Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Currently, the United States grants citizenship automatically to every person born on our soil—including children of legal noncitizens, tourists, and even illegal immigrants. (Children of foreign diplomats are the exception.) The U.S. has so-called birthright citizenship because the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, says citizenship must be granted to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” I argue that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” does not include illegal immigrants, and I’m not alone. One of the Amendment’s authors, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, said it “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens…” Aside from any constitutional arguments, I believe giving citizenship based merely on where you are born is bad public policy. Citizenship is about more than that; it is about our proud history, common standards, and willingness to uphold these ideals. What message does granting citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants send to people waiting to get into the U.S. legally? Foreigners who want to become citizens can wait as long as 18 years. Once someone crosses our borders illegally and gives birth to a child, their entire family is able to cut in line, degrading the legitimacy of our immigration system. Almost no other country in the world offers birthright citizenship for these reasons. Lawbreakers should not be rewarded through the destructive policy of birthright citizenship. Yep, deport any of the anchor babies.