But that is a (relatively) new interpretation. The main reason for the
amendment was to codify the citizenship of newly freed slaves when some
people started playing games saying they weren't really citizens.
In fact, some of the early discussion in Congress suggested this very
In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard clearly spelled out the intent of the
14th Amendment by stating:
"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 of the United States. 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." Emphasis mine.
This understanding was reaffirmed by Senator Edward Cowan, who stated:
"[A foreigner in the United States] has a right to the protection of the
laws; but he is ***not a citizen in the ordinary acceptance of the
The subject jurisdiction phrase was carefully chosen to exclude
American-born persons from automatic citizenship whose allegiance to the
United States was not complete. With illegal aliens who are unlawfully
in the United States, their native country has a claim of allegiance on
the child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United
States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship.
The Supremes early on agreed confirming this restricted
interpretation of citizenship in the so-called "Slaughter-House cases"
[83 US 36 (1873) and 112 US 94 (1884)]. In the 1884 Elk v.Wilkins case,
the phrase "subject to its jurisdiction" was interpreted to exclude
"children of ministers, consuls, and ***citizens of foreign states born
within the United States***." (Emphasis mine) In Elk, the American
Indian claimant was considered not an American citizen because the law
required him to be "not merely subject in some respect or degree to the
jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their
political jurisdiction and owing them direct and immediate allegiance."
The Court essentially stated that the **status of the parents
determines the citizenship of the child***. To qualify children for
birthright citizenship, based on the 14th Amendment, parents must owe
"direct and immediate allegiance" to the U.S. and be "completely
subject" to its jurisdiction. In other words, they must be United States
On the other side of the issue, the first decision one Wong Kim Ark,
a child of Chinese immigrants, was born in California in 1873. He
traveled to China, but upon return to the United States was barred from
entering. Ark objected, and the case was taken to the Supreme Court in
1898. In a 6-2 decision, Ark was declared a U.S. citizen by the 14th
Amendment, and thus exempt from the Chinese Exclusion Act.
The next batch of case included Perkins v. Elg in 1939, and
Afroyim v. Rusk in 1967 which dealt with the specific rights of the
citizenship clause, and the Court has consistently declared that any
child born within the precincts of the U.S. is a legal citizen.
1982's Plyer v. Doe stated that the undocumented immigrants who
reside in a specific state are "within the jurisdiction" of that state.
In addition, the majority opinion stated, "no plausible distinction with
respect to the Fourteenth Amendment 'jurisdiction' can be drawn between
resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and
resident aliens whose entry was unlawful."
So the automatic citizenship is currently encrusted in law, but
there is evidence that this may not be all that in tune with what those
originally involved in it thought would happen.
"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive,
but what they conceal is vital."
One problem is that we don't seem to be able to do a good job of keeping
people from walking into our country. But that is tangled up with the
drug trade and I think we cannot ignore that connection.
The second problem is that, for many reasons, we don't seem to be able
to remove those who are here without documentation, many of whom have
had productive jobs for many years, and whose children who have been
born here have citizenship. So where we find a family, some of whom are
citizens, we have an unpleasant situation, where we have to break up a
family. This happens in America, where we say we value the family!
People who are here illegally often are careful to obey the laws, and
pay their taxes, because they don't want to come to the government's
attention. However, because companies are subject to government
inspection, many who are undocumented can safely work only in the under
the counter economy. Many citizens also work in that economy. If you
need some work on your house, you can go to places where workers gather,
and strike a deal to have some of them do your work. Payment is in
cash, and I'm confident no taxes are paid. If the undocumented worker
filed a return as self-employed, they would be bringing themselves to
the attention of the government, which is just what they want to avoid.
In my opinion, the homeowner who participates in such a scheme should
be liable himself for paying the taxes.
Years ago, I played soccer in an amateur league in California. I was
the only citizen on our team. We had an Englishman who had visited and
decided to stay; the rest were Mexicans who worked long hours, lived
frugally, and sent most of their money back home for their families.
One day we were practicing when Immigration raided us. The Mexicans
disappeared, and the Englishman and I just stood there. Immigration
didn't even question us, apparently because we were both white and
didn't run. Soon our practice resumed. I always admired the drive of
those Mexicans. They worked hard at jobs that no one else wanted.
Everyone in the US is either an immigrant, or a descendant of
immigrants. We should probably stay away from Ancestry.com lest we find
an undocumented immigrant in our family tree. The undocumented
immigrants that are here are almost always poor and poorly educated.
They don't have the knowledge or resources to hire a lawyer to get
immigration papers. And they face an immigration law that has often
based quotas on race or ethnicity, a history that gives us no cause for
The second problem would not exist if the first problem was taken care
of many years ago. We allowed loose or no enforcement. Usually for the
benefits it provided.
Yes, we complain about the illegals but we put them to work at low
wages. They can stay as long as we benefit. Need your lawn done?
Jose is OK because the does a nice job on my lawn but tell his brother
to get the hell out of here.
I've been here, you just haven't paid attention. the election is the
best thing that has happened for the democrats...the conservatives will
take this "victory" as a sign that they can do what they want and come
'16 they will have to start lubing their asses
An immigrant is a person who settles permanently in a foreign country.
If America was unsettled when Indians arrived, they weren't immigrants.
King James said much of America was his, so the people he sent to live
there wouldn't be immigrants. Who was going to argue with the guy who
wrote the Bible?
When the Pilgrims squatted in Plymouth, the Indians figured it was time
to enforce their immigration laws. Samoset spoke up for the wetbacks.
They'd taken over an abandoned town that happened to border on three
nations. They could be a buffer and a source of cheap manufactured
goods, like Harbor Freight. He got them amnesty.
In 1623, he sold the English land in Maine. In buying it, the English
legally acknowledged Indian ownership.
Local deacons bestowed full citizenship (freeman status) by a vote. A
welfare scammer probably wouldn't make it, but an Indian could. Why
should deacons excuse a neighbor from the obligations of citizenship
just because he wasn't born English?
King James had meant to establish a nation of sharecroppers. The
Indians put a stop to that buy giving and selling land to farmers.
More interesting to me is how well this distraction [immigration issue]
has successfully shelved ANYONE from looking at the ACA issue. Which to me
is far worse of a problem. Forced to buy a commercial product! With
comments during its passage like,pass it to find out what's in it. and now
disclosures of the true attitudes of the sources and the people elected to
'represent' us actually think about us! Obviously, not respecting a voter
base means a guilty conscience about 'doing' something to that voter base.
Forced to buy a commercial product!
Yes! Since when does the gov't have the power to
force every living American to send monthly
for life to a private for profit company! Insane!
Ins. co's are the largest criminal activity in
The police chief tells me that if I'm going to continue to appear in
public, I should buy a pair of pants from a private for profit company.
He says I can save money, though. If I don't buy pants, I'll have to
pay a penalty, but the county will give me pants. Just in time for
On Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:41:29 -0500, "Ralph Mowery"
Why would you make them citizens? If you feel it's impossible to
deport them they can be given permanent residence status but there is
NO reason they need to be given citizenship. And we should end
birthright citizenship, it's BS, no other first world country allows
some pregnant sow to come over the border, drop a kid, and give the
kid automatic citizenship. The fact that we do is just one more
driver of the illegal's to come here. The US is run by incompetents
Ending birthright citizenship is not easy; it's part of the Constitution.
I think that's only part of the problem anyway. IMHO the main reason that we have so many
people coming here illegally is that unless you're a physician or an engineer, it's damn
near impossible to come here as a legal resident -- but it's comparatively easy to come
across the southern border illegally. I think this is backwards: we should make it damn near
impossible to cross that border illegally, and easy to come here as a legal resident -- we
should welcome anyone who has neither a criminal record nor a communicable disease
and has the ability to support himself and his family.
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