One of the Amendment’s proponents, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, stated that the Citizenship Clause
will not, of course, 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.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, explained that:
The provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ That means ‘subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.’ … What do we mean by ‘subject to the jurisdiction of the United States?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.
The fact that illegal aliens come here in spite of our laws and fly Mexican flags in protest is a pretty sure sign that they do not owe sole allegiance to this country and should not be covered by the 14th Amendment for the purpose of citizenship.
In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that the Citizenship Clause applied to children of legal immigrants awaiting US Citizenship. They have not, however, ruled that the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship for everyone. In fact in the case Hamdi vs. Rumsfield, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia referred to Taliban fighter Yaser Esam Hamdi—who was born here while his father was visiting on a temporary visa and then spent the rest of his life in Saudi Arabia—as a “presumed U.S. Citizen,” acknowledging that the issue was open to debate.
The decision to grant citizenship to the children of illegal aliens is just another arbitrary government policy that has huge costs to the American people. US Citizen children are eligible for dozens of welfare programs that strain state and federal budgets. It becomes incredibly difficult to deport the illegal alien parents of US born children. Then when the children grow up they can sponsor their family members here illegally. This is why many refer to them as “anchor babies.”
The American people overwhelmingly oppose this. According a Rasmussen poll earlier this month, 58% of Americans do not believe the children of illegal aliens should receive US Citizenship while only 33% believe they should.
Neither Congress nor the Obama administration is willing to act to prevent our Constitution from being perverted to reward illegal aliens. For the same reason I proposed SB 1070, I believe this the next step for Arizona to take up in the fight against illegal immigration.
American citizenship is a privilege, not a right. Ending birthright citizenship does not punish children, but continuing the practice rewards lawbreakers.
State Senator Russell Pearce represents Arizona’s 18th Legislative District. He was the primary sponsor of SB 1070 and the Legal Arizona Workers Act.
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