Section 1. 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.
The import of the Citizenship Clause was to protect the citizenship of former slaves, but the issued today is whether the Clause is applicable to children of aliens in the United States other than legal permanent residents; legal or illegal. The most significant controversy is the children of illegal aliens, but many legal non-immigrant aliens give birth here as well in a effort to obtain citizenship for their children.
The debate over the amendment specifically excluded Indians and the children of diplomats accredited to the United States. However, this was at a time when all immigration was legal. There was no such thing as an illegal alien. So, obviously, the proponents and authors of the Clause did not concern themselves with the issue of illegality.
During the original debate over the amendment Senator Jacob M. Howard of
Michigan—the author of the Citizenship Clause—described the clause as excluding
American Indians who maintain their tribal ties, and "persons born in the United
States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or
However, given the restriction on the children of diplomats, one could interpret that as also a restriction on any alien who was not a legal permanent resident, as legal non-immigrant or temporary visitors would be similar to diplomats as both are temporary visitors and not part of the American community and polity. And just as clearly aliens unlawfully present would be presumed to not be "subject to the jurisdiction of the United States" as well since they entered and remained outside the law. Their children could not presumably receive better treatment than that of the privilidge diplomats and their families.
However, to date, birth to any alien, other than a diplomat, legal or illegal, is recognized as conveying citizenship. Obviously this is a debatable point and not clear as it may meet the meaning of the words of the Clause, but certainly not the intent, as protecting former slaves was the intent.
But, unfortunately, much is made of the issue of anchor babies, and Grahamnesty is using it to his advantage. In reality birth here means little and the problem is not that big. There are much more illegal alien minors here than those born to illegal aliens. And since Grahamnesty wants to deal with this by a constitutional amendment, a process which is unlikely to succeed but Grahamnesty gets kudos for an anti-illegal alien position, while at the same time he is working openly to give amnesty to those same illegals who are giving birth. This is clearly designed to move attention away from his support for amnesty. An effort to fool the voters of his conservative State, boob bait for bubbas, Billyjeff Bentpecker's speciality.
However, the best way to deal with anchor babies is not to try and take their citizenship away, but to firstly deal directly and firmly with their illegal alien parents. Anchor babies would not be an issue if the Federal government was deporting these illegals, who, by the way, overwhelmingly give birth funded by the Federal and State taxpayers either by direct Medicaid funding or indirectly through mandatory treatment by hospitals.
No effort is made to remove these aliens even though the Federal government is directly aware of their presence and has the information to find and remove them, but no effort is made to deport those aliens. Illegals also benefit from the policy of the Federal government to not deport illegal aliens if that deportation has an impact on a U.S. citizen spouse, child or parent. It is a get out of jail free card. Hence illegal aliens with US citizen children enjoy an ongoing unofficial and official amensty. End that amnesty and the problem is solved.
The second issue is that those children born to legal temporary visitors and illegal aliens eventually sponsor their parents, siblings, spouses and children. However they only do that because the law allows for it. That can be stopped by legislation. End the ability of US citizens to sponsor parents or siblings and most of the problem is solved.
End the benefits to illegal immigration and you will get less of it. Build a double or triple layer fence, make use of E-verify universal, arrest illegal aliens who use welfare programs, and the problem will be solved without having to fight over the issue of birth-right citizenship. It will be much easier than either fighting it out in the Anthony Kennedy Supreme Court where a loss is likely or getting a constitutional amendment out of a Congress with a Demoncrat majority, or from State houses where Demoncrats hold enough houses to stymie an amendment directly from the States. In fact, the agressive execution of the immigration laws of the U.S. will solve most of the problem. That needs only a President willing to do it or a Congress willing to order the President to fulfill his Oath of Office by legislation or threat of impeachment; both require alot less effort, especially if enabling legislation is placed in agency funding bills.