Should U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants be stripped of their citizenship?

14th Amendment

"Section 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."


The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to protect the rights of native-born Black Americans, whose rights were being denied as recently-freed slaves. In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard clearly spelled out the intent of the 14th Amendment by writing:

"Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This, of course,will not include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country."


Republicans are ranting about changing the 14th Amendment, but what do they really want since the amendment already denies citizenship to illegals?

"The 14th Amendment's citizenship clause is indeed directed at a mortal threat -- but not to the American nation. It is the threat that Latino voting poses to the Republican Party.

By proposing to revoke the citizenship of the estimated 4 million U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants -- and, presumably, the children's children and so on down the line -- Republicans are calling for more than the creation of a permanent noncitizen caste. They are endeavoring to solve what is probably their most crippling long-term political dilemma: the racial diversification of the electorate. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are trying to preserve their political prospects as a white folks' party in an increasingly multicolored land."


Views: 28

Comment by Galen on August 27, 2010 at 11:32pm
If that we not the case, then none of us are American citizens. I don't recall the white man asking the red man's permission to immigrate to this country. We are ALL the descendants of illegal immigrants! If those immigrants children were not citizens of this country, then neither were their children, or their children, or their children, all the way down through the generations to us, who are not citizens. Really incredibly unbelievably BAD IDEA!
Comment by willailla on August 28, 2010 at 11:42am
Thanks for pointing that out, Adriana, [link took me to movie ad for 'Alive']but what interested me was the fact that the 14th Amendment specifically denies citizenship to illegals born in the US. Whenever I listen to commentaries on the issue they gloss over that fact, and I find that odd. When did it become fashionable to ignore amendments to the Constitution? Reggie asks a pertinent question in his "Topic 'immigration' reform in Arizona--"...would it be wrong to include the exclusion of birthright citizenship for babies born of illegal immigrants?" I am wondering why the government does grant citizenship--and does so in violation of the 14th amendment? What's the payoff?
Comment by willailla on August 28, 2010 at 12:30pm
I agree, Galen,

Laws are made to protect us, but they are also made to entrap us. Passports exists to imprison us, to provide the illusion that we humans are somehow different from one place to another; that we are not all the same--all inhabitants of the same world--that we cannot be trusted with freedom. It is a division fostered by governments and religions that profit by pitting one group of humans against another.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 28, 2010 at 12:32pm
Also discussed

And I think there was another discussion on it somewhere, too.
Comment by Reggie on August 28, 2010 at 1:28pm
I'm sorry, but I fail to see how granting citizenship to children born in the US from parents who are illegal immigrants violates the 14th amendment. As I see it, these children have the same status as those born from American parents, before they receive their US citizenship status. So, if the former are not subject to the jurisdiction, nor are the latter, unless there is a law that says children inherit their parents status regarding jurisdiction.

Radu, I had made the same argument. I was one of a very few liberal minded folk that thought this idea merited further discussion, much to other liberals' horror. Someone, somewhere (I'll have to search) had pointed to over 200 years of case law that establishes precedent that would support citizenship status of illegals.
Comment by willailla on August 28, 2010 at 3:08pm
Hi, Radu,

Let me say up front, I'm neither a liberal or a conservative. I voted for Obama, not because I believed that crap about 'hope' and 'change'--every politician has worn out that coinage--but because I couldn't bear the thought that Sarah Palin might become vice president. Though now that I think of it she would have provided some comic relief to the absurdity our government has become.

Comment by Radu Andreiu: "I may be wrong, but in the case of children born in the US from illegal immigrants, aren't the parents those who aren't subject to the jurisdiction?"

Well, not so, it appears:

"The correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment is that an illegal alien mother is subject to
the jurisdiction of her native country, as is her baby.

Over a century ago, the Supreme Court correctly confirmed this restricted interpretation of
citizenship in the so-called 'Slaughter-House cases' [83 US 36 (1873)] and in [112 US 94

Further [more boring legal stuff]:

Jus soli [law of soil]

As of 2006, United States Federal law ( ) defines ten categories of person who are United
States citizens from birth. According to that law the following acquire citizenship by :

"a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof"
"a person born in the United States to a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other
aboriginal tribe" (see ).
"a person of unknown parentage found in the United States while under the age of five years,
until shown, prior to his attaining the age of twenty-one years, not to have been born in the
United States"
"a person born in an outlying possession of the United States of parents one of whom is a
citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its
outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such

According to a decision by Chief Justice John Marshall ...illegal immigrants have no license to enter the country, as do diplomats, for instance, and granting automatic birthright citizenship is obviously an incentive for continual infraction of the laws.

Also 'abjuration' is a term relating to jurisdiction: "the act of renouncing upon oath, as by an alien applying for citizenship who renounces allegiance to a former country of nationality." Illegals have not legally renounced their allegiance to their country of origin.

As someone said, "Consider the absurdity of the wife of an ambassador to the United Nations or other foreign diplomat gaining citizenship for her newborn. Diplomats are not subject to the jurisdiction thereof."

Radu: "...if they aren't granted the citizenship of the country they were born in, what citizenship will they have?"

They will be citizens of the country their parents came from--because they never gave up their citizenship legally. And the baby cannot have dual citizenship for the same reason the parents can't.

Radu: "...please point out my lack of understanding of this amendment..."

Ha and ha! From what I've read on the matter, No one seems to understand the amendment--nor do many seem to want to. The amendment is straightforward and the intent of the framers is clear, but when people of varying political agendas get involved laws suddenly become murky--no matter how clearly written. Both democrats and republicans have ulterior motives for doing so.
Comment by willailla on August 28, 2010 at 3:24pm

No, you sweata. I gotta hold of Vito and Vinny tuh callah off tha hit.
Comment by willailla on August 28, 2010 at 3:38pm
Reggie: " I was one of a very few liberal minded folk that thought this idea merited further discussion, much to other liberals' horror."

I think our damn 'leaders' ought to clarify what the damn law is and obey it or get rid of it and stop playing politics with peoples' lives!
Comment by Jon Heim on August 28, 2010 at 3:58pm
I'd like to point out that I'm unaffiliated.
I'm not usually in favor of changing the constitution...but;

I think that the children should go wherever their parents go. If they are deported, so should the children. who else is going to raise them? the state that they live in? no wonder people are sneaking in. free childcare at citizens expense.

African American slaves deserve to be citizens..they didn't even choose to come here. there is a big difference.

I'm not like completely adamant about this or anything. It's up to the jurisdiction.
Comment by willailla on August 28, 2010 at 4:37pm

I agree. Politicians want it both ways: be for and against the 14th Amendment depending on what they think will get them the most votes. They all love the Constitution until it screws with their agenda.


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