Should Children Of Immigrants Become Us Cititzens?

1823 words - 7 pages

The issue this debate is covering is weather or not the United States should allow the children of immigrants to become legal citizens. Some question if it is a violation of the US constitution to allow the citizenship of children born on US soil to parents who have entered the US illegally. The 14th Amendment to the constitution addresses this issue, however how the US should proceed as a country is still up for a very real and reasonable debate.

The 14th Amendment 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. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The 14th Amendment was initially passed to clarify the citizenship of Blacks in this country who had been forced here through slavery to no fault of their own and no longer have allegiance to their original place of residence, Africa. Therefor, their children have no other place of allegiance either. Many people argue that this clearly excludes children born of parents who were not legal citizens of the United States and regardless of the interpretation or misinterpretation; the intent was not to allow people who had entered the country of their own choice and illegally to have children here who would be considered citizens. The 14th Amendment has two specific requirements, one is “all persons naturalized in the United States” and the other is “subject to the Jurisdiction thereof”. It is the second requirement that weighs in on the argument of intent. The meaning of jurisdiction is what this argument uses as the primary support of not allowing the children in question to become citizens.

According to Matthew Spalding, the director of the B. Kenneth Center for American Studies as the Conservative Heritage Foundation, the 14th Amendment doesn’t make illegal aliens’ children citizens. Matthew states:

It was in 1898 (in United States v. Wong Kim Ark) that the Supreme Court expanded the constitutional mandate, holding that the children of legal, permanent residents were automatically citizens. While the decision could be (and is often) read more broadly, the court has never held that the clause confers automatic citizenship on the children of temporary visitors, much less of illegal residents.

He believes that the question of the meaning of jurisdiction has already been determined and these children do not fit that determination because of political allegiance. Us Jurisdiction means – According to the Senate Judiciary Committee Lynn Trumbull stated, “not owing allegiance to anyone else [but] subject to the complete jurisdiction to the United States.” “The author of the provision, Sen. Jacob Merritt...

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