Surrendering a Birthright

Ending citizenship by birth would be a terrible idea.


Credit: kevinzim / photo on flickr

Republican presidential candidates often invoke Jesus, but lately they sound more like Jehovah. The Old Testament says, "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation." Punishing kids for their parents' sins is the idea behind proposals to revoke birthright citizenship. 

Donald Trump started the discussion with an immigration plan that promised to stop letting all those born in America automatically become Americans. Ted Cruz agrees, as do Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham and Bobby Jindal. Scott Walker said he did, but then hedged. Chris Christie is open to the suggestion. 

Under established law, a child born here is a U.S. citizen, even if the parents are present without permission. That rule derives from the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States." 

So changing the rule would mean amending the Constitution. Even if that were a serious possibility, it would be a bad idea. Getting rid of it would create a raft of problems without delivering any offsetting benefits. 

In the first place, it would consign many people born, raised and educated here to inferior status, forever. They could be deported to countries that many have never seen. Most would stay, because we lack the resources to find and banish them all. But they'd be blocked from full assimilation, lacking any particular reason to be loyal to the land of their birth. 

This scenario is not speculation. In the 1960s, Turkish migrants were allowed to live and work in Germany, but until 1991, neither they nor their descendants were eligible for German citizenship. So they were estranged from the rest of the country. 

As The New York Times reported in January, this population lived in "tightknit communities largely isolated from Germans except in the workplace. That sentiment of separation lingers to this day." 
Likewise, abolishing birthright citizenship in the United States "would lead to the establishment of a permanent class of unauthorized persons," said a 2010 analysis by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). 
If two people born here but deprived of citizenship grew up and had children together, those kids would also be deprived of citizenship. The MPI study estimates that by 2050, there would be a million third-generation "foreigners" living here. 

Trump deems birthright citizenship "the biggest magnet for illegal immigration," which is like saying Trump is the main reason people move to New York. Unauthorized immigrants come here in search of jobs or family reunification, not the nearest maternity ward. 

Many reproduce, because that is what human beings tend to do, especially if they are young and fertile, as this group tends to be. "Anchor babies," as their offspring are pejoratively known, are the byproduct of unauthorized immigration, not the cause. 

A 2011 study by the Pew Hispanic Center reported that only "9 percent of the unauthorized foreigners who had babies in 2009-2010 had arrived in the U.S. in 2008 or later." More than 60 percent arrived before 2004. 

Santorum points out that most countries in the developed world don't offer such "enticements to illegal immigration." He fails to note that even without it, the nations of the European Union have millions of unauthorized immigrants. Rich countries have a way of attracting natives of poor nations, even if they try to keep them out. 

Anti-immigration groups bewail "birth tourism," in which foreign women travel here near the end of their pregnancies. That practice is rare. There were just 8,583 births to foreign, non-resident mothers in 2013—one out of every 459 births. 

Trump and others don't realize the change would have consequences for all the children whose parents didn't sneak in. Gregory Chen of the American Immigration Lawyers Association says that today, nearly everyone uses a birth certificate to prove citizenship. Under a revised rule, "you'd need a new bureaucracy to verify each and every newborn child's eligibility." 

Americans would have to apply to the federal government just to assure their kids the perquisites of citizenship. If he gets his way, Trump's grandchildren may not thank him. 

As policy changes go, this one stands out for a sort of perverse genius: It would tangibly benefit no one, while harming not only unauthorized immigrants and their American-born kids, but also American citizens and theirs. And for all those who can attest with pride that they were born in the U.S.A., it would offer a sour retort: So what? 

© Copyright 2015 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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    1 in 459, huh? That number is for people here on tourist visas, not for all illegals. At least have the decency to be somewhat honest while you sell the country down the river.

    1. The 31 year anchor baby plan is more effective than the 200 year wait in line plan to get legal status.

      1. …and speaking of being somewhat honest, citizenship papers are, routinely, placed in the one hundred and twenty year old graves of applicants.

  2. End the “war” on drugs, corporate cronyism, and the gubbermint welfare system(s), and no one will care anymore who enters, stays or leaves.

    A person’s life will reside with their individual human contributions to their own welfare, their own morality, and to any capitalistic enterprise they devise to produce.

    Wait, we won’t need imaginary lines drawn on maps anymore. Then, private property will actually mean ownership, not title to. What will the cartographers do? Oh my.

    1. Spot on.

    2. \\End the “war” on drugs, corporate cronyism, and the gubbermint welfare system(s), and …\\
      Full stop. This is definitely where I would like to see the US go. The trouble is that ALL the power interests are against such an outbreak of sensibility.

  3. Ted Cruz agrees, as do Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham and Bobby Jindal. Scott Walker said he did, but then hedged. Chris Christie is open to the suggestion.

    If true, it wouldn’t be surprising. Brown people are reliably voting Democrat. But more importantly, each one of those people listed to a man is big government. They love the idea of bureaucrats deciding every possible aspect of an American’s life. You don’t get and hold power by letting people make their own decisions.

    1. This is one idea TEAM RED is going to regret they ever brought up.

      1. People seem Hell bent on assigning every perceived Trump unpleasantry to the same group, be it called the “GOP base” or “team red.”

        Frankly, at this point it is either out of sheer ignorance, rank mendacity, or some form of denial. Trump’s base may overlap with the GOP base, but it also includes a large number of disaffected, or flat out “anti-party” people.

        Trump is strong precisely because he is pulling together people who previously would not be seen as a cohesive group.…..share&_r=1

        1. So, while someone might wish that one traditional party could be tarred with Trump’s version of nativism, wishing does not make it so.

          1. The Democrats get labelled as the “Party of Big Govt” even though the overlap is fucking HUGE. I don’t see why Republicans don’t deserve the racist, nativist badge. When their entire Presidential roster is climbing all over each other to out derp the previous guy on immigration, I’d say they’ve earned it.

            1. So, you are admittedly OK tarring Republicans with the move to end birthright citizenship, even though this article notes just how many GOP candidates expressly disagree with the idea.

              I suppose when you start with the presumption that the party is racist and nativist then pretty much anything done by pretty much anybody could seem like supporting evidence…

              1. While Chapman didn’t supply any links, his article listed seven GOP candidates and New Jersey Democrat Chris Christie as not being opposed to the idea.

        2. Yep. People by and large are sick of their money going to benefit illegals, governe the interests, corporate interests, etc.. Everyone but them. They want America to work for Americans. Not illegals or the political class, or anyone else. A country like Mexico should be paying us for everything we do for them. They dump their indigents on us so as to not deal with them.

      2. A lot more people than ‘Team Red’ are fed up with this illegal bullshit. And anchor babies.

  4. “Unauthorized immigrants come here in search of jobs or family reunification, not the nearest maternity ward. ”

    Citation please. California hospitals would disagree. Why do you think the term anchor baby is common? It’s known that pregnant women wait until they are ready to pop and then cross the border to have their baby in the USA. Remember Proposition 187? The people passed it but the government said it was unconstitutional, because only the government can tell you how to spend your money.

    1. “Why do you think the term anchor baby is common?”

      Probably because some right-wing jackass started it, and the rest of the echo chamber picked it up. Then you, as part of the echo chamber heard the rest of the nativists repeating it like parrots, and mistakenly think it’s a big deal.

      1. You must be a paid internet troll, because you are just ignoring history and the fact that this has been an issue in California for decades and they passed Proposition 187 preventing services to anchor babies.

      2. You sound like a progressive traitor.

    2. There are even “maternity hotels” in NYC and CA for the express purpose of having a place for tourists drop the anchor.

    3. Is it ironic that you ask for a citation and then state “California hospitals disagree” and “It’s know that…” without providing citations yourself? Or stupid?

      1. Citation: see Proposition 187. California voted to stop providing services to anchor babies in hospitals (hospitals were/are losing money providing services to anchor babies.) It’s know history to people that are familiar with Proposition 187 and the reasons it was passed. My general statements are followed by citing a proposition that was passed to stop providing services to people in schools and hospitals because it’s hard to predict public costs and care when people just appear that are unaccounted in the census. What is the basis of Chapman’s statement?

  5. They still have citizenship, Mexican, Chinese, Irish, etc

    Also the majority of countries of the world don’t have birthright citizenship

    1. If we wanted to be like the majority of the countries around the world, you might have a point.

      1. It seems regarding this issue we do

      2. While the majority of the countries in the world are wrong an awful lot of the time, it’s statistically improbably that they’d be wrong on every single issue.

        I’d have less problem with birthright citizenship and open borders if we didn’t have a welfare state. But we do. The world is very different than it was in 1868, and unless we go back to that style of pre-progressive-era government (which isn’t happening anytime soon), then we have to deal with the fact that a welfare state needs border protection.

        1. That and aircraft. Emigration should be about making a new life somewhere else in the colloquial sense, not the literal sense.

      3. I’m with them on this one. Not much else though. No more illegals coming here just to drop a baby and game our system.

    2. and we don’t either. but too many THINK we do. READ the FULL TEXT of that 14th that is only partially cited in the article. He ends his quote just BEFORE the exclusionary clause that makes “anchor baby” a false concept. Read it yourself…. plain as day.

  6. So, say the child has birthright citizenship, but may not sposer its parents, ever, because of the circumstances.

    Unless your entire point for making this argument is to protect illegal immigration.

  7. Considering how almost all our Constitutional Law has devolved into Commerce Clause or 14th Amendment – I cannot keep the epic shite hurricane within the bounds of my imagination, should it (Amendment 14) be altered.

  8. Ending citizenship by birth would be simply a matter of following the 14th Amendment as written.

    14th Amendment as written: 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.

    Notice the part that Criminal Trespasser Apologists *never* mention – “…subject to the jurisdiction thereof…”

    When US citizens have children abroad, those children are considered to be US citizens as well – because the parents are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US.
    When foreign nationals have children in the US, those children are NOT US citizens – they are citizens of the same country as their parents. Why, you ask? Because the parents are NOT “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US, but of their country of citizenship.

    It’s only because of weak-minded and -willed slackjawed drooling baboons, that there was ever a reason for the term “anchor baby” to have been invented.

    Fuck me running. . . it’s not rocket surgery.

    1. exactly. All Trump is saying is simply enforce the Constitution

    2. Nonsense. Anybody other than foreign diplomats who is residing in the country is subject to its jurisdiction.

      1. Not if they are there illegally, otherwise said jurisdiction would deport them

      2. Nope. Else we could never depport any of them. Illegals are NOT subject to the jurisdiction of the US. WHY do they have to hide, avoid, work “under the radar” etc? Simple.. they know they are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” here. No papers, no permission, no work permits, no taxes, (should be) no benefits, and CERTAINLY no citizenship to confer on their children born here.

      3. No illegals are subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign power. No the U.S.

        1. Corrected”

          “No. Illegals are subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign power. Not the U.S. .”

    3. It also says “…and of the state wherein they reside.” Reside means to have one’s permanent home in a particular place. If they aren’t legal permanent residents it does not apply.

    4. So illegal immigrants are immune from laws? Then what law are they breaking that makes them illegal? Or do you not know what you’re talking about?

      1. This… actually makes sense.

      2. Diplomatic immunity is a traditional convention that applies only to foreign diplomats, not other immigrants or tourists, legal or otherwise. Jurisdiction includes the concept of allegiance, that;s all. If a French citizen mother gives birth in the US, does the kid need a US passport to back home to see grandma and live in France? If French mama tourist kills someone right after the birth, can she be arrested for murder? All these defenses for birthright for illegals are as weak as they are tiresome.

      3. Illegal immigrants are not immune from laws, but they are doing their best to avoid the laws, except where they can be bestowed benefits.

      4. This isn’t the now-common term used to mean territorial jurisdiction, where the City police have no jurisdiction out in the county. . .

        The greater weight of language and history favors the conclusion that the word ‘jurisdiction” in the Fourteenth Amendment was predominantly understood to mean the jurisdiction arising from allegiance – the relationship (allegiance) between a person and their native sovereign, i.e., the country of which they are citizens – rather than the simplistic (used by weak-minded and -willed slackjawed drooling baboons) territorial jurisdiction only.

        Maybe it *is* rocket surgery, hence the lack of understanding by you, the average moron.

      5. they broke the laws by coming here “not subject to the jurisdictioin thereof” in the first place. Then by remaining here, living here, working here, etc. YOU just try sneaking into Mexico and getting caught. You will learn very quickly that their prisons do not serve meals or provide any bedding, clothing, medical care, etc, for their prisoners. Your friends and relatives are supposed to provide for you. If you have none…… oh well.

        Rember that Marine who got confused near Tijuana and ended up IN Mexico, kept going, still lost, then was discovered.. and arrested? He spent quite a bit of time in the Mexican carcel…. even after a bunch of his friends made a fuss to the White House to try and get him released, they wou;dn’t let him go. When they did, to WHOM or WHERE did they release him? Why to US government officials. Why THEM? Because he was “subject to the jurisdictioi thereof”, and NOT to that of Mexico.

      6. They are not “immune from laws”, even diplomats aren’t immune from laws. Are illegal immigrants required to register for the draft? Can they even join the military? Perform jury duty? Take a paid government job? The answer is generally “no” to all of the above. It’s definitely no if we are talking about foreign tourists!

      7. You misunderstand the use of the word “jurisdiction” as it appears in the 14th amendment. In this case it refers to which country the of which the individual is a citizen/subject. Which is consistent with the usage of that word from that time.

    5. Let’s go to merriam-webster for a complete destruction of using jurisdiction as a reason to deny citizenship.


      noun ju?ris?dic?tion \?ju?r-?s-?dik-sh?n\

      : the power or right to make judgments about the law, to arrest and punish criminals, etc.

      : the power or right to govern an area

      : an area within which a particular system of laws is used

      Come on, man.

      It’s not rocket science.

      Basically, what the 14th says is that if you are born or naturalized on US soil and are subject to the enforcement of US law then you are a citizen. They pay tickets, go to jail if they break the law, therefore, subject to US jurisdiction. It’s simple.

  9. Interesting title. It strangely is the exact opposite of what the article purports to favor. A birthright is something that you inherit from your ancestors, not from your neighbors ancestors. How could you receive a birthright which your parents did not posses? Generations of families living here, paying taxes and even fighting and dying in wars built this country. It is the birthright of the descendants of those who built it, not every human being on the planet.

  10. Yeah, this is all pretty much crap. “Sins of the father” my ass. It is getting so this is not a libertarian site, but a anarchist site. If there are no limits, then there is no difference between anarchists and libertarians.

    If, there are no borders, and any resident has rights to stay, to vote, to bequeath those rights to his children, then there is in fact no country and no citizens. This sounds wonderful to anarchists, apparently they never think “and then what?”.

    Culture is important. So much of what libertarians value is only sustainable when it becomes part of the culture. It takes time and immersion for immigrants to any country to adopt the culture and values of that culture.

    It is rare, that people from a particular culture, associate the culture with the lack of economic growth, poverty, and general lack of freedom experienced. It is typically attributed to a person, or a group, rather than to the culture of that country or region.

  11. The author takes the 14th Amend out of context, whether deliberately or out of ignorance is hard to discern. The full text is as follows:

    “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.” (emphasis added)

    Illegal aliens have not subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of the United States or the particular state wherein they reside. Quite the opposite, they flaunt the laws of the US by deliberately violating them when they enter, and continuously as they remain.

    1. It would seem that anyone within the United States or its territories would be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. What other jurisdiction would reign in the United States? A person may be a citizen of another government, but that government’s laws are not the jurisdiction here.

      1. “A person may be a citizen of another government, but that government’s laws are not the jurisdiction here.”

        Not true. That governments law can apply to their citizens. For instance it’s illegal for Americans to have sex with someone under 16 anywhere in the world even if that countries laws allow it.

      2. no other jurisdicion reigns in the US.. but when those illegals who happen to get caught and subesequently are deported (rare, I know, but it DOES happen…) WHERE do they end up being sent? If they are Panamanian, are they sent to China? Or Pakistan? NO., they are ALWAYS sent to the country of their own jurisdiction, whcih HAS to take them back.

      3. Illegals are subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign govt.

  12. So these folks coming here illegally (most of them perfectly fine folks in many ways) are in such volume that that the sustain the culture and values they came with. That culture, and those values, are NOT libertarian values folks.

    Most of those folks from Venesuala, (and the most of the 3rd world) do not associate their desire for a socialist government, run by a strong central government with the situation they left. They do not believe that the government that will take all that wealth from those evil “rich people” to give it to the downtrodden poor is wrong. They desire a better life, but advocate the same culture and values that helped make the place they left a hellhole.

    So, one of the great virtues of controlled immigration, is that intends to provide time for the immigrants to acclimate to life here, and for their children to adopt our culture rather than the one their parents escaped from. Some method of doing this is essential. If you are opposed to this method, I am eager to hear yours.

    The ironic result of this blind pursuit of anarchist unlimited and uncontrolled immigration, will be complete destruction of the last vestiges of libertarian society in the United States and the likely descent into a police state. I see no need to expedite the already disturbing trend in this direction.

  13. “In the first place, it would consign many people born, raised and educated here to inferior status, forever.”

    This is not possible, even if the Constitution could somehow be changed, unless while they were tinkering with it, they also changed the prohibition of ex post facto laws.
    Admittedly, the whole idea is stupid, which is why we frequently call the GOP the Stupid Party. But i don’t see where this gives Steve the right to be fast and loose with the facts.

  14. And of course, regular readers of Steve Chapman should already know he is not a libertarian thinker anyway but a progressive. If in doubt, go back and review his past “journalistic” efforts.

    1. Honestly, I’m just about done with Reason. It’s turning into Salon a little bit at a time. And too many commenters here are blind open borders kooks. No wonder the libertarian movement is such a joke.

  15. Making a natural human activity (migration) a crime is foolish and is the basis of this entire mess. Reasonites would be the first ones to scream about the insanity of wage or price controls, but when it comes to immigration, we seem to have a blind spot about passing written laws in contradiction of natural fact. The solution is to end the entitlement state, outlaw (or at least un-empower) unions, and move back to a hard currency that can not be manipulated by politicians and get the government out of determining who can and can not work. At that point, if Jose will do the same job as Joe, but for half the cost, Joe better realize that he’s overcharging and if he wants that big SUV and McMansion, he’s going to have to work harder.

    Go ahead, scream at me, I’m sick of this argument.

    1. I agree, but on the other hand, in order to ensure some level of order (if we are deciding on keeping government), we need to have a vetting process to give special access to verifiable permanent resident. Otherwise we could have a whole army of (hypothetical) naturally migrated Chinese operatives who vote to annex an entire state into China.

      I don’t think immigration should be illegal, but I do believe in a system that says “If you want a membership, you have to pay something and adhere to our policy”.

    2. migreation is not a crime. Migration without managing the paperwork/permissions, records, etc, of the nation into which one migrates IS a crime in every nation on earth. WHY? Because a simple visitor has no need nor desire to be “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” concerning the country in which he happens to be present. Migration carries with it the intent to remain, settle, become a part of the new nation, and thus “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” The visitor or guest never needs to, as he will be leaving.

      1. Years ago I emigrated to Canada.. had to go visit the Canadian Consul’s office, fill out papers, prove my financial solvency, demonstrate I’d not become a burden to society, have a trade or a skill that is in demand in that nation, get a pjysical exam to demonstrate by good health, declare my “settler’s effects”, the junk I’d be bringing along with me (including some twenty cases of wine, which NO one could afford ti simply import, as the duties on it amount to far more than its market value, but as “settler’s effects” it came in free.. hooray). Then I had to tell them where I intended to settle, and a time window. Once I arrived at the boundary I had to take all my paperwork passport, vehicle titles, lists, etc, and submit them for examination and approval…. in a way it was all a charade, but they went through it all in decency and order… and duly stamped my passport as “landed immigrant”. At the moment I first crossed into Canada AFTER all the paperwork I was a legal resident, could work, buy peroperty run a business, hunt, buy a gun, NONE of which was true on the last trip I had made to visit.
        See the difference? Significant. Surprisingly, though, they had no requirement I register my residence with them, nor to report at any intervals. Once there I was THERE. I did get a big pink piece of paper, stamped, and dated, to prove I had permanent resident status… that I was thereafter “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”.

      2. Mexicans don’t assimilate. Pand they send their disposable dollars to Mexico. No more illegals. In fact we should suspend mist immigration for several years and focus on sorting out what we have now

    3. So illegals have an unlimited right to come here. Fun you asshole. No they don’t.

  16. “Getting rid of it would create a raft of problems without delivering any offsetting benefits.”

    That has never stopped the government before.

  17. “Under established law, a child born here is a U.S. citizen, even if the parents are present without permission” since there has been no SCOTUS review of such a case (not that I trust those black robed hooligans), can you point me in the direction where birthright citizenship has been enshrined in law? And please don’t trot out the worn out 14th amend. argument. That has been debunked so thoroughly that you will demean yourself for trying. I would also like to point out, that under your ridiculous reasoning, children born to foreign diplomats are also, US citizens.

  18. Its a loophole that I’m ok with tolerating. If we start making value judgments about the conditions for which birthright citizenship applies then that’s going to be a problem.

    1. It’s not hard. If the parents are legal permanent residents.

    2. Can you live with it when it allows 400,000 new families to collect government welfare benefits, as it did the last year tabulated?
      That baby anchors the entire family to the government teat. Something libertarians are supposed to be against.

  19. “the nations of the European Union have millions of unauthorized immigrants” another logical fallacy. The laws of Europe actively ENCOURAGE immigration, illegal or otherwise, because of the declining birthrates of native populations. The “enlightened” Europeans sought to import an underclass that would perform the menial, and low paying, work that they were unable to do because of shrinking populations. Couple this with the asinine cradle to grave welfare system, and you generate a tsunami of 3rd world poor defecating in your streets, raping your women, and beheading them in Ikea.

    1. And now countries like France experience weeks long riots by indigent Muslim immigrants who don’t assimilate into French culture. Fuck that. No more illegals.

  20. When these people form a majority and employ their political tendencies blogs like “Reason” will probably be no longer legal so enjoy publishing while you can!

  21. While this comes about because of illegal immigration, the actual issue here is citizenship. While we can (and do) argue endlessly whether the Constitution grants power to Congress to limit who comes and goes across the international border, Article I Section 8 paragraph 4 is clearly worded when it comes to citizenship:

    To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    Congress can pass legislation ending the practice, no amendment required. The 14th Amendment requires that people be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US in order to qualify for citizenship. This is different from “within the jurisdiction” as used later in the same section, with regards to equal protection. These are two different things. “Within the jurisdiction” means physically present, and subject to the laws of the locality where they are. “Subject to the jurisdiction” means “subject to its “complete” jurisdiction, “not owing allegiance to anybody else.”

    This guy explains it better.

  22. I hear it’s all the rage in Europe. And they’re so cultured and enlightened.

  23. Likewise, abolishing birthright citizenship in the United States “would lead to the establishment of a permanent class of unauthorized persons,” said a 2010 analysis by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).

    Like we don’t have that already?

    How am I supposed to take these arguments seriously?

  24. What about the fact that ending birthright for one currently unfavored class will lead to pushes to deny birthright to future classes of the unfavored?

    That’s what will happen if we provide the explicit power to Congress to regulate birthright by amending the Constitution or interpret the 14th Amendment’s language “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” to mean “not breaking any laws we think are important”.

    But, nah, that’ll never happen to us true Americans…

  25. “Punishing kids for their parents’ sins is the idea behind the proposal to revoke birthright citizenship.”

    I won’t argue either way about the overall point of the article, but the quote above is a total loser. Imagine if parents stole a nice car, gave it to their kid, and then the police found and recovered the car. Would you consider that punishing the kid for the parents’ sin?

    The anti-illegals crowd believe that the kid was never entitled to that thing (car/citizenship). The kid isn’t being punished, he just isn’t getting to keep something that he didn’t deserve.

    1. Doesn’t that argument make a chauvanistic claim that it is punishment to be a citizen of another country, namely, the country of the parent?
      If you are not an American, you are being punished.

  26. “Punishing kids for their parents’ sins is the idea behind proposals to revoke birthright citizenship.”

    This is intellectual laziness of the first order. No one is being “punished”. Anymore than sending a parent to jail for theft punishes the child of the criminal. It was the criminal whose behavior caused the outcome. The same is true for parents who illegally immigrate to the US and have a baby. It was their choice.

    It would seem that the automatic birthright interpretation could be changed by law, while at the same time, not revoking it from those to whom it has already been applied.


    Interesting take.

    I think anchor babies only are an issue because they allow the illegals to get access to US welfare.

    but the entire topic is dangerous. Trump will cause a lot of damage.

    Of course, this is because the issue has been embargoed by the elites, and because the GOP establishment has been horrible.

    Mcconnel and Boehner have done nothing but enable Obama. Of course voters are upset.

    1. The China anchor baby numbers are minuscule and they more than likely coordinate with local medical care because they are wealthy compared to an illegal Mexican family. 20-25 years ago hospitals were overrun with anchor babies filling maternity wards and not being able to provide adequate care for legals, who were turned away from their own hospital in some cases. Now more public money is provided to account for this and special maternity ward were created-the system has a better handle on providing these services today.

  28. OK, I’ll give the author this much credit: He addresses the merits of the issue, instead of simply bloviating about Dred Scott.

    And he manages to hit on one – one! – legitimate issue, namely, the bureaucratic hassle of proving that your parents were legal in order to establish your citizenship.

    But consider the flip side: Consider two married couples in Fredonia, both seeking to move to the U.S. The first couple applies for residency status under U.S. law and patiently waits for the immigration bureaucracy to get back to them. The second couple comes to the U.S. – by an illegal border crossing, tourist visa, or whatever – and has a child.

    21 years later – the first couple is still waiting for the immigration bureaucracy to let them into the US, but the second couple’s citizen-child can now sponsor them for “family reunification” visas, and the 2nd couple gets rewarded for its lawbreaking by getting admitted to the U.S.

    1. And he manages to hit on one – one! – legitimate issue, namely, the bureaucratic hassle of proving that your parents were legal in order to establish your citizenship.

      a non-issue. Anyone here legally (that is, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” will have some documents to prove it.. birtch certificate showing birth here, naturalisation papers demonstrating that one has become a full citizen, green card demonstrating lawful permanent residence here. If both parents have one of the above, or equivalant, there will not be any problem proving that the child just born is born here AND “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, and thus full citizen. (Natural Born Citizen of both parents are US Citizens at time of birth, not just legal residents). And trust me, immigrants (lawful ones, I mean) will NOT LOSE THOSE DOCUMENTS, often have secure backup copies of them, and/or the means to obtain new official copies to prove their status as lawfully here (subject to the jurisdictiion thereof). The responsibility to prove legal status here at time of birth falls on parents, and if the law were enforced, any immigrant parent would make certain “paypahs ah in oadah” for their child.

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  30. From the 14
    “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.”

    right there in the 14th its pretty clear, “all persons born” just like the 2nd amendments “shall not be infringed”

    Now if people want to change the 14th thats fine but until then, or easier yet enforce the border rules and make it illegal to visit the U.S. while pregnant that might be easier.

    1. You skipped the qualifying clause. See my comment above.

      1. that does apply to how to become a citizen but does not address the birthright issue which the 14th explicitly does when it list “all persons born in” thus taking that issue out of congress hands. I wish you were correct but I think the 14th over rules.

        1. Going to have to disagree with your interpretation. The article I linked gives a pretty clear rundown of the thoughts of the authors of the 14th, and they were pretty clear that the qualifying clause applies to the first clause. In short, a child born in the US of parents who have an allegiance to another country is not automatically a citizen, because citizenship derives from parentage — not location. Otherwise, diplomats who have children while here would qualify those children as US citizens as well.

          1. Unfortunately the thoughts of the authors does not matter since thats not what they wrote and the 14th does not have to discuss diplomates because that is already taken care of in other parts of the constitution.

            1. You don’t understand the definition of jurisdiction properly. Which makes you wrong.

    2. you have the “all persons born” part down, now READ THE NEXT PHRASE, the one that limits the class of “all persons born” by ALSO requiring that they be “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, which illegals are not. The full text is the law, not the part you like. Read it ALL…..

      1. I saw that part and realized that, illegal or not, once you are in the U.S. you are under U.S. Jurisdiction, hence once born your a citizen. I don’t like the result either but it is the law and would be happy to see it changed. My other thought would be to that any child born in america will be a citizen but the parents will have to give their child up for adoption and leave or leave with their child and the child could come back when he/she is of legal age of 18.

        1. That’s not what jurisdiction means. We’re not talking about jurisdiction in the sense of a police department. These are people subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign power. The word was used differently at the time this was written.. Which does matter.

        2. Again, the weak-minded and -willed slackjawed drooling baboons fail to understand the meaning of the word “jurisdiction.”

          The Fourteenth isn’t about territorial jurisdiction – that’s the simple-minded definition used by Criminal Trespasser Apologists and fuckwits of all skin tones.

          The actual definition rests upon allegiance, not location. Hence, when US citizens have a child in a foreign country, that child is also a US citizen – because the citizenship, allegiance, and residence of the parents are in/of the US rather than the country where the child was born.

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  33. I disagree… the rule should be that your mother needed to be here legally for you to be a US Citizen.

    If she was not send you both back home.

    1. No, because a lot of mothers can come here legally while pregnant and have their baby here.

  34. Birthright citizenship is unconstitutional – If an illegal alien has a child on American soil, the Constitution does not require the child be granted American citizenship. Congress can give citizenship to anyone it wants, but the Fourteenth Amendment only commands citizenship to persons born on U.S. soil to parents who are not citizens of a foreign country…

  35. Video – The Debate Over Birthright Citizenship, Explained in 90 Seconds..

  36. Interesting Chapman would invoke the OT to make a point of hypocrisy toward those who want to repeal the 14th amendment or say, I believe correctly, that it does not apply for everyone indiscriminately. If you’re going to use the old testament to show hypocrisy, what about thou shalt not commit adultery and support prostitution, or thou shalt not kill and support abortion, or thou shalt not covet and support pornography. At least be consistent in your cry against hypocrisy.

    A perfunctory reading of the entire 14th amendment clearly shows it is in response to the aftermath of the war between the states.

  37. I am thinking about not even getting a birth certificate for any kids we have in the future. I have wondered about this situation before, if eVerify and SS# gets to be too invasive. You already cannot get a license and maybe not vote if you do not have a SS#. Forget NSA spying, wars, business regulation, this is how “they” really control you.

    1. meant to add* -Everyone of my ancestors were here when we were still the kings subjects. So I really do not respect anyone who tries to determine my or my children’s eligibility since it never has been, is not, nor will it ever be determined by some bureaucrat or pig headed law. I realize this has limited meaning at this point but still funny to think none of my(many others too) ever “applied” for citizenship.

    2. When I was kid one didn’t need to get a SSN until they became an employee and had taxes withheld and forwarded to the SS Administration. By the time my kids were old enough to go to school SSNs were being used as student IDs and they needed one to be enrolled. Congress has since ended that practice (“for tax purposes only”) but now children can only be claimed as deductions on your federal taxes if they have a SSN.

      Therefor, you make likely get away with not getting your child a SSN, but you can’t get a tax deduction for him and he may not be able to be legally employed when he becomes of age.

  38. Steve Chapman, read John Eastman:…..-amendment

  39. ” punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation”

    Because we are *punishing* everyone in the world we haven’t granted citizenship to. We must be the most evil people ever. EVIL EVIL EVIL. Worse than Hitler.

    Well, except for all the people in every country that doesn’t grant universal citizenship to all the worlds population. Guess they’re all Worse Than Hitler too.

    And we’d be even worse if we stopped granting birthright citizenship. Worse Than Worse Than Hitler. Just like the vast majority of the world’s population that lives in countries without birthright citizenship.

    We would be like all those Great Satans in UK, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and France who in recent decades have overturned birthright citizenship. EVIL EVIL EVIL. Worse Than Worse Than Hitler.

  40. “Anti-immigration groups bewail “birth tourism,” in which foreign women travel here near the end of their pregnancies. That practice is rare.”

    Rare, or rarely caught? Here in LA the practice is not rare at all. In fact I know a couple from Japan who flew to LA just in time to give birth to their son for the sole reason of granting him automatic American citizenship. They have zero ties to the US and flew back to Japan as soon as mother and baby were able. Recently local cops, responding to complaints from neighbors, discovered that someone had converted two large homes in Monterrey Park into make-shift “maternity wards” for mothers-to-be from mainland China, who came here solely to deliver their anchor babies. I realize these are anecdotal accounts; my point is that one can’t assume it’s a rare practice based on official statistics of how many people have actually been caught and charged with doing it.

  41. ‘That rule derives from the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” ‘

    Why am I not surprised that you fail to quote a complete sentence from the Fourteenth Amendment?

    ” 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.”

    Notice the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause. There is some debate on just what that means, and whether it applies to a child of an *illegal* alien – you know, someone who is *legally* under the jurisdiction of another country as a citizen.

  42. “Under established law, a child born here is a U.S. citizen, even if the parents are present without permission.”

    Cause you know, we’re all about “established law” here at Reason, right? Nobody got any complaints about the “established law” associated with the Commerce Clause, right?

  43. Steve Chapman is wrong- birthright of a baby born in this country depends upon the staus of the parents – illegal parents most definitely are NOT included. I’m surprised that anyone thinks anything else would make any logical sense, disregarding the logical arguments. So much for Chapman’s anti-Trump rantings.Get a brain Steve and you’ll save a lot of effort making phony arguments.

  44. “In the first place, it would consign many people born, raised and educated here to inferior status, forever.”

    This only demonstrates all that is wrong with the 14th Amendment, which only enshrined the legal principle at the center of the Dred Scott decision; that only citizens have legal standing to sue for their rights. This bit of legalism has nothing to do with law. Citizenship certainly has its privileges, such as voting, but even the enfranchised in the US today seem to feel disenfranchised. What difference does it make who the polity votes for if every candidate is guaranteed to use their position to trample over more rights and freedom?

    When it comes to the unalienable rights of the individual no citizenship or other such membership scheme is needed. That American jurisprudence operates counter to that is the problem, not Trump,borders, or “anchor babies”.

  45. This article is foolish and unreasoned by the end of the first paragraph.

  46. So set a date. After Jan 1st, 2020,children born in the US whose parents can’t provide citizenship will receive a both cert, but not citizenship. On the same date parents enrolling children in school must either show that older children have been educated here,(so the families are grandfathered in) or that the child is a citizen. Within five years, most people with school aged kid will self emigrate, and those kids that remain will be really obvious ( because they are on the streets during the school day) Will children suffer? Yes, but given our current economic situation, we can’t feed or educate our own. We can.t keep educating the kids of other countries.

  47. Ending citizenship by birth would be a terrible idea, says the sub heading of the above article. Possibly so, but is the NON-ENFORCEMENT of such U.S. immigration laws as might still exist a good idea? Is NOT SECURING the borders of this country a good idea, I wonder. I wouldn’t so think, but then being merely a retired Piping Designer, a 1/8 baked Mechanical Engineering type, what the devil do I know?

  48. Under established law, a child born here is a U.S. citizen, even if the parents are present without permission. That rule derives from the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”

    this is utterly false. READ the rest of the last sentence as written in the text of that Article of Ammendment. Here it is, for the lazy, the complete text. Doubt me? Find your own copy of the Cosntitutioin and read it yourself. You DO have one, don’t you? If not, shame on you. Get one and READ it… several times.

    Here is the text of that 14th: all persons born or naturalised in the United States, AND SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION THEREOF, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside”. I bolded the critical phrase left out by this inaccurate author.

    A visitor, invader, “undocumented alien”, guest, illegal alien, border-jumper, river swimmer, is NOT “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, and therefor is NOT a citizen.

    No new law need be made, the text of the Article settles it.

    Further, no one is attempting to remove or cancel any citizenship already granted lawfully. That is another liberal press myth. ALL present citizens will remain so. Application of the text of the 14th will end the charade of “anchor baby” and “birthright citizenship”, as only babies born her “subject to the jurisdition thereof” are citizens by right of birth.

    1. sorry but anybody inside the U.S. is then under U.S. jurisdiction. Once here a person must obey U.S. laws and by law the U.S. is responsible for their safety legal or otherwise. hence all people in the U.S. are under U.S. jurisdiction.

      1. If that was true, why include that clause at all?

        BTW, most non-citizens don’t register for the draft, they aren’t qualified for jury duty, etc.

      2. Idiot. That’s not what it means.

  49. The idea of ending birthright citizenship is not a “new” idea. If you actually read the 14th amendment and can understand common english them you would know that birthright citizenship only applied to babies whose parents were US citizens. Children born of foreign parents are not eligible for birthright citizenship. Words have specific meanings. The 14th amendment is in no way ambiguous. Quit trying to bend the words to suit your wishes.

  50. I must have missed something in the article that proves the premise Steve Chapman makes that eliminating birthright citizenship will hurt citizens. I don’t see how his premise of having to prove one is a citizen hurts citizens.

    It does hurt those who choose to come here illegally or who simply come here in order to have children on the American dollar simply because they are no longer rewarded for their disrespect and bad behavior.

    Not giving citizenship to those to disrespect us and break our laws actually seems like quite a good idea.

    Citizenship must continue to be a desired objective obtained through honoring our country’s laws and history and not breaking our laws.

    Really, why should be WANT to invite lawbreakers into our country?

    “Should this country no longer have right to decide who can come here and be allowed become citizens?” is the real question I take from this article.

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  52. “Punishing kids for their parents’ sins is the idea behind proposals to revoke birthright citizenship.”

    That’s typically overwrought libtardarian bullshit. Dumping the birthright nonsense is about absolutely nothing more than preventing an infestation of trespassing low-life scumbags swarming into a sovereign nation to suck up the free goodies meant for its legitimate citizens.

  53. First off we have to debate the record on the original meaning. Who’s that senator guy; Jacob? It was heho said the 14th would not convey citizenship on even legal aliens that give birth here much less the illegal? We need to get to the question; can SCOTUS derive a ruling from the language of the amendment that defies the record of intent?
    Then we need to debate the clause “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Maybe its just a fluff line. Maybe it means something. I’m not convinced either way but there is a debate and it needs to be cleared up.
    Lastly, I forget who said it but there’s no reason we cannot live with birth citizenship and deportation of the parents. For two reasons already given elsewhere. One, we do it to criminals with children all the time, even mothers who give birth inside a prison. Two, according to the Elian Gonzales precedent the child, a citizen, is subject to the jurisdiction of the parents. The parents determine if the child deports with them or they find other arrangements. The government cannot do anything to disrupt the parental rights. When the child turns 18 they may exercise their rights as adults or anytime before that with parental permission. However, I would deny such a citizen immediate access to government benefits. It’s not the most satisfying answer but it does tamp down the problem.

    1. “Subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is not fluff. . . there is a reason why that phrase was used in that place, rather than “within it’s jurisdiction” as used later in the clause.

      “Subject to the jurisdiction thereof” has a clear meaning – the allegiance of the subjectee. Aliens/foreigners are subject to a foreign power – the country of their citizenship – rather than the US.

      “Within it’s jurisdiction” is the simpler meaning of territorial jurisdiction – you’re within the jurisdiction of US law when physically present in the US, and therefore under the equal protection of US law.

      So. . . in more modern language, the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth would read, “All persons born in the United States, whose parents are not foreign nationals, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

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