With the New President’s agenda to legalize and make citizens of the presumed 11 Million Illegals now in the USA, I feel the need to address this again. I keep hearing people on the Left and the Right insist that if a person is born on U.S. soil, they are automatically a citizen. THAT IS WRONG! Before you insist that I am wrong and throw something at your computer screen let me delve into this again for the umpteenth time.
The Democrats railed against President Trump when he declared that he would issue an Executive Order ending “birthright citizenship.” They called him everything but a human being and made him worse than Lucifer and a reincarnation of Genghis Khan. Now that President Biden is about to take the opposite path and attempt to bypass both Congress and the Constitution and provide amnesty, that is deemed justified and praiseworthy. I consider it both unconstitutional and dangerous.
Many on both the Left and the Right fail to comprehend the actual wording and the intent of this amendment. It, like many things, has morphed into something other than the original intent. I offer my two cents hoping to bring some clarity to the argument. If I achieve that after numerous attempts, it will be nothing short of a miracle, but I feel compelled to place myself on the chopping block again for the sake of the Republic and the Constitution.
Illegal Immigration and Amnesty are not secondary issues in today’s political climate. The anti-Trump Bret Baier of Fox News during the 2016 presidential election made it clear that he and many do not understand the intent of the authors of the Amendment nor the Founders of the Republic regarding citizenship. This issue is, in many respects an economic issue. It is assuredly a national security issue. It is unquestionably a national sovereignty issue and is a moral and social issue.
At one time I thought that if a person was born in the United States. I thought that they were automatically afforded citizenship by the Constitution of these United States. As a student of history in college and over the past 50 plus years I have discovered the writings of the authors of the 14th Amendment and their view of what that amendment was designed to do.
The 14th Amendment, as per Senator Jacob M. Howard of Michigan in 1866 wrote, “…every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”
Please note the words “subject to the jurisdiction” do not simply mean being in the country physically but means “not owing allegiance” to any other foreign nation. It is not just the physical jurisdiction but the complete jurisdiction of the United States of America. Illegals cannot make that claim for they are ILLEGAL!
In 1866 Senator Edward Cowan wrote, “A foreigner in the United States has a right to the protection of the laws; but is not a citizen in the ordinary acceptance of the word…” The words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” were intended to exclude American-born persons from automatic citizenship whose allegiance to the United States was not complete.
The Native Americans were not initially included as citizens, although born here, because it was not perceived that their allegiance was not completely to the United States but to their own tribal councils. Regarding illegal aliens here in the United States unlawfully, their native country has a claim of allegiance, of the child as well as the parents. Therefore, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired and precludes automatic citizenship. The proper interpretation of the 14th Amendment is that an illegal alien mother is subject to the jurisdiction of her native country, as is her baby.
In the “Slaughter-House Cases” the Supreme Court confirmed this restricted interpretation of citizenship. In 1884 Elk v. Wilkins, the phrase, “subject to its jurisdiction” was interpreted to include “children of ministers, consuls, and citizens of foreign states born with the United States.” In Elk, the American Indian claimant was considered NOT an American citizen because the law required him to be “not merely subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their political jurisdiction and owing them direct and immediate allegiance.”
The Courts essentially declared that the status of the parents determines the citizenship of the child. To qualify children for “birthright citizenship”, based on the 14th Amendment, parents MUST owe, “direct and immediate allegiance” to the United States and be “completely subject” to its jurisdiction. Simply, they must be citizens of the United States of America.
The argument that simply being born here automatically affords “birthright citizenship” in the United States is to ignore the wording and intent of the Amendment. One cannot simply self-immigrate ILLEGALLY and then claim jurisdiction because they are here. They are citizens of another country and subject to the jurisdiction of that country. They become subject to our laws but that does not give them citizenship.
The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, was primarily directed at extending citizenship to the freed slaves. The Amendment’s wording was derived from the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which provided that “all person born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power” should be considered citizens. The Amendment was intended to give citizenship ONLY to those who owed their allegiance to the United States and were subject to its complete jurisdiction. Senator Lyman Trumbull, R-IL, a key figure in its adoption stated, “subject to the jurisdiction” meant not owing allegiance to any other country.
American Indians did not become citizens UNTIL Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. There would have been no need to pass such legislation if the 14th Amendment extended citizenship to all people born in America, no matter what the circumstances of their birth, and no matter the legal status of their parents. I pray that everyone, including the Supreme Court Justices, always consider that fact and realize based on the wording and the declarations of the framers the original intent. Birthright Citizenship is not part of our Constitution, politicians have made it so not the document itself.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 defined citizens of the United States as, “all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding American Indians not taxed.” The question of American Indians Senator Howard argued, “…have always been in our legislation and jurisprudence, as quasi-foreign nations”. Senator Lyman Trumbull (D-IL) agreed with Senator Howard stating, “…it would be a violation of our treaty obligations… to extend our laws over these Indian tribes with whom we have treaties saying we would not do so.” Trumbull insisted that the Indian tribes were not subject to our jurisdiction in the sense of owing allegiance solely to the United States. He stated, “…it is ONLY those persons who come completely within our jurisdiction, who are subject to our laws that we think of making citizens.”
The clincher or fly in the ointment in this is that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment reads: “Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” That includes Section 1 deemed the “citizenship clause”. Would Congress pass legislation granting “birthright citizenship” to the children of illegal aliens? Do wild bears live in the woods? If they follow the arguments of the authors of the clauses and amendment, they would not but if they follow present-day political correctness they would. What do you think would be the case if the Democrats and RINO’s control the White House and/or Congress? You get the Gold Star it would be Amnesty and Anchor Baby Citizenship automatically.
Back in 2016, I was traveling to East Texas for a Nursing Home Program with my brother and heard a Republican candidate for a political office in my State speaking. He was, as they all do, proclaiming his great conservatism and the subject of immigration came up. He made the following statements saying he supported:
- Removing the Citizenship Birthright of children of Illegals.
- Making the ‘guest workers’ have a biometric ID card.
- Ending the bi-lingual ballots for voting
The host lauded him for his conservatism on those points then he said with regard to Immigration Reform. He supported the Republican Immigration Reform Plan which, as he stated it was: “Giving those of the 12 million or so ILLEGALS Green Cards, making them Guest Workers but without a pathway to citizenship.” He reasoned that we could not deport 12 million illegals and because we could not catch them all. Therefore, in his mine it made no sense to have ICE or the Border Patrol looking for them. He said that not taking this step would be a de-facto amnesty. He argued that focusing on the illegals would detract from securing the border and rather than securing the border, reducing the number of immigrants who can come, and enforcing the current laws on immigration that because we could not catch them all the law should not be enforced.
To his credit, the host challenged that, and I was yelling at my radio – REALLY? My question was if we have bank robbers and can’t catch them all, do we cease enforcing the law? If we cannot catch all those driving under the influence, does that mean that we should not enforce the law? What law do we have where we make it a requirement that 100% are apprehended to make the law valid?
This candidate further argued that most of the 12 Million Illegals do not want to be citizens just work and that by making them legal we would suddenly have an enormous influx of tax revenue pouring into the coffers. Really? If they know that the law is not going to be enforced and do not want to vote or be citizens then what would motivate them to identify themselves and make them liable for taxes, etc.?
I do not believe that illegals should get free tuition to go to college. I do not believe that they should receive free health care, food stamps, or any other entitlement. I also say to the employers who knowingly employ illegals you are also a lawbreaker and should face the brunt of the law. This is an issue concerning those who were born here or brought here at a very young age by parents illegally but do not see how that mandates that we just give what would become nothing more than blanket amnesty to those that have broken our laws and thumbed their noses at our constitution.
Immigration is just one of the many issues we are facing and securing our borders must become one of our top priorities. We have the resources to accomplish that and it is my view that enforcement of the law reduces the number of those breaking the law over the long haul. It certainly gives pause to some who weigh the consequences. Those for whom consequences are inconsequential will do what they do regardless, and no reform will change that. Criminals who have utter disregard for the law will not magically change.
May God be with you as you go through your day!