist at The Daily, where a version of this article originally appeared.

Editor's Note: This article originally mistakenly stated that kids can seek legal status for undocumented parents only if the parents have lived in the U.S. for 10 years; actually parents have to be outside the U.S. for 10 years. There is also no annual limit on how many parents can apply for legal status.

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  1. You go, Shikha! Give old George a beatdown he won’t forget! I feel sorry for you, Shikha, sort of. It’s so tough being a conservative, because that “shrill nativist minority”? I think that, in the Republican Party, it’s a majority.

    1. Ummm, has Shikha ever claimed to be a conservative rather than a libertarian?

      George Will is normally spot-on, but wow, does he ever have a blind spot on this issue.

      1. I met him at an ABA conference a while back. He can be quite libertarian on some issues, but he has some of the common conservative blind spots as well.

        1. Are you confusing conservative with republican? Seems to be a common mistake.

      2. DON’T CONFUSE ME!

    2. It’s not just the majority of the Republican party.
      It’s the majority of us.

    3. Hey Alan. PBS aired a new version of Sherlock Holmes set in the 21st century. And you know what? You didn’t fucking write it.

  2. foam-up then fund-raise the wingnuts since trashing gays aint all that anymore, this is the new GRAND THREAT to the republic.

    1. Is this thing a bot?

      1. A robot could easily be taught simple grammar rules.

        1. I don’t get it. Does it have a shift key or just caps lock?

        2. im no bot dummass & i no grammer bettre then u ever have

      2. Not smart enough to be a bot, but clearly dumb enough to be from the Buckeye State?

        1. best bracket those dumb buckeyes all the way babieee!

  3. undocumented aliens

    Sigh. I suppose Reason will adopt the “gun safety” euphemism as well?

    1. “Undocumented aliens” is actually more accurate than “illegal immigrant,” although it lacks the whiff of racism many idiots find appealing.

      1. How is the term illegal inaccurate?

        1. How can a person be illegal?

          1. By being an illegal alien of oourse.

            1. The ridiculous dishonesty and shrill hair splitting of those in favor of birthright citizenship is a sight to behold.

              Illegal immigrant: A person who has illegally immigrated.

              That’s about as straightforward english usage as you can get. Stop hyperventilating and think for a second before typing.

              1. “Illegal Alien” is more precise, IMO, since many of these people aren’t immigrating. Birth tourism is the most obvious example, but many illegal aliens intend to eventually return to their home countries.

            2. If you drive over the speed limit, are you an illegal driver?

              If you visit a country and exceed the stated length of your visa, are you an illegal?

          2. Such a mindless meme. The person is not illegal; the person’s presence in the country is.

            1. Thank you, some kids just have to play semantic games.

      2. The correct term in the US Code is illegal alien. Undocumented immigrant is the PC version.

      3. Hey, I’m an Undocumented Boyfriend!

        1. Analogy FAIL.

          1. Hey, I’m an undocumented customer making a withdrawal!

            1. Ugh… analogy FAIL AGAIN… unless you can argue that moving from point A to live at point B results in a victim.

              1. Um, trespassing.

                1. So if you and I live in the same apartment complex and you have friends over to your place I don’t like, are they trespassing? or are you arguing for some sort of ‘private government property right”?

          2. Euphemisim FAIL

      4. “””Undocumented aliens” is actually more accurate than “illegal immigrant,” “”

        Undocumented doesn’t fit well in a Genesis lyric.

      5. The last thing they are is undocumented. They have plenty of documents — just not ones that authorize their presence in the country.

  4. Actual instances of “birth tourism,” where moms expressly came here to deliver babies on American soil, accounted for about two-tenths of 1 percent of all births in 2006.

    Of all births? That’s still a shitload of babies.

    And most of these moms were not poor, illegal Hispanics … They were rich Chinese moms on tourist visas.

    Oh. That’s different.

    1. Actual instances of “birth tourism,” where moms expressly came here to deliver babies

      Anyone else see a problem with this statistic?

      1. It requires psychic powers in order to be true?

      2. It doesn’t support your preconceived notions?

      3. I wonder how they came up with that number? Using Time magazine as a source does not engender confidence.

        Nice to hear we’re so popular with rich Chinese moms, though.

        1. Nice to hear we’re so popular with rich Chinese moms, though.

          I blame Charlie Sheen. Tiger Blood attracts Tiger Moms.

          1. Shouldn’t those be from Sri Lanka?

            1. There are a lot more important things than Sri Lanka to worry about.

    2. There were about 4.5 million births in the US in 2010. So 9,000 of them were birth tourism babies.

      Is 9,000 babies really a “shitload” in a country of over 300 million people?

      1. According to your definition there is a “shitload” of gold in a bottle of Goldschlager.

    3. About 8000 babies, to be specific (fwiw).

  5. Even if “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” only excludes Indians and foreign diplomats (and I don’t see why it does)…

    Guess what? Undocumented aliens are undocumented foreign diplomats. From a certain point of view.

    What I want to know is, why doesn’t this policy cause foreign relations problems? The US is being awfully presumptuous calling children of other countries’ citizens their own. What about countries that care more than Mexico?

    1. Even if “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” only excludes Indians and foreign diplomats (and I don’t see why it does)

      Me, neither. It doesn’t say “subject to the exclusive jurisdiction thereof.”

      Although the question of whether you are subject to jurisdiction as a citizen regardless of whether you are actually present in the country can be a tricky one, I think its a stretch to say that all jurisdiction ceases when you step over the border.

      1. The Indians thing made more sense when we still pretended that Indians had independent nations. I’m pretty sure they are all citizens now. Foreign diplomats have total immunity, so I think it makes sense to say that they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US.

    2. The Wong Kim Ark case holds that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”‘ does mean that birth = subject. Conservatives need to admit that a Constitutional amendment is necessary.

      1. Why would they need to admit that?

        They could just take the position that the Constitutional interpretation that ruling was predicated on was incorrect.

        Just like a bunch of other lousy court decisions – such as deciding FDR’s “New Deal” programs were constitutional, that “interstate commerce” means the govt can regulate a farmer growing wheat on his own land for his own use, etc.

      2. No it doesn’t. It’s holding was WAAAY freaking narrower than that. It argues that interpretation to sustain the holding, but that’s not at all what the Court actually HELD. Even Wikipedia got this point right in it’s little box on the side.

        It’s obvious you’ve not taken classes where you had to read more than 800 pages of case law for it.

        So, stop trying to bootstrap your argument with crap you are just making up, please.

    3. So I guess they get diplomatic immunity? Thank god they have such a low crime rate, or that could become a real problem.

    4. “Undocumented aliens are undocumented foreign diplomats. From a certain point of view.”

      Yeah, a wrong point of view. Diplomats are here as guests of the government, and as such are extended certain privileges not afforded to the rest of us. We can consider children of undocumented aliens to be non-citizens when we make a policy of waving the aliens themselves on after a traffic violation.

  6. Since when do “conservatives” have principles? Both the left and the right have their agendas. Neither has any principles.

    1. Liberals: Too hot!
      Conservatives: Too cold!
      Libertarians: Just right!

  7. You can have open borders or you can have a welfare state. You can’t have both.

    1. Or you can not give welfare to immigrants.

      Duh.

      1. Or, you can not give welfare to immigrants people.

        FIFY.

        1. Or, you can not give welfare to immigrants people.

          Don’t we wish it were so…….

          1. Now just how do you expect to buy votes???

      2. Except, the government will always give welfare to whoever shows up.

        Regular tax-paying American citizens deeply resent Anchor Baby welfare. You can make all the well-reasoned arguments you want to, but as long as social services is sending welfare checks and providing medical services to people whose only claim to the benefits is an anchor baby (the welfare is for the children, not the parents) people are going to resent it and they will remain unconvinced. It does not matter if it’s ten or ten thousand, the issue is highly symbolic.

        Maybe it’s just because I have a lot of ordinary middle class taxpaying friends, but that seems very clear to me.

        1. Okay, given the immediate topic, I should have said it at first…

          You can not give welfare to immigrants or their children.

          1. Not school, as that has been deemed a fundamental right by our nine overlords with their magic Constitutional decoder rings. Even as to entitlements, discriminating against a citizen (the anchor baby) based on parent’s alienage would likely be deemed unconstitutional.

            Note I’m not saying I agree with this reasoning, just that’s what the Court’s have said and Andy Jackson was the last one with stones enough to remind them they’re judges, not gods.

            1. I would think it completely constitutional to discriminate welfare benefits to citizens based on the citizenship of their parents.

              Note that the state already discriminates welfare benefits based on how much one’s parents earn, how many years one’s parents have been on welfare, what disabilities one’s parents have, etc., etc.

              Schooling and emergency care are, indeed, universally guaranteed services. But all individualized targeted welfare can simply be targeted away from children of immigrants. Or, more to the point, a child is on the welfare schedule of his parents.

              1. You are correct in a sense that in-state tuition for example is rewarded, however
                the question is about universal services
                and I don’t believe you would starve the baby or deny him or her education,however a provision that places the child in foster or ward of the state is probably a best option, and another problem is how long do you keep a child discriminated against, it makes no sense 10 years later for him or her to be denied opportunity because he just happened to be born here to non-legal parents,responsible decisions and actions are at the heart of libertarian-ism however in this case it’s not the child’s fault, you are also confusing income and needs with services as opposed to tuition and more privileges then essential although services such as universal are mentioned to give you credit, its not the same criteria.

                To solve the anchor problem , just deny the ability to apply for citizenship for the child unless special circumstances are perhaps many other family members are present fair it may or may not be.

                Also Mike you are confusing when the child is an adult or the definition of that, should juveniles have rights, if so reason demands that discrimination not occur, consider the fafsa and is discrimination even if the parent refuses to pay for education or cannot really afford it, no financial aid.

            2. Andy Jackson was the last one with stones enough to remind them they’re judges, not gods.

              Pretty sure FDR did that too. And look where that got us.
              While he may have done some smart things, Jackson was a bad man and his defiance of the court and forced removal of the Indians was just plain evil.

              1. According to Murray Rothbard (in History of Money and Banking), Andrew Jackson was a libertarian. So, you know. There you go. Good guy, good guy.

                1. That seems like a stretch. Jackson was pretty awful on property rights. If you were an Indian, anyway.

                  1. Yeah. I thought it was a stretch, too. I seem to recall coming to nearly the opposite conclusion after reading a biography of Jackson. I need to reread that section to understand why Rothbard thought that.

                    1. I need to reread that section to understand why Rothbard thought that [Jackson was a libertarian].

                      Jackson stopped the establishment of a National Bank. He claimed on his deathbed it was his greatest achievement. I’d have to agree with that, and the assessment above that he was a piece of crap otherwise.

            3. I guess that makes Jackson the God huh?

          2. “Welfare” as it is commonly understood (e.g. TANF, WIC, Medicaid, et cetera) is not necessarily the only way illegal immigrants can financially tax the system. There is also the expense of schools, infrastructure, emergency services, emergency medical, parks, libraries, and lots of other facilities.

            When it comes to immigrants with no knowledge of English, you also have the added bureaucratic cost of accommodating other languages – translated official documents, interpreters in courts, hospitals, and other settings, et cetera.

            1. Tough shit. If government wants to provide those services, it has to provide them to people within its jurisdiction. Furthermore, illegal immigrants pay sales taxes and, indirectly, pay income taxes.

              If the argument is that illegal immigrants are not paying “their fair share”, make it easier for them do so. Nativists have only themselves to blame if immigrants are flying under the radar.

              1. //If government wants to provide those services, it has to provide them to people within its jurisdiction.//

                I assume that when you say, “people,” “all people” is implied. If so, that’s a matter of opinion, not fact.

                //Nativists have only themselves to blame if immigrants are flying under the radar.//

                Really? What nativists do you believe forced illegal immigrants to cross into the U.S. or overstay their visas?

                1. The ones who designed this clusterfuck:

                  https://reason.com/blog/2008/09…..lynn-shikh

                2. R, the nativists he meant are the ones who want to make it impossible for anyone to hire illegal aliens in such a way that they can pay income taxes. Such policies make it so that they can only be paid in cash, which means the won’t pay taxes.

              2. And if people were allowed to hire them on the books, they would directly pay income taxes as well.

              3. One factor is private to government that is largely ignored, just because the taxpayer does not pay directly does not mean anything, mandates can be a tax , for instance hospitals are required to care for illegal immigrants, often times they bounce because of insurance, and gov picks up the tab, however let’s say gov does not pick up the tap, but the hospital is still required to care for the patient , health care will be passed on the private individuals and the government would ignore its civic duty
                by cutting spending on health care,

            2. Aside from schooling and health care, these are all pittances trivially paid for by the taxes they pay.

          3. This is an area where conservatives are blind to the problem of big government begetting bigger government.

            They use the existence of the big-government welfare state to justify big-government intrusive anti-immigration policies.

            Shouldn’t conservatives be against internal Federal checkpoints on roads, and Federal raids on businesses to check their “papers”.

            1. Shouldn’t conservatives be against internal Federal checkpoints on roads, and Federal raids on businesses to check their “papers”.

              Also, shouldn’t conservatives be in favor of businesses being able to hire whomever they want without government permission?

              1. The illegal immigration issue is not a left/right issue. It divides both parties. On the left, unions don’t like the competition. On the right, businesses like cheap labor.

                1. Just look at California agriculture for an illustration of that divide.

  8. “…..over 80 percent were to moms who had been in the United States for over one year.”

    Or put another way, almost 20% were to moms who had been in the United States for less than one year. And along with the newborns, moms, dads, brothers and sisters etc are now arguably less likely to be deported. Provide a little more research Shikha and explain how many of these families whether they were here less than or more than a year are actually deported and whether they are on public assistance.

  9. But this is a perfect issue and strategy for Republicans. Make all the noise they want about the menace of illegal immigrants, propose solutions that have no chance of being enacted but show they’re so very serious about it, for the purposes of stirring up their xenophobic primary voters. Then have their corporate benefactors benefit from the cheap labor the entire time while nothing is getting accomplished. Win-win.

    1. Re: Tony,

      But this is a perfect issue and strategy for Republicans. Make all the noise they want about the menace of illegal immigrants[…]

      It’s not only the Republicans.

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19352537/ns/politics/

    2. If you replace “menace of illegal immigrants” with “plight of American blacks” and your first sentence applies equally well to the Democratic party.
      It’s called politics.

      1. Even assuming the Dems had this as a current strategy, appealing to compassion for minorities is somewhat different from appealing to fear and hatred of them.

        1. And pimping them for votes something different yet again.

          1. Yes much more honorable to not get their votes at all.

  10. This article reeks of the author having an ideological position and then going looking for facts to support it, which are always available regardless of the position.

    I live in L.A. and I’ve known hundreds of illegal aliens over the years. 90% of them have children made citizens this way. You may be for or against such a loophole, but the argument that it’s a small issue is a luxury only in some parts of the country. I know many anchor babies born specifically in the U.S for that reason. I personally know people who changed their plans to enter the country so that it was timed to allow this. If we are going to debate the issue, let’s be honest about the facts.

    1. If we are going to debate the issue, let’s be honest about the facts.

      Dude. This is reason. The subject is immigration. Quit eating the funny mushrooms.

    2. Would those “facts” be the ones you got ex rectum?

    3. Well, shit, if you “personally know” all this, the science is settled.

      You win, bagoh!

      1. He has more direct experience on the issue than you. Put up or STFU, ass.

        1. So he says, anyway. And when have internet commenters ever lied, anyway?

        2. Documentation and corrobation of claims would help make your point a lot better.

          1. Sorry, that should be corroboration.

        3. The plural of “anecdote” is “anecdotes”, not “data”…

    4. Wait, are you suggesting that a modern nation having a completely open border with a corrupt, crime ridden cesspool on the brink of civil war is not the best idea in the world? Heretic!!!

      1. Have you considered that this modern nation is at least partly responsible for its neighbor becoming a corrupt, crime-ridden cesspool on the brink of civil war? See: Drug War.

        1. You sound like Obama and the bleeding heart liberals.

          1. You sounds like Rush Limbaugh

      2. You’re funny, Harold.

        Internet anono tuff gai who can’t back up his claims, and defends others who “know it cause I’ve seen it.”

        Have fun back in school after recess.

      3. Which country do we have a completely open border with now?

  11. Wow, that was a really disappointing article.

    There was no logical exposition of the text of the 14th Amendment. No discussion of the context and historical meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”.

    Just a squishy and touchy-feely discussion of the issue. This is what liberals do: they go straight to discussing the pros and cons of the issue without first discussing if the Federal Government has the power to do something about the issue.

    I am for the completely free movement of labor. It is a commodity that we should have free trade in.

    However, that is a separate discussion from the citizenship issue.

  12. What this country needs right now is a complete open border policy so all the worlds dumb fucks can join their dumb fuck brethren here!

    1. …except those from Dumbfuckistan.

    2. So I guess the question is; who will you be bringing over, Realist?

      1. Well, I was thinking ’bout yo’ mamma!

  13. Disbelief in birthright citizenship is necessarily a belief in Big Government.

  14. “That’s because the 14th Amendment is unusually clear about extending citizenship rights to everyone born on American soil except for children of foreign diplomats and American Indians (who belong to sovereign tribes). ”

    Actually, thats not what it says. That may be the practice that has developed, but it is not what the amendment says. Why is Shikha Dalmia attempting to pass bad data?

  15. “…the 14th Amendment is unusually clear about extending citizenship rights to everyone born on American soil…”

    That’s just not true at all. The question of what “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” really means has been going on since the amendment was ratified. Most people assume it means “territorial” jurisdiction, but there is also “personal” jurisdiction to deal with. Which one is it, or is it both?

    http://federalistblog.us/2007/…..ction.html

    http://naturalborncitizen.word…..g-kim-ark/

    1. I’m no expert, so I may need to read up on the history, but I have always applied a simple test to see if you are under the jurisdiction of a particular government: If they can arrest you and lock you up, you are subject to the jurisdiction thereof. THis is clearly true of all immigrants and not of foreign diplomats.

      1. You are subject to “territorial” jurisdiction within the borders of any autonomous state. But not to their “personal” jurisdiction. For example, if I go hiking in Canada for a year I don’t pay Canadian income tax I pay US income tax, because the US has retained “personal” jurisdiction over me for that time.

        1. And to whom does the child pay income tax?

  16. Hey Shikha the 14th is meaningless constitutionally. The USC was a voluntary agreement between certain parties to have a common government for a few listed powers to be exercised under the authority of the USC. How then can that government that is subordinate to the USC use force to compel others to change the nature of the instrument that created it as if a superior to that very instrument?

    See there are two elephants in the room that will never allow us to honestly discuss the validity of the 14th, slavery, and the conquest of legitimately sovereign nations.

  17. Shouldn’t we first ask what the policy should be? Is birthright citizenship good or not? Do we want to end up like Germany with millions born and living here but not citizens?

    If we do want Chinese or Mexican women to come here and give birth to American citizens than we shouldn’t care how many do it.

    1. No. You have it exactly backward, in my opinion, for the Federal level anyway.

      If you want the Feds to do A, you shouldn’t immediately start talking about the pros and cons of A. First, you should ask whether the Feds are empowered by the Constitution to do A. If they are not so empowered, the you have no need to reach the pros and cons.

      This issue is similar. First, find the meaning of the law through historical analysis and case law.

      I want to learn more about this first part. That’s why this article was so empty for me.

      There really is no policy discussion here at all. The babies are citizens or they are not. That is all.

      1. I think it is clear the Feds do have the constitutional right to control immigration. I do not think this law will work since it would almost certainly require a constitutional amendment.

        My problem with this article is that it says anchor babies are not a problem because they are such a small percentage and mostly by Chinese women and only 4,000 applications a year are available. It seems to me that the number is irrelevant. If it is good, 1,000 times the number is fine. If bad, why allow any?

      2. Empowered to do what, exactly? The opposite of birthright citizenship is the Federal Government picking and choosing its citizens. The practical aspects do matter. A lot.

        1. No, another alternative to birthright (jus solis) citizenship is limiting citizenship to children born to citizenship parents, which is no more a matter of “the Federal Government picking and choosing its citizens” than the current system.

          Getting rid of jus solis citizenship doesn’t have to mean citizenship is awarded arbitrarily.

          1. And how do said parents certify their citizenship, again? You are basically advocating a National Registry and a “papers please” attitude.

            1. //And how do said parents certify their citizenship, again?//

              Via birth certificates or proof of naturalization. If you’re suggesting that this regresses infinitely, you would be wrong, as any change from birthright citizenship would not be retroactive, but applicable to future births.

              And “papers, please” is not unreasonable in all circumstances – e.g. when accessing services meant for citizens or legal residents.

              1. Via birth certificates

                Birth certificates? Do you read your own writing? You just said that birthright citizenship would not apply anymore. What the hell would a birth certificate prove?

                1. If birthright (jus solis) citizenship is ended, from that point on, one’s parents’ birth certificates would still suffice.

                  Like I said, I don’t call for making the change retroactive. Making the change retroactive would indeed be the logistical mess you are talking about. But having it apply to future births carries no such problem. Plenty of countries get by with only jus sanguninis citizenship. The U.S. system is in the minority.

                  1. But having it apply to future births carries no such problem.

                    So in 10 months my wife and I have a child.

                    Now what? I cart my paperwork and her paperwork and the child’s paperwork down to State Probate to convince a judge that I am really a citizen, or what?

                  2. “Plenty of countries get by with only [single payer healthcare]. The U.S. system is in the minority.”

                    FTFY

            2. Ding! Godwin!

              1. “when you act like the you-know-whatzis, it is appropriate to be called a you-know-whatzi” – Ken Shultz –

                1. Tell that to anyone who eats a vegetarian diet, or listens to Wagner.

                  1. I am still waiting to hear how birth certificates are in any relevant to a society without birthright citizenship.

                    What do you want? Blood certificates?

                    1. Blood Certificates? No. But it’s not unreasonable to modify the birth certificate form so that parents’ SSNs are listed. And it’s not unreasonable to have a parent produce valid photo ID when the birth certificate is written. The birth certificate then becomes proof of citizenship, just as it is now.

                    2. So SSN as National ID? Wonderful.

          2. What about legal permanent resident aliens? I think that children who grew up here and have never had any life anywhere else ought to be citizens.

        2. All I am saying is that the “practical aspects” are not relevant for determining what the law means.

          My mentioning of whether the Feds are empowered to do something isn’t directly applicable to this case. It’s just an example of getting the arguments in the right order.

          First, determine the law. Then talk about policy.

          In this case, there is no policy discussion either way.

          1. Fine – Wong Kim Ark is directly on point here. There are two options:

            1. Challenge someone’s citizenship up to the Supreme Court level and hope SCOTUS repudiates Ark or
            2. Write and adopt Constitutional amendment.

            That is the law as it stands. Now that we have that out of the way, can you come up with a cogent reason for taking either of these routes, as a practical matter?

            1. Ok, thanks for that link about Wong Kim Ark case. As I said, I need education on this topic, and this helps. It looks like a pretty tight decision to me.

              However, I would also like to see a more fleshed-out discussion of the history at the time of ratification (I have read some of the history), and if there are any other cases that muddy the waters.

              As a practical matter, my preference is to do nothing about this, and work to reduce the Federal government in every respect.

            2. Wong Kim Ark’s parent’s were permanent legal residents, not illegals or visitors.

              1. Ah ha! The plot is thicker that it seems!

            3. There’s legal argument to be made that the holding contains a test with several criteria, namely that the parents are:

              1) subjects/citizens of a foreign nation
              2) are permanently domiciled in the U.S.
              3) are residents in the U.S.
              4) are carrying on lawful business in the U.S.
              5) are not diplomats or officials of any foreign government, AND
              6) had a child in the U.S.

              Now, taking that generalized test into account, there’s a legal argument to be made that illegal immigrants meet neither item 2 or 4 of the criteria.

              They fail on item 2 because permanently domiciled could be interpreted as being a LAWFUL permanent resident. An illegal immigrants has no reasonable expectation of being permanently domiciled in the U.S. as he or she faces deportation if caught.

              They definitely fail item 4 because they cannot lawfully hold a job in this country unless they are working for themselves and not for someone else.

              Thoughts?

              1. In Plyler v. Doe (1982) the SC ruled that “no plausible distinction with respect to Fourteenth Amendment ‘jurisdiction’ can be drawn between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful.”

                The fact is, the SC has been very, very clear on this issue. Your choices are get them to overrule themselves, or amend the constitution.

                1. Sorry, but footnotes don’t count as the court weighing in on anything. It may indicate which direction the court may lean on future cases involving that issue, but they are not binding or substantive in and of themselves.

  18. “Kids have to wait until 21 to seek legal status for illegal parents and only if the parents have been here for 10 years.”

    I think this is supposed to say “only if the parents have been out of the U.S. for 10 years.” That’s the rule. If someone has been here illegally for more than a year, they’re barred from even applying for a visa until they’ve been out of the country for 10 years.

    That law, by the way, was part of the 1996 reform spearheaded by Lamar Smith, who now pretends like there’s nothing stopping an “anchor baby” from sponsoring the whole family for citizenship.

  19. we might as well throw out the whole document and begin anew

    Shikha – where you been, girl?!! It’s long gone – we started over back in the early 1900’s 1800’s. It’s just gotten less relevant from there.

    General Welfare, Necessary and Proper, Interstate Commerce…that’s about it, yeah?

    1. Considering the main use of the Constitution these days is for people like Dalmia to use it to beat Americans over the head, throwing it out and starting over doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. I have a feeling if the original signers could see what use it’s getting put to these days, not a few of them would sign on to that project themselves.

    2. Tony said it was irrelevant anyway, so…

      1. I mean, it’s 100 years old…after all.

  20. Still doesn’t make Obama qualified for president!

  21. Restrictionists claim that birthright citizenship encourages pregnant women to illegally sneak into the U.S. for a just-in-time delivery so that their newborns can gain citizenship and later sponsor them for citizenship. They call these kids “anchor babies.”

    Restrictionists seem to forget that the so-called “anchor babies” have to be 18-year old grown MEN and WOMEN before they can ask the USCIS to grant a greencard to mommy. So for these women, we’re talking about a very looooong-time investment.

    In reality, these women (which represent a very small percentage as Ms. Dalmia indicated) have their births in the US to give the CHILD an opportunity to live better in the US, not so much as a way to obtain a greencard: Most people do not have that low a time preference.

    1. Sorry, they have to wait until they’re 21.

  22. Shikha: “Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, a committed restrictionist… ”

    Is there more evidence for this or is this something Shikha is just making up?

    Or is it the wilful conflating of legal and illegal immigration that is the norm at Reason?

    1. If “restrictionist” does not mean someone who restricts — i.e., wants to make a significant portion of something illegal — then what does?

      1. I think Kevin’s point is that Smith doesn’t necessarily want to restrict legal immigration any further than it already is, which I guess is fair enough, but by that definition hardly anyone would be a restrictionist. But Smith is a restrictionist in the sense that he thinks the solution to illegal immigration is harsher laws and stricter enforcement, rather than reforming the system to make it easier to immigrate legally.

        1. I would say that anyone who supports the current immigration policies is a restrictionist.

  23. Any one who calls our border with Mexico open, has obviously never tried to cross it.

      1. Wow, it’s a wonder thousands die trying if all they need to do is cross at the mouth of the Rio Grande… mariachi and elephant in tow.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…..he_Mexico_?_United_States_border

          1. Well, since the study you link claims over 550,000 illegal entries oer year, with on average only about 300 deaths, yeah, it seems pretty easy to get across the border.

    1. I’ve never had any problem getting into Mexico.

  24. Whatever legitimate problems illegal immigration causes for society, I don’t see how that problem would be solved by the creation of a huge, legally disenfranchised underclass who know they will never, ever be allowed to join the American mainstream.

    1. Yeah, just look at the Italians, the Irish and the Asian immigrants. They definately became a permanent underclass who were never “allowed” into the mainstream. The new wave of Indian immigrants are pretty much trapped in the cycle of repressive American poverty, too.

      1. Yeah, they became part of the mainstream economic and social culture even though they were never allowed to become citizens, or vote, or….wait a minute…

      2. Those people all had birthright citizenship, which is what we are discussing here. The point is that those groups did integrate well. Denying citizenship to people born here is what, arguably, would create the permanent underclass.

  25. It doesn’t matter. Anarchists don’t believe in states, let alone borders. The point is moot.

    1. Of course anarchists believe in borders. In particular, anarchists want anyone who thinks they operate a monopoly government to stay outside those borders.

  26. Consider this. The 14th includes the words “and of the State wherein they RESIDE.” The word “reside” means “to dwell permanently or continuously : occupy a place as one’s LEGAL domicile”. so right there children of tourists are out. If one holds that illegal aliens are living here illegally then they are not “residing” here and therefore their children are also out.

    1. “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.”

      That word ‘and’, I don’t think it means what you think it means… never mind that Section 1 is referring to the child and not the parents.

      Also… “If one holds that illegal aliens are living here illegally then they are not “residing” here”… This makes no sense. If one is ‘living’ somewhere, they are, by definition, ‘residing’ there.

      1. The important part is “wherein they reside”. If a woman comes here on a tourist visa neither she nor her child would reside here. To reside means to have a permanent legal residence. If you are in the country illegally you can have no legal residence. If the parents have no legal residence then the child does not either.

        1. “To reside means to have a permanent legal residence.”

          No it doesn’t.

          http://www.google.com/search?h…..d=0CCAQkAE

          1. I think you will find there are numerous legal definitions of reside. Typically, it requires some variation of “intent to remain indefinitely.”

            Thus, if I happen to be visiting another state on election day, I can’t just go in and vote, even with same-day registration.

            1. Meh, see Zeb’s post below.

          2. Keep in mind that when the 14th was written there was no such thing as a green card or visa, which makes your argument all the more weak.

          3. Your own link gives this as the legal definition, “means to live in a primary residence at a place for at least 180 days, or as a currently registered voter, and with intent to live there indefinitely.”. i don’t think tourists or illegals are allowed to register to vote.

            1. That word ‘OR’ in there is only a two letter word so you probably missed it, right?

              Let me highlight it for you:

              “means to live in a primary residence at a place for at least 180 days, OR as a currently registered voter, and with intent to live there indefinitely.”

              1. Look, even the decision in Kim Wong Ark supports my position, “…during all the time of their said residence in the United States, as DOMICILED RESIDENTS therein, the said mother and father of said Wong Kim Ark…”

        2. And you are also wrong about what the phrase “in which they reside” does. The only requirement for US citizenship is that they be born in the US while subject to its jurisdiction. Permanent residence in a state is not one of the requirements for citizenship spelled out in the 14th. It doesn’t say “All persons BORN or naturalized IN the United States and who reside in a state , and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States AND of the State wherein they reside.”

          1. It’s right there in black and white. One must has residency in one of the States to gain citizenship under the 14th. If one does not reside in any State, then one is not a citizen of any State at birth, therefore one is also not a citizen of the US.

            1. Noooo.

              “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.”

              Everyone born in the US, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, is a citizen of the US AS WELL AS a citizen of the state they reside in.

              Read what Zeb wrote again.

              “Permanent residence in a state is not one of the requirements for citizenship spelled out in the 14th. IT DOESN’T SAY “All persons BORN or naturalized IN the United States and who reside in a state , and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States AND of the State wherein they reside.””

              Again: “Permanent residence in a state is not one of the requirements for citizenship spelled out in the 14th.”

              1. Sure it is. It says it right there “of the State wherein they reside.”. I can’t make it any clearer than that. If your not a resident your not a citizen.

                1. So if you get a job overseas, you’re cool with no longer being a US citizen?

                  1. The 14th only applies at the moment of birth.

                2. So then they become citizens of the United States but not the State in which they (don’t) reside?

                  1. Yes Earl, that is what it means. You are a citizen of the US, but not of any of the 50 states as you don’t reside in any of them.

                    English grammar, how does that work?

                3. All right IT, we’ll do it one more time, and we’ll break it up to make it easier for you this time.

                  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States…”

                  That means everyone born in the US, with the exception of children of foreign diplomats (and indians apparently) is considered a US citizen.

                  “…AND of the State wherein they reside.”

                  This means, not only are they citizens of the US, but they are ALSO (notice the word ‘and’) citizens of the state they live in.

                  It does NOT say (as Zeb pointed out):

                  “All persons BORN or naturalized IN the United States and who reside in a state , and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States AND of the State wherein they reside.”

                  Being a resident of a US state is not a prerequisite for US citizenship.

                  1. Look, even the decision in Kim Wong Ark supports my position, “…during all the time of their said RESIDENCE in the United States, as DOMICILED RESIDENTS therein, the said mother and father of said Wong Kim Ark…”

                    1. Not to mention that when someone applies for naturalization they have to be a Permanent Resident for 5 years and not leave the country for more than six months. So to be naturalized you do have to reside here.

                    2. We’re talking about birthright citizenship, not naturalization of people who are already born.

                      “So to be naturalized you do have to reside here.”

                      Here… as in the US.

                    3. His parents weren’t tourists. The case says nothing about the children of tourists.

            2. So the children of American hobos aren’t citizens?

          2. Right – otherwise, if I go overseas on work for a while I suddenly become not a citizen?

  27. The intent of the 14A was clear at the time, according to contemporaneous statements (it did not encompass citizenship for children of foreign nationals). A law had to be passed to make American Indians citizens; that law would have been unnecessary if they were automatically citizens by virtue of being born in the US.

    Of course, when the 14A was adopted, there was no such thing as immigration law. It was pretty clear at the time that you were either a US citizen (and so were your children), or you were a foreign national (and so were your children).

    Immigration law, which came later, added some new categories (legal immigrant and illegal immigrant). I think the Ark case stands for the proposition that children of legal immigrants are US citizens. I don’t believe it extends citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, but I could be wrong.

    1. Invoking Native Americans just brings up the fact that their treatment has been legally as well as morally dubious. We like to pretend they’re not subject to US jurisdiction, except when we’re kicking them off one patch of land and force-marching them to another.

    2. A law had to be passed to make American Indians citizens; that law would have been unnecessary if they were automatically citizens by virtue of being born in the US.

      Indians are exactly being excluded by “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”.

      There’s a reason the United States made treaties with Indian tribes: Indians under tribal governments were not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

  28. It seems to me that the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is the only part that is really open to interpretation here. You would really need to do some serious mental acrobatics to say that “born or naturalized” means anything other than what it says. And I have always thought that people who are subject to criminal charges or deportation are clearly subject to the jurisdiction of the US government and/or some state. There may be other interpretations of what being subject to jurisdiction might mean, but I can’t think of any.

    1. You are thinking only of “territorial” jurisdiction. There is also “personal” jurisdiction which is “an authority over a person, regardless of their location.”

  29. So enforcing immigration laws is nativism? Why can’t libertarians understand that immigration to welfare doesn’t work? Sure, some illegal-aliens are hardworking, but what about their kids who get free education at taxpayer expense? Why should the native born and the legal immigrant suffer school overcrowding? Why should an illegal in California get in-state tuition while a legal resident going to Berkeley has to pay out of state tuition?

    If you want open borders, CLOSE THE WELFARE STATE!

    http://libertarians4freedom.blogspot.com/

    1. Um… the article is about birthright citizenship, not illegal immigration.

    2. Why should an illegal in California get in-state tuition while a legal resident going to Berkeley has to pay out of state tuition?

      Because the former is a resident of California and the latter is not.

    3. If their children were born in America, THEY ARE NATIVE BORN YOU DICK.

  30. The only role for border security is to stop those who would pose an immediate danger. Either because they are carrying a disease or because they have a record of violent or property crime. Either way, they should have to explain why they turned someone away, not why they let him in. The fact that, once they get in, they can receive money which was taken from others is an argument against welfare, not an argument against freedom of movement and association. If you stop stealing, you’ll solve the problem of how stop people from coming and asking for a piece of the loot.

  31. The shrill hysteria of this piece helps nothing. Your interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment is open to question.

    Get over it.

    1. It is funny that the author characterizes those opposed to birthright citizenship as shrill, when the article itself is a hysterical fit of shrill intellectual dishonesty.

      1. Nice arguments. I’m convinced by both of you and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  32. “Anchor babies” are legal citizens of the U.S. If they start stripping away legal citizenship rights from them, who will be next? Where is the cut off. My mother-in-law is the daughter of Greek immigrants. Will she have to prove they came here legally? Or will this just apply to future newborns? In which case, will the older siblings be legal, while the youngest are not?

  33. I agree 100% with this article. I am a libertarian conservative and would probably not exist in this country if it was not for Birthright Citizenship.

  34. Someone tell me what’s wrong with this:

    We leave the 14th the way it is. A baby is born here. The baby is a citizen. The parents are not. The parents have the option of taking the child with them back to their country(after all, children do not get a say if the parents decide to relocate) or leaving their child to fend for him/herself on our side of the border after they’re deported.

    The child may be a citizen, but does not get to stay against the wishes of the parents.

    1. Nothing is wrong with that. And, by the way, that’s the way it works now. “Anchor babies” are a total myth.

  35. Why is it that any issue that even obliquely touches on race brings out irrationality and dishonesty in some Reason staff?

    “Smith is pushing a law in Congress to scrap this right, even though literally no one believes that it would pass constitutional muster.”

    Really? “Literally” no one? As a writer, are you unaware what “literally” means?

    “That’s because the 14th Amendment is unusually clear about extending citizenship rights to everyone born on American soil except for children of foreign diplomats and American Indians (who belong to sovereign tribes).”

    Unusually clear? Is either class of children excluded from birthright citizenship listed here explicitly mentioned in the constitution? Does the 14th amendment explicitly limit the class of excluded children to only these classes?

    Even if you think the 14th amendment confers birthright citizenship, it is completely dishonest, or just plain delusional, to claim it is obvious that it does, and no one thinks otherwise.

    Stop lying to yourself, and try to come up with an honest argument.

    1. I believe that, while “literally no one” is an exaggeration, “no one serious” would be a fine construction.

      Because that is true. The Supreme Court spoke on this subject long ago, and it is the law of the land. You have to either get Ark overturned or pass a Constitutional amendment.

      1. Ah, now “literally no one”, means “I want to talk like it’s no one, but I’m really just exaggerating.” Fine.

        “No one serious” instead. Yeah, when you don’t really have an argument, first you deny that anyone thinks otherwise, then you deny that it is anyone that counts. What I fail to find are any arguments on why those who fail to count are incorrect. Oh, but I forgot, the arguments that were first said not to exist don’t count, so no one has to refute them.

        Great way to win an argument. “Anyone who doesn’t agree with me doesn’t count.”

        And the Supreme Court never makes mistakes? All the Commerce Clause stuff, all perfectly fine, because the Supreme Court says so.

        Sadly, the Supreme Court is often just as intellectually dishonest as the author of this article. In fact, it’s probably more often in the case of the SCOTUS.

        1. So do you actually have an argument? So far you’ve merely accused the author of being shrill and dishonest. Do you believe the 14th”t doesn’t offer birthright citizenship to everyone born in the US with the exception of children of foreign diplomats? If so, what’s your argument?

          Put up or shut up.

          1. I was never attempting to argue the constitutional issue.

            I argued that the arguments in the article were intellectually dishonest, and gave examples.

            If you are actually unaware of the constitutional arguments against birthright citizenship, I suggest you investigate that Google Inter Tube thingy.

  36. How about a compromise?

    You guessed it, Citizenship Abortions.

    We’ll let illegals become citizens if they promise to abort any children they conceive after their entry.

  37. If there were no claims on MY income and livelihood by birthright citizenship, I say let any freedom loving folks in that want to come to this remarkable republic.
    The problem is that the modern welfare state is incompatible with “open doors”. Illegal aliens of all kinds should be encouraged to leave. MORE LEGAL immigration should be encouraged. Legal vs illegal is the distinction missing in Shikha’s analysis.

    1. The very best way to encourage more legal immigration is to make less immigration illegal.

      Legalize all peaceable migration, and give neither immigrants nor their citizen children targeted welfare.

  38. I’m a libertarian who shares the views of both sides and can reconcile them quite nicely…

    The author’s error is in conflating a legal argument with a policy argument. Will and Smith are right on the law when the historical context of the passage of the 14th Amendment are taken into account, and how that context contributes to its legal interpretation.

    However, that doesn’t make what the 14th Amendment says good policy. It’s bad policy, in fact. Very bad. But the fact that a constitutional provision is bad doesn’t mean we can just stick our head in the sand and ignore it. We have to amend it to comprehensively reflect what we we believe is the best policy the constitution can reflect: open borders and open citizenship to all who desire the freedom and make the voyage here to live permanently.

  39. I consider myself largely libertarian, however, the impact that an illegal alien has to other legal citizens with tax liability is quite large. Adding an anchor baby makes the costs huge. The author mentions numbers which seem far too low, but even if true do not justify them.

    Just look at LA. The USA and California in general is largely a welfare state. LA has a large number of illegal immigrants. Their demand for government provided services like schools and medical emergency services are bankrupting localities or have shut down multiple ER’s.

    Most of the comments here ignore simple economics and finance when it comes to welfare states, and as such, come across as only liberal (not libertarian) because they completely ignore the rights of others wealth and property through taxation.

    You cannot institute open border policies without removing welfare. The USA is mainly wealthy because of its good capital to worker ratio. I would even venture to guess that many illegals would not be here were it not for the welfare because they would be completely incapable of financing their health care and services for their children.

    1. …have shut down multiple ER’s.

      Citation please.

      You cannot institute open border policies without removing welfare

      …targeted toward immigrants and their children.

  40. “Purist” Libertarian thinkers are the primary reason why I refused to have anything more than a brief, but torrid amour with America’s Libertarian Party. I have retained what is finest about their principles; while discarding the balance.
    I am a pragmatist, so sue me!
    I believe that doctrines as well as laws must be “do-able” and “workable”; not Utopian, “pie-in-the-sky”, “ivory tower” pap such as the words written here trashing legitimate efforts to re-enforce the rule of law upon those entering our country illegally.
    What chutzpah to pontificate from one’s keyboard about certain bills not “passing Constitutional muster”, Law-makers and law-breakers being at fault. It doesn’t matter anymore who’s at fault.We have a situation here and it needs to be dealt with! Your either part of the problem, or part of the solution what’s it gonna be? Are American Libertarians going to continue to pettily snipe at any effort to make our borders less porous while offering no solutions?
    Oh! Excuse me! I nearly forgot that American Libertarianism believes in the sanctity of lax immigration laws for “economic reasons”; so I guess they would not be the go-to folks we would turn to for solutions to the many unintended consequences of illegal entry into this country.
    What does matter is that all the while American citizens and law enforcement types are being murdered along our Southern borders, farmers and other citizens and being victimized so they fear for their lives and property, guns and drugs are being hustled back and forth across the borders both ways, and hospitals, clinics and Emergency rooms in some Southern States are having to restrict some of their services because they cannot continue to be “stiffed” by illegals who cannot pay their bills for services rendered; the Federal Government (which has an agenda of its’ own regarding the benefits of continued illegal immigration to its parties’ election strategies), sits on its’ corpulent, bloated ass and does nothing to aid the citizenry.
    That’s what matters!
    We who were born with certain inalienable rights, and who are legal residents of this country, are being systematically bullied by our own governments into ceding our rights and the profits of our labor to help support people who come here illegally; some of whom actually intend us malice and harm. And guess what? If the American people have anything to say about the outcome, this nonsense will stop.
    The meat of the issue is “what are we going to do about it?”.
    I must agree here with George Will. The manner by which one gains entry into this country DOES matter. It ought to determine how illegal entrants are treated when they are caught.
    I agree that the Founding Fathers could not have foreseen (Egads! The Libertarians couldn’t even see it!), the extent of the illegal activities, raids and incursions onto our soil.
    So what does Libertarianism have to say to all those individuals, counties, cities, States, Border patrol agents, etc. who have been directly and negatively impacted by the laxity of our borders? “Sorry ’bout that”, “You can always move away from the area if you don’t like what’s going on”, What?
    Other States and their citizens also get to pay for the porosity of Southern borders as the illegals migrate elsewhere. What would you have these States do to protect their economic infrastructure?
    Most Americans are unwilling to grant “permission” for illegal aliens to remain here; and it wouldn’t take a Mensa IQ to extrapolate that those who crafted our Constitution would consider large-scale, un-permitted entry by foreign peoples an act of war.

    1. We who were born with certain inalienable rights, and who are legal residents of this country, are being systematically bullied by our own governments into ceding our rights and the profits of our labor to help support people who come here illegally…

      And they who were born with certain inalienable rights, and who are not legal residents of this country, are being systematically bullied by our governments into ceding their rights and the potential profits of their labor to protect the jobs of people who were born here legally.

      So what does Libertarianism have to say to all those individuals, counties, cities, States, Border patrol agents, etc. who have been directly and negatively impacted by the laxity of our borders?

      Legalize peaceful migration. Then those who wish to immigrate will go to well-known ports of entry with sanctioned visas and not have to traipse through some rancher’s lawn to evade state authorities trying to abrogate their rights.

      Oh, and since the vast majority of the problems you ascribe to illegal immigrants are actually due to the drug trade, legalizing drugs would be a big help too.

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