Citizenship by Birthright
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, birthright citizenship “grants citizenship to everyone born in the United States regardless of their parents' status” (Rawlins, 2011). While this seems to be in-line with the fourteenth amendment which states “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” (Congress, 1866), the true intention of this part of the constitution is hotly debated, particularly in light of the current economic downfall in the United States. With that said it may behoove constituents to look into the real costs versus benefits of birthright citizenship and what effect this is having on the country as a whole.
There are many political figures who believe the intention of the fourteenth amendment did not include granting automatic American citizenship to those born of illegal immigrants. One such advocate is Senator Lindsey Graham, a representative from the state of South Carolina. In summation, Mr. Graham believes the United States made “a mistake” in granting said citizenship and that the birthright practice only serves to encourage illegal immigration (Preston, 2010). This senator is one of many who believe illegal immigrants are not under jurisdiction of the United States, as outlined in the fourteenth amendment. Furthermore, he shares a belief immigrants cross United States borders with the intention of having children on American soil, in order to solidify their ability to reside illegally without going through the legal process of citizenship. For example, once an illegal immigrant has a child in the United States, the child becomes a citizen and, after that, it is very difficult for authorities to deport the parent(s) as their child has a right to be in the country and they are responsible for that child. To spearhead the resulting economic impact of supporting the non-taxpaying immigrants, Mr. Graham supports a new initiative to first grant legal citizenship to millions of people already residing in the United States illegally and then modify the amendment to reduce illegal immigration overall.
The Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 (H.R.140), was introduced to congress on January 4th, 2011 by United States Representative Steve King of Iowa. In short, this bill strives to put an end to birthright citizenship for those born to undocumented immigrants, alleviating the related economic burden. However, the bill would still allow children born to at least one United States Citizen, legal resident, or member of the military to be declared citizenship, protecting children of those parents who have followed the law appropriately. American residents seem to be showing support for this bill, as documented in a telephone poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports (Waddington, 2011). The results of the survey showed that only 28% of Americans believe birthright citizenship...