Birthright citizenship has got to end [Reader Post]


No doubt in part to the poor economy, birthright citizenship has become a target for lawmakers.

Lawmakers in at least 14 states have said they are committed to passing the legislation targeting birthright citizenship. Arizona’s anti-illegal-immigrant bill, SB-1070, was also based on model legislation that could be easily copied by states, and at least seven states are likely to pass bills similar to the first Arizona immigration overhaul this year, according to one analysis by an immigrants rights group.

It is argued that the 14th Amendment was intended to cover freed slaves. In the 19th century the Supreme Court found that the Amendment also covered the children immigrants but SCOTUS has not dealt with the children of those who have violated the law in breaking into this country illegally.

It is estimated that as many as 8% of the births in the US are to illegal alien parents.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, approximately 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the children of illegal aliens, many of whom emanate from Mexico. The study which was released yesterday comes as more and more Americans are showing concern over illegal aliens entering the U.S. and garnering a treasure-trove of benefits such as free education, health care, and other social programs. Some conservative lawmakers wish to amend the 14th Amendment from which the court have derived the concept of “anchor babies.”

And some of those births are costly:

It was 5 a.m. and CBS News national correspondent Byron Pitts is with a woman who is nine months pregnant. She’s rushed to a south Texas hospital to undergo a C-section – a $4,700 medical procedure that won’t cost her a dime. She qualifies for emergency Medicaid.

The Rand Corporation estimated that health care for illegals cost $1.1 billion in 2008.

In 2004 the overall net cost (i.e. loss) of illegals to this country’s economy was estimated to be over $10 billion.

“Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household,” said Steven A. Camarota, author of the study.

And that was expected to triple if amnesty was granted.

Just who offers birthright citizenship today?

In the “developed countries” birthright citizenship is offered by only the United States and Canada. In the “other” column (presumably undeveloped or underdeveloped) many countries are listed as offering birthright citizenship.

The 14th Amendment does not speak to children of illegal aliens. Birthright citizenship was last considered by the Supreme Court before there were such things as Social Security and welfare. Do away with them and the argument becomes moot. Otherwise, financial considerations cannot be ignored. It’s costly to bear this burden and this country cannot afford frivolities any longer.

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A child is born to a Mexican couple on a deserted non-aligned island in the Pacific (or any) Ocean, what nationality is the child? Why it is Mexican isn’t it?

A special case was made for Slaves and Children of slaves in the 14th amendment because at the time they were not considerd United States Citizens, they were granted a one time special clause for Non US citizens to be explictily granted citizenship – Not every non-citizen that sneaks or comes here. I have already given examples of many that are not: Forigen Dignataries, Forigen Consuls, Ambassadors, …. Just because some say that it is true, does not make it so, Judges need to be reminded that they cannot make law that is Congresses job and there is no law granting citizenship to every child born here!

@Rob in Katy: This is why every new bill introduced into congress should first state what the bill is meant to do.

@Rob in Katy, while I doubt we can answer your hypothetical question specifically without consulting other nation’s laws, a U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 7 – Consular Affairs document from 2009 answers your questions INRE US laws for those outside of territorial births.

Children born outside the Exclusive Economic Zone (i.e. outside US territorial limits, regardless of airspace or ocean) are not US citizens by birth. Inside US air or sea space, they are.

There are two legal principles of birthright: Jus soli (the law of the soil), and Jus sanguinis (the law of the bloodline). The former *is* enshrined in the Constitution. The latter is not, but citizenship can be conferred via statute.

You will also note, via the State Dept document from their manual linked above, they do not find the legal status of the parentage in question when it comes to the 14th.

d. “Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States”: All children born in and subject, at the time of birth, to the jurisdiction of the United States acquire U.S. citizenship at birth even if their parents were in the United States illegally at the time of birth.

(1) The U.S. Supreme Court examined at length the theories and legal precedents on which the U.S. citizenship laws are based in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898). In particular, the Court discussed the types of persons who are subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The Court affirmed that a child born in the United States to Chinese parents acquired U.S. citizenship even though the parents were, at the time, racially ineligible for naturalization.

[Mata Musing: The biggest 39th debate battles were over racial parentage… not legal status. Thus the racial reference]

(2) The Court also concluded that: “The 14th Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and under the protection of the country, including children here born of resident aliens, with the exceptions or qualifications (as old as the rule itself) of children of foreign sovereigns or their ministers, or born on foreign public ships, or of enemies within and during a hostile occupation of part of our territory, and with the single additional exception of children of members of the Indian tribes owing direct allegiance to their several tribes. The Amendment, in clear words and in manifest intent, includes the children born within the territory of the United States, of all other persons, of whatever race or color, domiciled within the United States.”

Pursuant to this ruling:

(a) Acquisition of U.S. citizenship generally is not affected by the fact that the parents may be in the United States temporarily or illegally; and that

(b) A child born in an immigration detention center physically located in the United States is considered to have been born in the United States and be subject to its jurisdiction. This is so even if the child’s parents have not been legally admitted to the United States and, for immigration purposes, may be viewed as not being in the United States.

yeah… what I’ve been saying. While you may not like it for personal opinions, that’s the facts of the legal matter. And I’m a huge Mark Levin fan… even tho I may not always agree with him. On this issue, Mark, along with others, can argue “intent” until the cows come home. That was not what was enshrined in the Amendment language, or what has been firmly established by SCOTUS. And even tho I will grump with those cows for decisions I don’t like, I still respect our founding structure in that SCOTUS is the last word on the issue.

@Smorgasbord, I think you meant to say that every bill introduced or enacted in Congress is to state their Constitutional authority to enact such a law, yes? I believe the bill, and “what it’s supposed to do”, is found in the summaries.

@Rob in Katy: Just because some say that it is true, does not make it so, Judges need to be reminded that they cannot make law that is Congresses job and there is no law granting citizenship to every child born here!

So sorry I missed this comment, Rob in Katy. Yes, there is a law – actually more than a law, a Constitutional Amendment – that grants citizenship to every child (other than those of diplomats or those of the tribal nations) born here. It’s called the 14th Amendment. SCOTUS confirms this in Wong.

Too bad congress can’t pass a law limiting Judges to ruling only on the consitutuallity of the law… wait, that was already done in the Constituion. Congress needs to get some shit together and remind them that they cannot make law out of thin air. The original intent is clear, SCOTUS should have sent it back to Congress if there was a question as to what it meant and not pulled a wong decision out of its butt !

LOL! Rob in Katy, while I so love the pun, “wong decision”, it is actually consistent with the Congressional intent and the Constitutional Founders’ intent.

I will once again remind you… if Chinese babies, where the parents were never welcome as potential citizens, were knowingly declared US citizens by the 39th Congress and the states, what part about intent do you miss? The language is simple. They shunned the parents in all repects, ignored their status in the Citizenship Clause, but opened their arms to their newborn babe citizens who owe allegiance as US citizens.

This is a misdeed by SCOTUS how?

Only because our entire society is built on not rewarding those who break the law or receive stolen goods – morally, it is that simple. You miss the point that at the time of the 14th there was no such thing as illegal immigration, if you were here then you were here legally so Citizenship was given to the child. Now, it is possible to be here illegally and therefore one should not profit from his or his parents misdeeds.
At the time of the 14th, citizenship was the most valued thing this country could give someone, do you really think that it would be offered as a prize for breaking the law? That advancements in transportation have made trespassing the border of the USA easier, should not mean that I now have an obligation to support another family, that is what is unfair not that a child born to parents here illegally retains the citizenship of the parents. What is your most precious possion, should I steal it and give it to my child, should she then have a right to keep it? I think that it is pretty simple, and without activist judges it would remain so.


“Boy will that come of a surprise to all the states that are collecting taxes from those undocumented types. Please go back and click on the studies about undocumented revenue @in my comment #68. In addition to that tax revenue, as consumers they certainly are forced into paying sundry sales taxes as well. This is simply not a factual statement, malize.”

*sigh* You simply don’t get this. An “un-taxed Indian” of the 19th Century could just as easily go into a town and spend acquired greenbacks and pay a sales or local tax by happenstance, just as certainly as a modern illegal does so. The *FACT* of the matter is that illegals are not taxed in and of themselves…the taxes that they do pay are either through the side-effect of fraud or are covered under direct embedded taxes which even a transient alien would pay. Just because a parasite in your body consumes from and excretes into your body it doesn’t make it a *valid part of the body*, as certainly as an illegal through their presence will mimic some of the characteristics of a legal resident. Do not be fooled by that mimicry, because that is exactly the slippery slope the illegal supports will want you on.

“So even the argument of Wong’s parental status at the time of his birth simply doesn’t work. Again, a moot point since SCOTUS never once addressed the parental status at the time of his birth in their deliberation. The fact they didn’t should really give you a heads up you’re traveling the wrong legal path here.” etc.

Wrong. The fact that they didn’t was because there was nothing to consider at that time, there was no immigration screening and no law to exclude them. Thus there was nothing to find as it related to their case at hand. Frankly the interpretation of Wong on the basis of “racially ineligible for naturalization” of the parents side steps the real issue of if the aliens were legally present or not as it relates to the case being considered. Don’t you see? It is the bureaucracies way to surrender to practicality (the same concession I myself grant given the circumstances — but that does not change the fact of the matter for discussion.)

Of course the younger Wong was a citizen under the 14th because the intent or ability of his parents to naturalize was not at issue — as you yourself point out the SCOTUS merely notes that they were domiciled in the US.

Wong’s parents were by default “legal” by our definition since at *that time* there was nothing excluding them or otherwise screening immigrants already ashore. The laws of the time addressed only transportation and naturalization (1870) those Chinese aliens already present were legal aliens denied naturalization, even if they had intended to naturalize which many did not. It was not the same as being an illegal alien but instead an enforced indefinite legal alien status.

Thus they could not be illegal. This is exactly why Wong can’t be used in itself (logically) to support illegal immigrant births because the *reverse* cannot be true (i.e., ascribing the elder Wongs as “illegal” in the absence of extant statutes of the time invalidating their legal residency. The ability to naturalize or not is irrelevant.)

This reduces the whole Wong decision to being about exactly what it was about…an unquestioned legal citizen (younger Wong) being denied his citizenship rights. That is the reason that the Wong’s status was not matter in the case as such, there was *by default* no immigration statue on the books invalidating their legal presence…”shunned” and “unwanted aliens” is irrelevant *at the time of Wongs birth* The justices had no reason to go any further than that. We do today because Wong is the first “go to” decision, to accept that the elder Wong’s were the equivalent of “illegals” without a law at the time of birth (the jurisdictional birth which transferred citizenship to the younger Wong) is logically and factually incorrect.

It is also why the legal status of the “anchor” children *could* be challenged but for even the pragmatic reasons I’ve already posted this would just be a nightmare to attempt to clear up (and as we have both agreed the mechanism exists and is SCOTUS supported to deport even a citizen child…a situation a younger Wong would have found himself in before his age of majority *if* the Rios decision were enforced in such a circumstance…so the logic is nicely reconciled where even former legal aliens would face the same issues as former illegal alien parents with citizen minors.)

I also wonder about the current congresses stated intent to address this problem via 8 S. 1401 / s. 301…the wording is all positive language. I’m just to tired right now to dig up whatever language has been proposed.
Title 3 s.301

malize, what part about the parent’s citizen status not being an issue, the language of the 14th and SCOTUS decisions eludes you?


There is no “untaxed Indian” language in the 14th.


illegal immigrants are on record for paying both federal and state income taxes. Or are you challenging the records of the linked documents I provided above? In which case, links please on why you do. Lip flap don’t cut the mustard.

Mata: “So even the argument of Wong’s parental status at the time of his birth simply doesn’t work. Again, a moot point since SCOTUS never once addressed the parental status at the time of his birth in their deliberation. The fact they didn’t should really give you a heads up you’re traveling the wrong legal path here.” etc.

malize: Wrong. The fact that they didn’t was because there was nothing to consider at that time, there was no immigration screening and no law to exclude them.

Wrong. States were screening immigration entry in those days. However their entry or status, outside of their domiciled state, was never once brought up. Why? Because it’s irrevelant via the language of the 14th, which puts no demands on parental status. End of story.

Odd you say “Wong can’t be used” when it’s the quintessential case for defining citizenship status in the legal world. DOH

Now, if you want to challenge citizenship of mothers fresh from the river, fields or tunnels, and no records of domicile, you may have something. But how many of the annual estimate of 340,000 are those? Got stats? Bring ’em out, with links please.


The same part that apparently eludes you.

Then apparently it eludes SCOTUS and the State Dept too, malize. You don’t have much fire power on your side. Heaven help your immigrant clients if you profess to be an immigration attorney.

Many mobsters are also on record as paying taxes, sometimes that is how they get caught. It doesn’t make how they earned their money legal or right. And I suppose that you are OK with having your vote stolen by someone that entered under the cloak of darkness. Folks that can moralize away the difference between right and wrong are what is truly wrong with this country. There is no moral argument for giving away my most prized possession, my vote, to someone whose parents stole it for them…

WHAT this exchange of well done comments from the same AMERICANS FOR AMERICA

@ILOVEBEESWARZONE: I like the way you said, “…stop it yesterday way back.” Very well said.

SMORGASBORD hi, I had to reread my comment because I comment on a clck in my brain computer and when I finish, I turn on to further tought and let go on the previous,
I am glad you like it because when I comment seriously ,I give it all
best to you for 2011 too, thank you

@B-Rob: @Gomez Gil:
what ? My parents were born in Mexico but immigrated legally to the US. My father became a citizen as a child and attented school in the US. My mother was a legal resident for years . I’m confused my brother and I are mexican citizens then? No way we were born in hospitals in LA CA and raised here! So I’m confused!!!!!! I have american citizenship and so does my daughter. But her father was a legal resident of the US! Confused! My alliance is to the US but when I’ve been to Mexico I’m viewed as an visitor not a citizen of that country! almost like a second class individual! What”s the Problem then my citizenship is dual then? thats not permitted now especially now in these times in the Us !!!!!!!!!

J’ai deja fait plusieur venues sur ce site je sais que je savoure à sa valeur votre gout et de tourner tous vos articles. Je vous invite à vous rendre sur mon blog dans le but de partager votre opinion. A très vite

Another reason to end it? I don’t know, but surely a reason for English only in the USA.

leticia olalia morales of 15501 pasadena ave #8 tustin ca 92780 submitted fake documents and paid 5000 dollars to obtain a US tourist visa. she also used fake employment records to obtain a work visa. she is now applying for citizenship.

@John Cooper: Mr Cooper! Thank You! Personally no philosophical argument or judiciary rulings or What any damn judge or any legislative decisions well ever cause me to believe the absurdity that we should allow anyone who is born to an illegal to become a rightful citizen of the United States!
The way I see it is that this makes about as much sense as an illegal alien sneaking into my garage and having a baby there makes them half owner of my Chevrolet!!!!

The Constitution was not written in the context or intention to provide for Illegals, nor the Bill of Rights written in the interest of providing for them! No words or rulings will ever convince me that this was the intention of our Forefathers!

You want to be a humanitarian and help someone fine! But it does not have to include CITIZENSHIP!!!

So? If an alien from outer space comes and has a baby does that make them Human…because he was born on planet earth?

HI, always nice to read your smart comments, keep them coming,
best to you.

I was watching a segment with Anderson Cooper on CNN discussing the topic of Anchor Babies. What does this mean to third generation Americans like myself, would we be subject in some future date to deportation?

you never know with those liberals, you might prefer FOX NEWS, CHECK IT UP, but for the CONSERVATIVES SIDE YOU ARE AN AMERICAN WITH ROOTS ON THE GROUND WHICH WILL MULTIPLY AND TRAVEL DEEP TO MAKE YOUR GENERATION OF AMERICANS SOLID AND FIRM when the time come to vote and change what is so wrong now,
best to you

Dorian, He’ll no. An anchor baby is from a woman who drops a baby on American soil without legal status, for the sole purpose of giving birth to an American. From your description of your parents, you are a bona Fidel American and you have every right to be mad as Hell about illegal aliens dropping babies just to have rights in this country.