This is an important debate we need to have.
The recent national debate about the impact of illegal immigration on America is needed and welcomed.
Each year, 10 percent of all births or almost 400,000 children born are to those who are unlawfully in the United States. Given the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the country today, this number is likely to continue.
These children automatically receive many of the same rights and privileges as United States citizens despite their parents’ illegal status. Birthright citizenship bestows on these individuals billions of dollars in federal benefits each year in the form of Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, refundable tax credits, nutrition and housing assistance, and eventually work authorization. Of course, taxpayers foot the bill.
Birthright citizenship also rewards illegal immigrant parents. It all but guarantees that they will never be deported. And the parents indirectly reap the government benefits going to their children.
Birthright citizenship is based on an erroneous reading of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens . . . .”
Last April, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration held a hearing to determine who should be a citizen under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Witnesses testified to the fact that historically Congress never intended to treat all persons born on American soil as citizens. Native Americans and children of foreign diplomats are examples of children born in the United States but who are not subject to its jurisdiction under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Congress is explicitly given the power to interpret the Citizenship Clause by legislation in section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. It states, “[t]he Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”