Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The 14th Amendment Gone Wrong: Note to Congress: Fix the 14th Amendment

It is estimated that some 300,000 babies are born in the U.S. to illegal alien mothers. When birth is given in the U.S., the child is automatically granted citizenship by the 14th Amendment - kinda/sorta.  The problem equates to far more than a mother and child. The number of babies birthed here each year add more to the U.S. population than all other migrant categories. Families flow over the border once a child is U.S. born - and the baby, proudly known as an "anchor baby," or a "jackpot baby," is then able to sponsor the rest of his/her family from somewhere other than the U.S. From that, congressional districts grow, which are then redrawn, sending a Liberal's heart soaring. Nevermind the fact that illegals are routinely counted in our Census.

Revisiting the 14th Amendment shows where the Courts went wrong, in 1898 and again in 1982, making the assumption that citizenship is determined by "physical presence" rather than the "legal status of the parent." It is important to remember that at the ratification of the 14th, there was no such thing as immigration, illegal or not, so could not have been a part of original intent.

Finally, some Republicans are looking at the 14th Amendment and considering initiating hearings on ending the onslaught of illegal newborns. I feel this will go nowhere with this Congress, but if we are successful in taking back the Chambers, this should definitely be on the agenda. The Washington Post chalks this interest up to "election-year-bizarreness," but I believe it comes from the necessity to get Constitutional and do it now. Had we been "Constitutional," throughout the years, think of the problems we would not have.

One question few ask, is how many Muslim children are born here with illegal migrant parents? It's an interesting question because our Census laws forbid counting people who identify as a religion - which Muslims do, and we apparently do not consider the fact that the religion is also government, with allegiance to Islam - pick any Islamic country.

The question is, if both parents are here illegally, should there be a reward for that?" asked Senator Jon Kyl on Face the Nation. Another way to ask that question is, should citizenship be determined by a newborn's physical presence here, or by the status of the parents, meaning if the parents are here illegally from Mexico, the child is considered a citizen of Mexico.

The 14th Amendment, ratified on July 9th, 1868, was intended to assure native-born Black Americans citizenship. In 1868 our country had no immigration laws, and thus the legislation was never intended to include children born of illegal migrants inside our borders. The Amendment reads:
"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 the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country."
Through 1897 various lawsuits upheld that the status of the parent determines the status of the child. However, in 1898, Wong Kim Ark brought the decision that plagues us today.

The question was put before the Supreme Court in 1898 in the case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark. In that case, Mr. Ark was the child of Chinese immigrants who themselves were subject to the Chinese Exclusion Act then in force (that law prohibited Chinese nationals from immigrating to the United States and from seeking naturalization). Lawyers representing Ark argued that the language of the 14th Amendment granted automatic and irrevocable citizenship to Ark as he did not fall within any of the exceptions carved out in the Amendment.
Lawyers for the United States, on the other hand, asserted that babies born to immigrants did not deserve the status of citizen merely through the accident of the location of their birth — a concept known as jus soli.
The Court held in Wong Kim Ark that under the 14th Amendment, a child born in the United States of parents of immigrant parents who, at the time of the child's birth are subjects of a foreign power but who are living permanently in the United States and are carrying on business in the United States, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity, and are not members of foreign forces in hostile occupation of United States territory, becomes a citizen of the United States at the time of birth.
It is relevant to note that the parents of Ark were not illegal aliens, but legally present non-citizen residents of the United States.
In 1982 came the most recent challenge to the 14th Amendment, known as Plyler v. Doe. The Supreme Court struck down a state statute denying funding for education to the children of illegals, asserting the  "jurisdiction" of the parents was a "physical presence," rather than the status of the parents determining the status of the child. Three hundred babies later, and likely triple to quadruple the 300,000 in other family flowing into the country, here we are. And where we are includes Muslims doing everything they can to have their children born on U.S. soil.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton