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The 14th Amendment's newest fans? [Updated]

Is Republican U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina moving to the Latino (or maybe just to the center) for the general election? She told the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce on Thursday that she opposes conservative calls to alter the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to all people born in the United States.

Fiorina and Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman both appealed to conservative voters with a tough stance on illegal immigration during the primary. Fiorina backed Arizona's new law. Now they're wooing the state's large number of Latino voters, in part by opposing calls to end birthright citizenship.

[For the record, 2:42 p.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that Whitman also backed Arizona's immigration law. According to her campaign, she has never supported the legislation.]

-- Marjorie Miller


Comments () | Archives (9)

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LOL. You better check the 14th Amendment. It only allows birthright citizenship in certain defined cases.

American Law

The 14th Amendment says the soil(jus solis) and the blood(jus sanguinis) confer jurisdiction. An alien entering the US is a transient person, not a permanent person like a citizen. An alien can seek protection from their consulate. An alien cannot be drafted into the US military. The child is of the nationality of both parents.

If an alien is the parent of a child born in the US, then certain national rights are conferred to the child. If one parent is a US citizen and the other alien, then the child is dual-national, with full rights to each nation.

If both parents are US citizens, then the child is a Natural Born Citizen.

The 14th does not apply to diplomats, visitors, and illegal aliens. Illegal aliens who have children in this country do not have a child that is a citizen.

Jon Healey

@quatidion -- You appear to have lifted the bulk of your comment from another source without attribution -- see the first comment to http://washingtonindependent.com/94755/white-house-makes-a-push-for-immigration-reform-but-offers-no-timetable. That's a no-no under our terms of service.

Beyond that, your interpretation of the 14th Amendment conflicts sharply with the Supreme Court's. See U.S. v Wong Kim Ark, which held that the "jurisdiction" language in the amendment referred only to children born to diplomats. For more, see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704164904575421222258065684.html

Speaking of reading the 14th amendment (http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv), it makes no reference to citizenship by blood. Its citizenship provision deals solely with the rights of those born here. That right, by the way, has deep roots. From LAT columnist Gregory Rodriguez's piece today -- http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-rodriguez-14th-20100816,0,7779309.column:
[B]irthright citizenship was established early on under English common law, a legacy of the medieval system of feudalism and reciprocal obligation. A child was deemed worthy of protection of the sovereign in whose territory he was born. In exchange, the child owed the sovereign loyalty. That reminds us that citizenship is not just about rights. It's also about responsibilities.


So, a child of illegal immigrants [aliens] is born in the U.S. Using the 14th Amendment only, they are citizens of the U.S. and of the State in which they were born, but no State "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."

Seems to me the parents have the choice when they are deported. 1) Take the (American) child with them, or 2) Leave the child here. Then they have the right to get back into this country the legal way by applying for citizenship.

I would rather see people fussing about Article I, Section 3, and the length of service for Senators. Amend that with limits of no more than two terms. Maybe then they could get their minds off campaign contributions for at least the last term. Of course, something would have to be done about the "Revolving Door" of jobs with lobbying firms or some other big business deal.

Mitchell Young

The Wong Kim Ark decision was issued before the rise of modern immigration law, the development the modern welfare state, and concerned a person who was born of parents in the US legally. Moreover there are lots (perhaps the majority) of decisions from that time which have been overruled. Justice John Harlan -- you know, the guy everyone likes to quote for his dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson -- joined the dissent in Wong Kim Ark; if he was right in dissenting in Plessy why not also in Wong Kim Ark?

Coming at it from another angle, Mexico has issued 'matricula consular' to Mexican nationals in the US. This identification has traditionally been used precisely for those folks 'not subject to the jurisdiction' of the US (or whatever country). Moreover Mexico has protested the execution of its nationals for crimes, again reasoning that they are (at least partially) outside of full US jurisdiction.


Seeing as how Mexican citizenship also accrues to the children of Mexicans (where-ever they might be born), it seems that the Mexican government also agrees that the children of Mexicans born in the US are not fully 'subject to the jurisdiction' of the US.

Jon Healey

@Mitchell -- I think Mexico's protests against the death sentences issued to Mexican nationals who committed murder in the U.S. supports my side of the "jurisdiction" argument more than yours.


The Mexican government knows our laws and will continue to advocate immigrants to have their kids here. As long as they have their consulate and traitorous (American) civil rights groups here to support and advocate for them, then they will continue their law breaking. They know how to tweak our laws and use it for their own good. Its disrespectful to our country, our laws, our people. By the way, my grandparents came to the U.S. legally. They learned the language and became citizens. Their children were born here after they became citizens. they didn't whine or complain, even when they were incarcerated during WWII and two of their sons joined the U.S. army.


@ Jon Healy- I was futilely looking around the opinion page for the other side of the debate to counter both the newspaper's editorial and the Rodriguez's piece. Even though I suppose I should be used to way the paper doesn't let its readers hear ideas that might threaten its agenda, it's hard to quantify my disgust with those running the LA Times for that despicable practice.

I'd like to note what Robert C. Bonner said in his dissent to the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force Report No. 63 on U.S. Immigration Policy.

"I would add the following, however: first, the report fails
to discuss the long-standing U.S. practice of granting citizenship automatically
to almost anyone born in the United States, regardless of their
parents’ status (the exception being children of diplomats). I believe
as a policy matter the United States should not extend citizenship to
children born in our country to parents who are here illegally. The current
practice invites illegal migration, promotes public cynicism, and is
often the only basis for the cry of family separation when the parents
are deported. Besides Canada, the United States is the only Western
nation allowing birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens. This
practice could probably be changed by Congress (I would not make it
retroactive) without a constitutional amendment, but I would favor
such an amendment if absolutely necessary."

Rounding up the usual suspects to produce the usual elite consensus apparently didn't work completely there. I don't know how the courts would rule on the subject but then again that's not really the issue. The discussion among the American people ought to be if we want to have birthright citizenship for the children of people in the country illegally or for those who can evade the processes whereby we decide and choose who is allowed to immigrate to our country through birth tourism, as opposed to having children's citizenship extend from their parent's citizenship status so that families share the same set of rights that allow them to be together. If they don't want such birthright citizenship and their representatives in government represent them, then the courts will have to rule whether is can happen legislatively, which would be the first path for the policy, or whether it requires a constitutional amendment.

e pearse

You know who is the new political advisor of President Obama?
A surprising answer is debated at the piece “The 14th Amendment and “The Gang That couldn’t Shoot Straight”

Immigration is a catch-22 for Republicans and they need to survive the issue for their long-term good.
Published at http://www.robbingamerica.com

Yolanda Miranda

To Granny195: The person being deported is totally denied from bringing the U.S. born child with them, ISN just handcuffs the illegals and takes them. Too many times leaving 2 or 3 children of age 2 to 5 alone in their home. Neighbors have found them starving three days later. That's the reason the children are being put together begging for their parents back.

Any religion would tell you that your personal wealth relies upon your generosity. The more generous you are, the more income comes to your household. It is a proven fact. I see it in my life all the time, the more I give with love and compassion to the needy, the double & unexpected money from my work comes back in. The same thing applies at a larger scale. For decades, America has been a generous country to the people in need. It is until recently that its citizens are inflamed with egotism, avarice/greed, and the results are obviously showing in the country's economy. When newer and newer laws are forbiding its citizens to have enough compassion to drive a starving person to a restaurant or to your home to feed because he/she don't have papers, then unfortunately this country is moving to its doom.

And to exclude citizenship to U.S. born children of Illegals would definitely weaken the country. Too many scientists come from the so-called "anchor babies", wheather too many people want to see it or are too blind to see it.



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