With the migrant caravan from Central America slowly working its way to our Souther Border, a long-overdue debate is raging about not only the policy is sound immigration policy or beneficial to the interests of the United States.
The discussion was prompted by president Trump’s comments that he would rescind, by executive order the long-standing and until recently, unchallenged birthright citizenship provision in the constitution. Of course, this caused the usual hackneyed response on the left, that Trump is a racist, white supremacist, white nationalist, xenophobe, ……………………….. (fill in the remaining blanks with the democrats “ism” du jour).
In terms of the wisdom of such a policy, it should be noted that no other country in the world has a similar legal or statutory provision. Naturally, the question as to why, answers itself: because it is nonsensical.
There are those who claim that birthright citizenship is mandated by the language of the constitution and the discussion ends there. This is idiotic for two reasons. One, the entire constitutional birthright citizenship provision was enacted by amendment after the Civil War. That should be definitive proof for the proposition that the entire creation for this exceptional category for citizenship was related to how to grant freed slaves the benefits bestowed upon all other Americans after the Civil War.
Trump’s opponents argue that the 14th Amendment grants illegal aliens ( a term unheard of when the 14th amendment was ratified) citizenship, I.e., anyone child born here, regardless of the parents legal status mustbe granted citizenship.
However, as Andy McCarthy notes, “That is a lot of weight to put on an amendment that had nothing to do with regulating aliens — an amendment ratified in 1868, a time when there was no federal-law concept of illegal aliens.”
Ann Coulter makes the identical and unassailable argument in her own colorful way,
As the court has explained again and again and again:
“(N)o one can fail to be impressed with the one pervading purpose found in (the 13th, 14th and 15th) amendments, lying at the foundation of each, and without which none of them would have been even suggested; we mean the freedom of the slave race, the security and firm establishment of that freedom, and the protection of the newly made freeman and citizen from the oppressions of those who had formerly exercised unlimited dominion over him.”
That’s why the amendment refers to people who are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States “and of the state wherein they reside.” For generations, African-Americans were domiciled in this country. The only reason they weren’t citizens was because of slavery, which the country had just fought a civil war to end. “
That was the entire and sole purpose of the 14th Amendment. This contention, as Coulter properly notes, is bolstered by the fact that even American Indians weren’t deemed citizens,
“The amendment didn’t even make Indians citizens. Why? Because it was about freed slaves. Sixteen years after the 14th Amendment was ratified, the Supreme Court held that an American Indian, John Elk, was not a citizen, despite having been born here.
“Instead, Congress had to pass a separate law making Indians citizens, which it did, more than half a century after the adoption of the 14th Amendment. (It’s easy to miss — the law is titled: “THE INDIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 1924.”) Why would such a law be necessary if simply being born in the U.S. was enough to confer citizenship?”
Contrary to open borders advocates, birthright citizenship for illegal aliens, is not compulsory or mandated by the constitution, it is an issue that can be addressed by the Article I branch, namely Congress. Trump may try and force the issue by litigating whether his executive order exceeds the authority and powers of the executive branch.
In light of the incontrovertible evidence that the 14th amendment, birthright citizenship provision was a solution to a unique problem, those liberals who argue that the migrants must be legalized, might want to review U.S. history as well as the U.S. constitution.