To turn a progressive into a “strict constructionist”, just ask them to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment.
According to a Friday Time Magazine article, the next target in Arizona’s battle to keep from being overrun with invaders from south of the border, will be “anchor babies”. According to the article, State Senator Russell Pearce, architect of SB1070, —which appears to be America’s favorite piece of legislation— says a bill dealing with birthright citizenship will likely be introduced this fall. Like SB1070, any new bill is expected to face court challenges as soon as it is signed into law.
Author of the article, Adam Klawonn writes, the bill “would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona — and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution — to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens.” How is that for objective reporting? Whether children of illegal immigrants born in America are legal citizens or not is something the courts have not yet decided. There are hundreds of legal experts that would take exception to Mr. Klawonn’s assertion.
Most of us have been taught that the Fourteenth Amendment grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S., regardless of how they came to be here in the first place. It is practically the only part of the Constitution where progressives insist on a literal interpretation. They consider the language of Article I, Section 8, and the First, Second and Tenth Amendments as flexible. However, on this Amendment they all seem to become “strict constructionists”. The problem is that even a strict constructionist’s interpretation does not support their contention.
The Fourteenth Amendment reads in part, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” It was first proposed to the states by Congress in 1866. The part that creates a problem for proponents of birthright citizenship is the clause, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. The meaning of, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, is explained by a Senator who was a part of the debate leading up to the proposal.
“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. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.” Senator Jacob Howard (R-Mi) 1866
Howard was one of the Senators responsible for the inclusion of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” and certainly should know the intention of the wording. Bear in mind, this statement was made on the floor of the Senate two years before the Amendment was ratified in 1868, and would have been part of the information available to the states, explaining its meaning, at the time ratification was under consideration.
Another member of the same Senate confirmed Howard’s meaning.
“[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 word…” Senator Edgar Cowan, (R-Pa)
In the 1884 Supreme Court Case “Elk v. Wilkins”, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was interpreted to exclude, “children of ministers, consuls and citizens of foreign states born within the United States”.
The progressive’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment is completely illogical. If the Amendment grants citizenship to children born of illegal immigrants, then it would also have to grant citizenship to children born to tourists, persons in the country on business, and all other foreign nationals no matter the reason they happen to be here. Children of foreign nationals born in America are normally granted citizenship in their parent’s homeland. Would they then have dual citizenship?
It is important to the long-term progressive agenda to establish a permanent underclass in the United States that will form a power base for keeping them in office. Since a large percentage of this underclass would be dependent on the federal government for a major part of their livelihood, it is assumed they would be easily manipulated into voting for progressives in their own self-interest. That explains why progressives usually will only make an issue of “birthright citizenship” when it involves illegal immigrants from the third world countries of South and Central America or one of the Caribbean islands. “Anchor babies”, along with welfare, health care, state run education and other segments of the welfare state are all used as a means to the same end, to gain and hold onto power.
How the courts decide on this issue if far from certain, but there can be little doubt of the original intent of the Congress who proposed the Amendment and the State Legislatures that ratified it.