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IS “JUS SOLI” ENOUGH TO CONFER CITIZENSHIP?
by Sally Vendée
(Apr. 20, 2010) — Recently, three articles on Birthright Citizenship (“Anchor Babies”) have been featured on prominent news sites:
(1) The Washington Post, George Will: “An Argument to be Made About Immigrant Babies and Citizenship (March 28, 2010)
(2) ABC News, Devin Dwyer: “A New Baby Boom? Foreign ‘Birth Tourists’ Seek US Citizenship for Children” (April 14, 2010)
(3) World Net Daily, Jerome Corsi: “New US Tourism: Anchor Babies Aweigh!” (March 22, 2010)
All discuss whether babies born on US soil to non-US citizen parents should automatically receive US citizenship, regardless of whether the parents are in the US illegally or legally but temporarily.
George Will opens his essay with this bold statement:
A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration.
To end the practice of “birthright citizenship,” all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment’s first sentence: “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.”
Will further adds: “Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to mothers who are here illegally.”
According to Devin Dwyer’s ABC News article:
Millions of foreign tourists visit the United States every year, and a growing number return home with a brand new U.S. citizen in tow. Thousands of legal immigrants, who do not permanently reside in the United States but give birth here, have given their children the gift of citizenship, which the U.S. grants to anyone born on its soil.
The number of U.S. births to non-resident mothers rose 53 percent between 2000 and 2006, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Total births rose 5 percent in the same period. Among the foreigners who have given birth here, including international travelers passing through and foreign students studying at U.S. universities, are “birth tourists,” women who travel to the United States with the explicit purpose of obtaining citizenship for their child…
Dwyer further notes:
Lino Graglia of the University of Texas law school wrote in the Jan. 11 Texas Review of Law & Politics that the authors of the 14th Amendment never would have imagined their words bestowing citizenship to illegal or visiting immigrants…
The United States is one of the few remaining countries to grant citizenship to all children born on its soil. The United Kingdom, Ireland, India and Australia, among others, have since revised their birthright laws, no longer allowing every child born on their soil to get citizenship.
Jerome Corsi reports:
Medical tourism has taken a new twist, exploring opportunities for noncitizens to obtain “birthright citizenship” for their babies by taking vacations to the United States with the chief goal of having them in U.S. hospitals…
Corsi also wrote that “because hospitals issue birth certificates for every baby born, and birth certificates are key documents needed to get other official documentation, including driver’s licenses and passports, birth in the United States has been the backdoor for illegal immigrants to get their children rights of U.S. citizens.”
The articles generated numerous reader comments that ranged from cries of racism to pleas for a return to a strict reading of the Constitution.
A majority of Constitutional experts seem to agree that a narrow interpretation of the 14th amendment does not confer automatic citizenship to these “anchor babies,” as was addressed in an editorial in The Post and Email.
Legislation to clarify, redefine, or eliminate birthright citizenship has been proposed in recent years by Ron Paul, Nathan Deal and others. A 2005 Congressional Hearing on the subject before the House Subcommittee on Immigration received little press. Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney also mentioned birthright citizenship reform on the 2008 campaign trail.
As Congress considers legislation on Immigration Reform in the upcoming months, articles covering proposals of what might be included the bill have not mentioned changes to the existing practice of birthright citizenship, as amnesty for illegals seems to be the hot topic.
As more Americans become aware of the questionable constitutionality of birthright citizenship, it has yet to be determined if they will take note of the fact that Obama also has a non-US citizen father, who was in Hawaii, visiting, legally though temporarily, on a student visa. And Obama Sr. never naturalized later to become a US citizen.
Many Constitutional experts and attorneys argue that Obama’s admitted dual citizenship at birth disqualifies him from the Article II requirement that candidates for the Presidency must be “natural born” citizens.