The principle of “a house divided” provides a fundamental reason why America should resist uncontrolled immigration and birthright citizenship.
Lincoln uttered these words when the American “house” was divided over slavery. The cost to unify that house was bloody indeed. Today, many issues divide America which, if Christ is to be believed, threaten our existence. One of them is illegal immigration.
America has welcomed immigrants throughout its history. Always however, immigration was followed by assimilation. Last century for example, immigration was halted completely for about 60 years to allow immigrant waves to assimilate. American culture and values were never compromised by immigration. As an alloy adds to a base metal, immigration strengthened America. America always remained “one nation under God”.
Today, uncontrolled immigration, without assimilation … has created “a house divided”.
The present cost of illegal immigration to American taxpayers is immense and growing, reaching into the trillions. The burdens they place on our school systems is overwhelming. Are they really immigrants? Perhaps “colonists” or “settlers” desirous to reclaim what was “taken” from them back in 1848 best describes many. They provide an ever expanding army of voters for the “fundamental transformation of America” into a secular, European socialist style state.
America and Canada are the only two countries in the world that grant automatic birthright citizenship … and Canada only grants it (probably) to follow the United States example. Therefore to accuse any one of “lacking compassion” for wanting to end the practice of birthright citizenship, is to accuse every other country in the world of the same charge.
Despite the current practice of granting birthright citizenship, here is why it is NOT a constitutional right:
The Constitution of 1787 did not define citizenship and freed slaves were in danger of losing basic rights after the Civil War. In 1868 with the ratification of the 14th Amendment slaves were specifically granted citizenship: “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.”
There are two components to American citizenship: birth or naturalization in the U.S. and being subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. The intent of the framers is evident: Simply being born within the geographical limits of the U.S. was insufficient. Otherwise the jurisdiction clause becomes utterly superfluous. If geography was the only consideration, presumably they would have said simply that “All persons born or naturalized in the U.S. are thereby citizens”.
In debate over the amendment, Senator Jacob Howard, the author of the citizenship clause, attempted to assure skeptical colleagues that the language was not intended to make Indians citizens of the United States. Indians, Howard conceded, were born within the nation’s geographical limits, but he steadfastly maintained that they were not subject to its jurisdiction because they owed allegiance to their tribes and not to the U.S.
Senator Jacob Howard stated: “Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction is, by virtue of natural law and national law, a citizen. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers, accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”
Senator Lyman Trumbull, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supported Howard’s view and argued that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant “not owing allegiance to anybody else and being subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States.”
16 years after the 14th Amendment in 1884 John Elk, an Indian, appealed to the Supreme Court to argue that he was an American citizen because he was born in the United States. He lost. In Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment did not grant Indians citizenship. It repeated the intent of the framers that the amendment applied ONLY to “free negroes”.
So if the amendment did not apply to Indians living and born in the United States, certainly the children of illegal aliens was not contemplated either. American Indians were not made citizens for another 56 years in 1924 in a law entitled: “The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.”
In a poorly decided and divided 1898 case, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court granted citizenship to the children born to LEGAL (not illegal) immigrants, with certain exceptions, such as for diplomats. But that decision was so wrong, it was widely ridiculed.
The majority opinion relied on feudal law regarding citizenship in a monarchy, rather than the Roman law pertaining to a republic. Citizenship in a monarchy was exclusively based on geography. Extending the faulty logic of the majority, children born to American parents traveling abroad would not be American citizens.
Judge Richard Posner, America’s “most-cited” federal judge and no conservative, wrote in 2003 a concurrence to demand that Congress pass a law to stop “awarding citizenship to everyone born in the United States” The purpose of the 14th Amendment, he said, was “to grant citizenship to the recently freed slaves … Congress would not be flouting the Constitution if it passed a law to put an end to the nonsense. We should not be encouraging foreigners to come to the United States solely to enable them to confer U.S. citizenship on their future children. But the way to stop that abuse of hospitality is to remove the incentive by changing the rule on citizenship.”
Posner was acknowledging that the practice of granting citizenship based solely on geography was present law … but not that it was law based on the 14th Amendment. The first concept of “anchor baby” appeared in a footnote to a 1982 decision by liberal zealot, Justice William Brennan suggesting that children born to illegals on U.S. soil should be considered citizens. As a footnote it carried NO judicial weight whatsoever.
If you are game to read more on the costs and social impact of illegal immigration, there is probably no better source than the Heritage Foundation. Here is one of their articles: