Arizona lawmakers challenge 14th Amendment

Republican lawmakers in Arizona have introduced legislation on a state level to end what they refer to as birthright citizenship.

CNN reported that in addition to Arizona, legislators in 40 states are considering similar laws.

They want to bring  this issue before the Supreme Court forcing federal authorities to re-examine what the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause was intended to mean so the issue can once again take national stage.

But the immigration problem isn’t going to be solved by changing our Constitution.  It will only be solved through collaborative efforts, by both sides of the Congressional political aisle, to draft and pass new immigration laws.

Many conservative lawmakers do not believe the intent of the 14th Amendment was to grant everyone born on U.S. soil citizenship, but rather the intent was to grant it only to those who were born to parents legally in the U.S. in the first place.

This is a bizarre position because in 1868, when the 14th Amendment was ratified, there weren’t any immigration laws in place in the U.S., so people could come andgo as they pleased and Congress was aware.

To be sure, the 14th Amendment came about primarily to combat the rampant racism that continued to plague the U.S. since the end of slavery.

It was meant to give African Americans legal standing in court and to remove state’s rights to determine citizenship.

However, if the 14th Amendment was only intended to benefit African Americans then one would assume those words would be there, but they are not.

Clearly, there were other immigrants in this country at the time.

And not only is birthright citizenship plainly spelled out in the 14th Amendment, but so is protection for any person in this country to be covered by our laws and not just U.S. citizens.

Some people would like to claim the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” part of the amendment was meant to mean only citizens or legal residents. However, if anti-immigration politicians feel undocumented immigrants are not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. then undocumented immigrants aren’t really here illegally at all because they aren’t subject to our laws.

There is no question that coming to this country illegally is wrong, but the majority of those who come here do so to have a better life.

They believe in the American dream. Their intention is not to take advantage of American taxpayers contrary to what many conservative politicians would like you to believe.

These lawmakers are using fear tactics to rouse support for altering the 14th Amendment. A good example of this is the absurd promotion of “anchor babies” that has been tossed around recently.

Women are not risking their lives to come here illegally while pregnant so their babies will have the opportunity to become legal 18 years later.

Additionally, the suggestion that having a baby in the U.S. can keep someone from being deported is out of date.

It may have been true at one time, but it no longer is the case.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not care if your baby is a legal citizen.  They will still deport an undocumented parent and if the baby goes with them or not is up to the parent.

The other argument for reinterpreting the 14th Amendment is that anchor babies and their parents have no allegiance to the U.S.

This lacks logic because if these undocumented immigrants are crossing the border, raising kids and building lives here, where is the allegiance to their native country when they don’t even want to live there?

Proponents of reinterpretation are also ignoring years of legal precedent.

For example, in 1898, the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. vs. Wong Kim Ark that despite Ark’s parents being Chinese-born and not citizens of the U.S., Ark was a citizen because he was born here and the 14th Amendment applies to all those born in the U.S.

It did not matter to what country Ark’s parent’s pledged their allegiance, what mattered was upholding the 14th Amendment.

It would be un-American to allow a group of close-minded individuals to alter the meaning of one of our greatest Constitutional amendments.

  • Ted

    This is the comment that is particularly disturbing from Alison Geller:

    “It did not matter to what country Ark’s parent’s pledged their allegiance, what mattered was upholding the 14th Amendment.”

    This is absolutely false. Read the decision, it was clearly written that owing allegiance to the U.S. as a resident alien was a PREREQUISITE to being determined subject to the jurisdiction.

    People here temporarily, or illegally are not resident aliens.

  • Anonymous

    Yes I agree that brainwashing is pretty obvious. Of course her and her “superiors” ignore that 700 million poor foreigners want to move here, if they all did like these wacky libs support, there would be no public money to pay for their education or salaries!! Bunch of starry eyed idiots. I wish there was some way to take all the support/salaries of every public charge/employee who supports unrestricted immigration, and use that to support the illegals. Bet they would change their tune immediately.

  • zoo

    “…But the immigration problem isn’t going to be solved by changing our Constitution. It will only be solved through collaborative efforts, by both sides of the Congressional political aisle, to draft and pass new immigration laws…”

    Oh brother. Clarifying the definition and intent of the citizenship clause is NOT “changing our Constitution”. After ten solid years of pretend enforcement by both a Republican and a Democrat president – more laws should be passed? Absurd.

  • Anonymous

    It’s really amazing how this writer can b e so ignorant and wrong in all her comments. I sure would hate to have her for my lawyer!!

    • Out of her league

      I think she’s just an ignorant college student who has been successfully brainwashed by her superiors to spew leftist talking points. Hopefully.

  • “For example, in 1898, the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. vs. Wong Kim Ark that despite Ark’s parents being Chinese-born and not citizens of the U.S., Ark was a citizen because he was born here and the 14th Amendment applies to all those born in the U.S.”

    The distinction needs to be made that Wong Kim Ark’s parents were NOT illegal aliens.

    • Yep

      They were lawfully-admitted, and permanent residents (to the greatest extent that they could be).

      Yet a tourist can have a baby today and we consider it a U.S. citizen. So damn stupid — and NOT required by the Constitution.

  • Anonymous

    This video featured on CBS will tell you everything you need to know about anchor babies and how their mothers feel.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/07/eveningnews/main40

  • Anonymous

    The 14th amendment was written way before the world knew about Mexican Nationals.
    No one knew that Mexican Nationals were such terrible parasites or the 14 amendment would not have ever been written the way it way.
    Mexicans use this law as their RACKET!

  • Frank

    The reasoning that immigrants are a drain on our reasources is odd. Healthcare is a mess, I have insurance but I never go to the docotor or the dentist. Realistically if citizens cannot afford going to the hospital how are illegals able to afford it… thats right, they cant. I work at a community Clinic and if you do not have insurance you are resonsible for the entire amount of the bill at time of service, people just do not bother. There is a sliding fee program instituted but to even get in appointment you have to wait months. As for the taking of jobs, which glamourous jobs do you believe they are taking?? Soo your fighting tooth and nail for a dishwasher position? Or have you been staking out Home depot for weeks to install someones floor? Im a college graduate, and even with my degree it took me 2 years to land a job in my field- its tough- I had to work odd jobs til I got lucky (its who you know, not what you know apparently). Heres some truth, what I make in a day ( $100 ) a person makes that in a week working in a factory in Mexico working more that 10 hour days. Can you make $400 last for a family of 4 every month??? Thats what they do, and its ridiculous. Guess who is benefitting from that set up, you guessed it, the good ol US of A setting up shops in Mexico for the cheap labor. So it bothers you that they come to our country in hopes to improve their way of life? Isnt that the american dream at its core? to improve yourself and provide for your family?

    • Anonymous

      Frank do you have your head in a hole or something? Are you living under a rock?
      Most construction jobs are stolen by illegal aliens or aren’t you aware of that?
      For the American construction worker this is a catastrophe due to illegal job thieves!

    • American lawbreakers rob banks, steal cars, burglarize houses, rob people, deal illegal drugs,
      commit fraud, etc., in hopes of improving their lives. Isn’t that the American dream at its core? To improve yourself and provide for your family? So, Frank, according to your reasoning, that should make committing these crimes by American lawbreakers justifiable, right?

    • Anonymous

      OK Frank, Now you have a job working in a clinic. Now suppose your employers decided they want to cut costs. How would you feel about being replaced by a legal visa holder who would do your 100.00 buck a day job for $40.00?

      There are literally thousands of American tradesmen who spent 4 or more years learning and perfecting their skills. Just because a person works with their hands, doesn’t mean they are not as smart as you or less because they didn’t go to college. Construction and manufacturing were once middle class jobs before the influx of illegal labor. Those industries were what really made this country’s economy.

      Illegal immigration is the other side of the insourcing/outsourcing coin. Businesses that can’t move over seas either use the US visa program or hire illegally. What it amounts to is employer greed on all fronts. Savings in labor are rarely passed onto the consumer.

      Frank, your attitude is typical of so many of the college educated. From your comment it appears you believe your education makes you better then the floor layer. For some reason he shouldn’t be allowed to make a decent living. You seem to want to care more for the foreign national then your neighboring citizen. Will that ease the American guilt complex you seem to suffer from?

      And why Mexicans? There are people from all over the planet who live in worse conditions with more poverty. Mexico is not a poor country. Are Mexicans because they live in close proximity to our border supposed to get a pass?

      Americans as a whole are some of the hardest working people in first world countries.There is virtually no job they will not do. Even a casual sampling of the TV show Dirty Jobs shows Americans doing dirty, disgusting and dangerous jobs. The only caveat is they will not work for slave wages. They will not live 3 families to a single family home just to increase their employer’s bottom line. Americans as a whole work longer hours then their western European counterparts and many go year round with no vacation.

      Frank, the US currently imports 125,000 legal visa job takers monthly. Perhaps that is one of the reasons you found it hard to get a job in your field. For a supposed educated man with degree, you have a lot to learn.

  • Ted

    disproven, (comma) wrong.. I have a graduate degree, but in a hurry.. thanks homeless

  • Ted

    When hearings are held some day on the Fourteenth Amendment,the citizenship clause and Wong Kim Ark, you will be disproven wrong on all of your points. You did no research for this, except to rely on the myths of others.

    • you will be disproven wrong? that makes no not sense tED. You did no sentence structure research for be to this, expect to reply on roman mythology

  • it should be like china, if you have more than 1 kid here illegally or legally, you have donate that kid to the local circus or Nike factory

  • David the small-L libertarian

    Clearly the 14th Amendment was not meant to give the child of a visitor, let’s say a pregnant Japanese woman on a two-week US vacation who births a child here, US citizenship. Just as clearly, it wasn’t meant to cover illegal immigrants either.

    The meaning of the Amendment has been twisted by the Left to further its “one world” agenda.

    • Out of her league

      From the article: “The suggestion that having a baby in the U.S. can keep someone from being deported is out of date.”

      Obviously the writer has NO understanding of how immigration policy works. How embarrassing for this newspaper. Whoever is giving her information is doing her a disservice. Here’s reality:

      “Just How Does an Anchor Baby Anchor the Illegal Alien Parent?”
      http://www.cis.org/north/anchor-baby-mechanisms

      * the most obvious, and the least numerically significant, is the right of a 21-year-old citizen to petition for immigrant status for a non-citizen parent. By definition, this cannot happen until at least 21 years have passed.

      * under some quite precise circumstances the presence of a U.S.-born child of an illegal alien, or a green card holder in trouble with the law, can cause a judge to grant legal status to an alien who would not get it otherwise.

      * much more important is the hidden, undocumented, and uncounted influence of the presence of a U.S.-citizen child in the household of an illegal alien; officials are less likely to deport the parent of such a child than they are to deport an alien who is otherwise similar, but childless.

      * the fourth mechanism may be more important than all the rest, and is the least susceptible to counting. This is the perception in the minds of the illegal alien parents, usually mothers, that somehow the presence of a U.S.-born baby will be helpful to parents in immigration proceedings. That thought process probably works, in most instances, without any detailed knowledge of the three mechanisms noted above.

      (Much more at the link.)

  • CSUNStudent

    <>

    No. By being here illegally, with the intent to illegally reside in this country (as opposed to being tourists and leaving for their home country after their vacation ends…), they are breaking the law.

    I am all for legal immigration, but we have a problem with illegal immigration that can only be stopped by going after the employers of illegal immigrants, and deporting illegal immigrants. Like it or not, they are a drain on our hospitals, social services, etc.

    • roni

      u r correct LEAGAL imigration is what this country stands for- the right to improve ones self and situation, BUT it has come to the point that ILLLEAGAL imigration is draining resources that is paid for and mostly unavailible to hard working and stuggleing CITIZENS. if a person(s) want to come here and get a better life good for them! let them get a green card and pay taxes and stop under cutting the employment system.

      • How unfortunate that the author of this article failed to do any research before reflexively pushing the open-border interpretation of the 14th Amendment. Here’s a great overview of birthright citizenship:

        “Birthright Citizenship in the United States: A Global Comparison”
        http://www.cis.org/birthright-citizenship

        • Reality Check

          Article writer: “Women are not risking their lives to come here illegally while pregnant so their babies will have the opportunity to become legal 18 years later.”

          FACTS:

          “It’s easy. If you register the birth, it’s automatic that your baby can get an American passport,” said Kim Jeong Yeon, a Korean woman who traveled to the United States on a tourist visa while six months pregnant. Like many other women, Kim spent thousands of dollars to have a company arrange the travel. “If they could afford it, all my friends would go to the United States to have their babies,” she said.[Barbara Demick, “Korean Moms Want ‘Born in USA’ Babies,” L.A. Times, May 2002]

          In California, three Chinese-owned “baby care centers” offer expectant mothers a place to give birth to an American citizen for a fee of $14,750, which includes shopping and sightseeing trips. For a $35 daily fee, television, internet, and three meals are provided. “We don’t encourage moms to break the law — just to take advantage of it,” explains Robert Zhou, the agency’s owner. Zhou says that he and his wife have helped up to 600 women give birth in the United States within the last five years. In fact, they started the business after traveling to the United States to have a child of their own. Zhou explains that the number of agencies like his has soared in the past five years.

          Zhou believes that a cheaper education is often a motivating factor and his pitch to prospective clients includes the notion that public education in the United States is “free.” One of his clients, Christina Chuo, explains that her parents “paid a huge amount of money for their education” in the United States because they were foreign students; having an American citizen child permits her child to acquire the same education at a lower tuition. She also noted that she and her husband were not interested in permanently immigrating to the United States, “except, perhaps, when they retire.” [Keith B. Richburg, “For Many Pregnant Chinese, a U.S. Passport For Baby Remains a Powerful Lure,” Wash. Post, July 18, 2010.]

          Similarly, the Tucson Medical Center (TMC) in Arizona offers a “birth package” to expectant mothers and actively recruits in Mexico. Expectant mothers can schedule a Caesarean or simply arrive a few weeks before their due date. The cost reportedly ranges from $2,300 to $4,600 and includes a hospital stay, exams, and a massage. Additional children trigger a surcharge of $500. [Mariana Alvarado, “Hospital Lures Mexican Moms; Tucson Medical Center ‘Birth Package’ Raises Questions,” Ariz. Daily Star, June 21, 2009.]

          It’s all here, along with other examples: http://www.cis.org/birthright-citizenship