The following excerpts are from the upcoming book ” The American Citizens Handbook on Immigration” a candid conversation with a concerned citizen”available the end of August.
President Trump’s recent pronouncement that he plans to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship has brought that issue, which has been debated for the last 150 years, to the fore. According to Quartz, 39 countries currently offer citizenship to persons born therein, with the exception of children of diplomats, most of which are in the Western Hemisphere.
Most of our major allies do not follow the practice. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook, for example, states that Germany does not offer citizenship by birth, and offers citizenship by descent only if at least one parent is a German citizen or a resident alien who has lived in Germany for at least eight years. Similarly, according to the CIA, the United Kingdom does not offer birthright citizenship, and offers citizenship by descent only if at least one parent is a citizen of the United Kingdom.
As The Atlantic has noted, many countries that used to have birthright citizenship have done away with the practice. It explains:
France did away with birthright citizenship in 1993, following the passage of the Méhaignerie Law. The law limited citizenship to those born to a French parent, or to a parent also born in France. As a result, those born in France to foreign-born parents must wait until they turn 18 to automatically acquire French citizenship (a process that can begin when they turn 13, if they apply).
Ireland was the last of the European Union countries to abolish birthright citizenship, in 2005. Through a referendum backed by nearly 80 percent of Irish voters, citizenship was limited to those born to at least one Irish parent. The decision was a response to a controversy surrounding birth tourism and the high-profile case of Man Levette Chen, a Chinese national who traveled to Northern Ireland so that her daughter would be born an Irish citizen. Chen sought residency rights in Britain, citing her child’s Irish and EU citizenship. Though the United Kingdom Home Office rejected Chen’s application, the decision was overturned by the European Court of Justice in 2004.
Other countries, including New Zealand and Australia, have also abolished their birthright-citizenship laws in recent years. The latest is the Dominican Republic, whose supreme court ruled to remove the country’s birthright laws in 2013. The decision retroactively stripped tens of thousands of people born to undocumented foreign parents of their citizenship and rendered them “ghost citizens,” according to Amnesty International.
The original framers of the U.S. Constitution referenced, but did not define, national citizenship. The Constitution required that a person have been a citizen of the United States for seven years to be a Representative and for nine years to be a Senator, and that a person be a natural-born citizen or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution in order to be eligible to be President. It also gave Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, but naturalization refers to the manner in which a non-citizen acquires citizenship, rather than citizenship by birth. Nor did the Naturalization Act of 1790 or subsequent acts until the Civil Rights Act of 1866 define citizenship by birth within the United States. In the absence of any statement in the Constitution or federal statutes that U.S. citizenship was acquired by right of birth in the United States, citizenship at birth generally was construed in the context of the English common law. As noted by the Supreme Court, “[t]he interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law, and are to be read in the light of its history.”
This chapter in the book by far is the longest and the most dry in its reading. However, the historical consequences of this amendment cannot be ignored. It boils down to this interpretation. If a baby is born in the United States by a foreign national, should that child be bestowed with American citizenship.When you read this chapter in the book, hopefully I have given you enough information to make an informed decision. I for one, hold that in order for a child born on U.S soil to be a Citizen, one of the parents need to be an american citizen. Unlike the Dominican Republic, I would chose to grandfather the legislation and change it going forward, eliminating the “ghost citizen” aspect .
Assuming that Congress could amend this interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment by statute, or that the president could change it by executive order, there would be strong arguments in favor of doing so.
According to the Pew Research Center, “[a]bout 275,000 babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents in 2014, or about 7 [percent] of the 4 million births in the U.S. that year.” A recent CIS Backgrounder suggests that the number of children born to undocumented parents that year was actually higher, 297,000, or 7.5 percent of all births in the United States that year.
While either of these figures represents a decline from the 330,000 births to illegal alien parents in 2009, it is still a significant number of children. In addition, Pew has reported that:
About 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the U.S. in 2014. … They made up 3.5 [percent] of the nation’s total population, but accounted for a higher share of births because the immigrant population overall (lawful and unauthorized) includes a higher share of women in their childbearing years and has higher birthrates than the overall U.S. population.
All told, according to Pew, “there were 4.7 million U.S.-born children younger than 18 living with unauthorized-immigrant parents.”
As National Review reported in 2015, the costs of children born to illegal immigrants are “not negligible.” It noted:
Inflation-adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that a child born in 2013 would cost his parents $304,480 from birth to his eighteenth birthday. Given that illegal-alien households are normally low-income households (three out of five illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children live at or near the poverty line), one would expect that a significant portion of that cost will fall on the government.
Those expectations are borne out by the findings of Steven Camarota. In a September 2015 report, he concluded that almost 87 percent of illegal immigrant households with children used at least one welfare program, compared to almost 72 percent of legal immigrant households and 52.4 percent of native households.
CIS concludes that it is possible to estimate the net fiscal costs of illegal immigrants and their children based on new research done by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which estimates the fiscal impact of immigrants based on their education level. Based on the Academies’ work, CIS estimates that the average illegal immigrant and his or her progeny create a net fiscal drain of $82,290 in their lifetimes, taking into account all the taxes they will pay and all the services they will use
Those costs begin at birth. CIS has determined: “Illegal immigrants account for 11 percent (198,000) of all publicly funded births. … We estimate that the cost to taxpayers for births to immigrants (legal and illegal) is roughly $5.3 billion — $2.4 billion of which is for illegal immigrants.”
By raising the possibility of limiting birthright citizenship by executive order, President Trump has brought to the fore an as-yet-unresolved legal issue: whether a child born to an alien unlawfully present in the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen at birth under the Fourteenth Amendment. Inevitably, if the president were to take such action, it will be up to the Supreme Court to resolve this issue, once and for all.
If the Supreme Court were to find that under the Fourteenth Amendment, children of aliens unlawfully present in the United States do not automatically receive U.S. citizenship at birth, U.S. law would be brought in line on this issue with the policies of many of our major allies, and many other industrial powers. The taxpayers of the United States would also save the costs of providing government benefits to those erstwhile U.S. citizens.
. Use this blog as your contact point and advise your congressperson and senator that they are on notice. Go to the Senate and congressman information at the top of this blog, if you are on a tablet or smartphone click on “Menu”. That will take you to each states congress and senate contact information, including phone numbers, addresses and social media. Contact today and let them know you expect constructive immigration policies.
Thank you for participating in this conversation. God Bless America and Godspeed.