With the immigration issue swirling about the country, Arizona being slapped with lawsuits and Mexico drug cartel violence exploding south of the border; many are beginning to have adult conversations about the impact of illegal immigration within U.S. borders.
Every year there are approximately 300,000 to 400,000 children born in America to illegal immigrants parents. As such, the children automatically get the golden ticket – citizenship and all the benefits that come with being an American. Of course babies cannot take care of themselves so their parents must now gain some sort of legal status to care for their infant child.
The political birthright or anchor baby controversy has been debated for many years and only after the Arizona SB1070 crackdown on illegal immigration has it been brought back to the forefront.
Legislation aimed at changing the 14th Amendment and the scope of birthright citizenship has been debated in many Congressional sessions but failed to gain any real traction.
According to legal experts, when the definition of the word born (in the 14th Amendment) is challenged, aside from Justice William O’Douglas footnote, the only legislative history refers to Negro populations for purposes of counting for Congressional districts.
There has not and was not any debate during the 14th Amendment process or thereafter as to the meaning of the word “born.” The reason being was that former slaves were already considered citizens for purposes of determining Congressional districts and representation. Under the Constitution Negro slaves were considered property, but for purposes of the census were counted as three-fifths per white male.
The distinction between the freed slaves of the 14th Amendment and present day illegal immigrants is that Negroes were already considered citizens of the States in which they were born, however, present day illegal immigrants do not have that Constitutional nexus. This distinction between the Negroes of the 14th Amendment and the illegal immigrants of today would make it very difficult for the Supreme Court of the United States to overrule a narrowed Congressional definition, particularly since Congress has the exclusive power under the Constitution to determine immigration and naturalization.
If Congress is brave and bold they would provide a fail-proof solution to the 14th Amendment issue on birthright citizenship.
Since there is no definition (8USC Sec. 1101 definition reads) of the word “born” even though it is referenced several times an addition seems natural. An example of a definition would read something along these lines; “for the purposes of this chapter and wherever used in relation to immigration or naturalization, including the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the meaning of the word ‘born’ shall mean a child born in the United States, its territories or possessions, of a parent who is a natural born or nationalized citizen of the State in which the birth of the child is recorded.”
Internationally, a trend has formed as countries have moved away from universal birthright citizenship including but are not limited to; England, Australia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and the Dominican Republic.
According to NumbersUSA, a Washington D.C. immigration think tank, an overwhelming majority of the world’s countries do not offer automatic birthright citizenship.
In a new report, ‘Birthright Citizenship in the United States: A Global Comparison,’ the Center for Immigration Studies’ legal policy analyst Jon Feere reviews “the history of the issue in American law and presents the most up-to-date research on birthright citizenship policies throughout the world. The global findings are the result of direct communication with foreign government officials and analysis of foreign law. The report concludes that Congress should promote a serious discussion about whether the United States should automatically confer the benefits and burdens of U.S. citizenship on the children of aliens whose presence is temporary or illegal.” http://www.cis.org/birthright-citizenship
The report further finds that only 30 of the 194 countries grant citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants; the advanced economies of Canada and the United States only give citizenship to children born to illegal aliens; the global trend is moving away from birthright citizenship;14th Amendment history indicates that the Citizenship Clause was never intended to benefit illegal aliens; The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the U.S.-born children of permanent resident aliens are covered by the Citizenship Clause, but the Court has never decided whether the same rule applies to the children of aliens whose presence in the United States is temporary or illegal.
It’s time for Congress to act on the immigration problems facing America. Securing the borders alone will not be enough to fix the complexity of the issue. However, defining the meaning of the word “BORN” would be another step in the right direction.