Birthright citizenship

The Obama Administration announced today that it supports the 14th Amendment and that it wants no change in the provision that grants automatic citizenship to those born in the U.S. It is a shame that the White House even had to say that.

The notion that those born in this country are citizens of the U.S. is what helps make America great.  We are open to all.

This is being made an issue by the right wing and that cause is being championed, sadly, by some Republicans in Congress who should know better.  Curiously, it is conservatives who like to say that the U.S. Constitution says what it means and means what it says, but not in this case. The amendment says that all born in the U.S. are citizens, but for some cold-hearted souls on the right, that’s not good enough. They enjoy using the term, “anchor babies” to label some they do not like _ or, actually, they do not like their parents. 

The good news is that changing the Constitition is extremely hard, and the 14th Amendment is going to stay as is.  

D

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About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

26 Responses to Birthright citizenship

  1. Ted Doty says:

    The fact that the constitution is difficult to change empowers extreme right wing-nuts to raise a wedge issue in hope of gaining advantage in the mid-term elections .

  2. Ed Ramirez says:

    With out laws the constitution is useless the fourteenth Amendment was intended to prevent states for disallowing Blacks from having citizenship after the Civil War. Its citizen birth right was intended for those living in this country under the laws of this country. It has only been through miss interoperation of the amendment has been used to grant citizenship to illegal’s. Just think about it, someone breaks into your home and than claims that they are part owner. Crazy is it not?

  3. The 14th Amendment very cleary says that all persons born in the U.S, are citizens of the country. Surely, if those who drafted it at the time wished for it to include only former slaves, they could have easily written that, But “all persons” is pretty exclusive.

  4. JS says:

    Typical of Fred to apply the literal interpretation when its convenient to Snowman’s liberal rationalizations…

    The second ammendment says:
    “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

    Fred says: “The last thing I want to see is some of these guys walking around with guns. “

  5. P says:

    Both sides love to use our screwed up Immigration non-enforcement as a wedge issue. Democrats don’t want to fix anything because they believe it gives them a big advantage with the fastest growing portion of the population, Hispanics, which makes them just as cynical as Republicans.

    P.S. We are not “open to all,” as our Immigration Law clearly states, unless “open to all” doesn’t mean anyone can come in whenever they want, with or without a visa, and stay as long as they want without permission.

  6. Dan Grant says:

    It has existed without challenge through out the past 150 years or so. To claim this was only about slavery is disengenuous at best and homophobic at worst. Are we going to go back generations and if Grandparents came undocumented should we then remove any future issue from those peope? Labor has been brought to this country on the basis of need and under circumstances of political asylum and in the great waves of immigrants in the past the only requirement was passage to the US and no sickness that could be spread. The Irish, the Chinese even the Cuban exiles and the eastern Europeans all came here without waiting in line because we needed them to support our ecconomy and their children became native born. These haters are not going to change that and they will never go after the business interests that need these workers so all the Republicans are doing is giving people a group to hate in the hopes of regaining power.

  7. Ed Ramirez says:

    United States Constitution main pageCRS Annotated Constitution

    . 14th Amendment
    Amendment XIV
    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. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Section 2.
    Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

    Section 3.
    No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

    Section 4.
    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    Section 5.
    The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

  8. Ed Ramirez says:

    “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” This is the part that is ambiguous are illegals under our jurisdiction if they are in our country illegally.

  9. Hi Ed:
    The issue here is not the presence of “illegals” in the country. It is the children of illegals who are born here. There is no ambiguity about that; they are citizens

    As for JS, I agree that the Second Amendment means what it says, But that does not mean I like people walking around with guns,

  10. P says:

    Dan – Nice post – You managed to work “homophobic” and “hate/haters” into the “conversation. Remind me again how this isn’t a wedge issue for both sides.

    P.S. What about anything that was posted on this issue, or the issue itself, would cause you to call “the other side” homophobic?

  11. Rose Farrell says:

    There are many ways that the Constitution can be interpreted. If it were black and white we would not need to refer to the Supreme Court to make determinations as to the legalities of issues. Inasmuch, we can expect to get myriad interpretations from just about any person you ask about any topic that is close to home. The topic of illegal aliens is a sore spot for many people these days because, historically, we have not seen such an influx of illegals into this country before. People are fearful that providing for illegals and their children will take from the mouths of their own families. It really is as simple as that. And fear brings out the worst in people.

  12. ChubbyPaul says:

    You people have to stop worrying about what Fred thinks. No one really pays attention to his rants and certainly very few actually ever read his articles in the physical paper. If you haven’t figured it out, he is always one sided and never rational. Just let his thoughts roll off your back

  13. Dan Grant says:

    You are right P. Homophobic is for another time because that is also true but not appropriate in this particular thread. I meant to say xenophobic. Mia culpa.
    While you guys are at changing the Constitution maybe we can adjust the second Amendment and save 15,000 people a year generally shot by their friends and family. The great proplem with these types of movements is that they engender fear and never get accomplished anyway. It is hate a fear based but these days that is all the Republican Party is offering by way of public policy.

  14. Rose Farrell says:

    The issue is not whether the children are “legally” in our country because of their birth status, but rather whether their parents should be permitted to stay merely because of the fact that they gave birth to children in this country. Who will be the first to tear apart a family and send the parents home to their native country leaving the children behind? The Constitution is clear about the children. The real controversy is whether their parents are automatically granted citizenship as well.

  15. P says:

    Who is “you guys”? I didn’t advocate changing the 14th Amendment. You need to stop lumping me in with whomever you’re railing against.

    P.S. Changing that Amendment is virtually impossible. Getting 2/3 of each legislative body, and 3/4 of the states to pass an amendment repealing or modifying it has as much a chance of happening as you being elected President. But it makes for a good fund raising letter headline – “Help stop the right-wing nuts from taking over America . . yada, yada, yada!” Politics is the Art of the Possible, but ginning up your base is all about making the impossible seem like a slam dunk.

    P.P.S. It’s Mea Culpa. Mia Culpa was an Italian movie star in the 1960’s 😉

  16. Bob Grant says:

    JS needs to re-read the 2nd amendment and the underlying text in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution itself.

    The Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    Article 1, Section 8: US Constitution “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”

    There is no “private ownership” clause in the document.

  17. P says:

    BG – The Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.

  18. Teena Roth says:

    Wow! I think that if we went back to the many people whose ancestors came over many years ago, we would stop complaining about HOW they got here and I’m sure their families are just greatful that they DID. I know that I’m glad my grandparent’s were lucky enough to get here from both Poland and Russia. Who knows what they had to go through to get on that boat to come here? I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. when i think of WWII, I’m just thrilled that they had the foresight to come here and were able to do so. I know quite a few people who go back as far as I’m saying and even furthur, but even if their names, histories, etc. were changed just so they could come, they CAME. that was the imposrtant part. The rest is window dressing. I wish people would stop complaining and let other people live their lives.

  19. A Cute Observer says:

    What if 20 Million Illegal Aliens Vacated America?

    Tina Griego, journalist for the Denver Rocky
    Mountain News wrote a column titled, “Mexican Visitor’s Lament”-
    10/25/07.

    I interviewed Mexican journalist Evangelina
    Hernandez while visiting Denver last week. Hernandez said, “illegal
    aliens pay rent, buy groceries, buy clothes. What Happens to your
    country’s economy if 20 million people go away?” Hummm, I thought, what
    would happen, so I did my due diligence, buried my nose as a reporter
    into the FACTS I found below.

    It’s a good question it deserves an honest answer.
    Over 80% of Americans demand secured borders and illegal migration
    stopped. But what would happen if all 20 million or more vacated
    America? The answers I found may surprise you!

    In California, if 3.5 million illegal aliens moved
    back to Mexico, it would leave an extra $10.2 billion to spend on
    overloaded school systems, bankrupt hospitals and overrun prisons. It
    would leave highways cleaner, safer and less congested. Everyone could
    understand one another as English became the dominant language again.

    In Colorado, 500,000 illegal migrants, plus their
    300,000 kids and grand-kids would move back ‘home’, mostly to Mexico.
    That would save Coloradans an estimated $2 billion (other experts say $7
    billion) annually in taxes that pay for schooling, medical,
    social-services and incarceration costs. It means 12,000 gang members
    would vanish out of Denver alone.

    Colorado would save more than $20 million in prison
    costs, and the terror that those 7,300 alien criminals set upon local
    citizens. Denver Officer Don Young and hundreds of Colorado victims
    would not have suffered death, accidents, rapes and other crimes by
    illegals.

    Denver Public Schools would not suffer a 67%
    drop-out/flunk-out rate because of thousands of illegal alien students
    speaking 41 different languages. At least 200,000 vehicles would vanish
    from our gridlocked cities in Colorado. Denver’s 4% unemployment rate
    would vanish as our working poor would gain jobs at a living wage.

    In Florida, 1.5 million illegals would return the
    Sunshine State back to America, the rule of law, and English.

    In Chicago, Illinois, 2.1 million illegals would
    free up hospitals, schools, prisons and highways for a safer, cleaner
    and more crime-free experience.

    If 20 million illegal aliens returned ‘home’, the
    U.S. Economy would return to the rule of law. Employers would hire legal
    American citizens at a living wage. Everyone would pay their fair share
    of taxes because they wouldn’t be working off the books. That would
    result in an additional $401 Billion in IRS income taxes collected
    annually, and an equal amount for local, state and city coffers.

    No more push ‘1’ for Spanish or ‘2’ for English. No
    more confusion in American schools that now must contend with over 100
    languages that degrade the educational system for American kids. Our
    over-crowded schools would lose more than two million illegal alien kids
    at a cost of billions in ESL and free breakfasts and lunches.

    We would lose 500,000 illegal criminal alien
    inmates at a cost of more than $1.6 billion annually. That includes
    15,000 MS-13 gang members who distribute $130 billion in drugs annually
    would vacate our country.

    In cities like L.A., 20,000 members of the ’18th
    Street Gang’ would vanish from our nation. No more Mexican forgery gangs
    for ID theft from Americans! No more foreign rapists and child
    molesters!

    Losing more than 20 million people would clear up
    our crowded highways and gridlock. Cleaner air and less drinking and
    driving American deaths by illegal aliens!

    America’s economy is drained. Taxpayers are harmed.
    Employers get rich. Over $80 billion annually wouldn’t return to the
    aliens’ home countries by cash transfers. Illegal migrants earned half
    that money untaxed, which further drains America ‘s economy which
    currently suffers an $8.7 trillion debt.
    $8.7 trillion debt.

    At least 400,000 anchor babies would not be born in
    our country, costing us $109 billion per year per cycle. At least 86
    hospitals in California, Georgia and Florida would still be operating
    instead of being bankrupt out of existence because illegals pay nothing
    via the EMTOLA Act.

    Americans wouldn’t suffer thousands of TB and
    hepatitis cases rampant in our country-brought in by illegals unscreened
    at our borders.

    Our cities would see 20 million less people
    driving, polluting and grid locking our cities. It would also put the
    ‘progressives’ on the horns of a dilemma; illegal aliens and their
    families cause 11% of our greenhouse gases.

    Over one million of Mexico’s poorest citizens now
    live inside and along our border from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego,
    California in what the New York Times called, ‘colonias’ or new
    neighborhoods. Trouble is, those living areas resemble Bombay and
    Calcutta where grinding poverty, filth, diseases, drugs, crimes, no
    sanitation and worse. They live without sewage, clean water, streets,
    roads, electricity, or any kind of sanitation.

    The New York Times reported them to be America’s
    new ‘Third World’ inside our own country. Within 20 years, at their
    current growth rate, they expect 20 million residents of those colonias.
    (I’ve seen them personally in Texas and Arizona; it’s sickening beyond
    anything you can imagine.)

    By enforcing our laws, we could repatriate them
    back to Mexico. We should invite 20 million aliens to go home, fix their
    own countries and/or make a better life in Mexico. We already invite a
    million people into our country legally more than all other countries
    combined annually. We cannot and must not allow anarchy at our borders,
    more anarchy within our borders and growing lawlessness at every level
    in our nation. It’s time to stand up for our country, our culture, our
    civilization and our way of life.

    Interesting Statistics!

  20. P says:

    This is the link to the original story – http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/oct/25/griego-mexican-visitors-lament-our-best-hands/

    Most of what is posted above looks like Internet Urban Legend, so I would question all the Stats, Interesting or Not.

    P.S. There’s a better chance that the Sun will come up in the West tomorrow morning, than even 20% of the illegal aliens in America will ever leave.

  21. A Cute Observer says:

    America would be far better off had we listened to Barbara Jordan in 1995:

    Jordan chaired a Congressional commission that advocated increased restriction of immigration, called for all U.S. residents to carry a national identity card and increased penalties on employers that violated U.S. immigration regulations.[2][3] Then-President Clinton endorsed the Jordan Commission’s proposals.[4] While she was Chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform she argued that “it is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.” Her stance on immigration is cited by opponents of current US immigration policy who cite her willingness to penalize employers who violate US immigration regulations, to tighten border security, and to oppose amnesty or any other pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants[5] and to broaden the grounds for the deportation of legal immigrants.[6]

  22. A Cute Observer says:

    Even Harry Reid questions birthright citizenship:

  23. Well, Cute Observer, Harry Reid is wrong.

  24. P says:

    ATTENTION – Conservative, Republicans & Tea Party Types

    If you want to know how to guarantee the re-election President Obama in 2012, keep questioning his citizenship and religion. Both are guaranteed LOSERS.

    The man has a legislative record that is replete with things that the majority of Americans do not support. Focus on them.

    Thank you for your time.

    And no, Nedd, I will not list them for the Head of the Morris County ObamaManics (i.e., You). They will be distributed at the next gathering of the VRWC.

  25. Jeffrey Hastings says:

    Fred, what about making it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in this country makes it great? All of Europe has repealed birthright citizenship and with good reason. Unrestricted immigration has caused much socialogical upheaval there. Do we want the same thing here? It’s INSANITY to continue to offer yet another magnet to attract illegal immigrants. And yes, Birthright Citizenship WAS intended for the children of former African slaves, NOT anyone who merely trapsed over the border and had a kid. This is lunatic nonsense you’re preaching. Birthright citizenship, however originally well intentioned, must now be repealed to help keep America from drowning in more of the burdens illegal aliens have brought to us. And that’s not “anti-immigrant” as you so slander us; it’s just common sense and sound public policy. Your position on this is quite irresponsible and in truth, undefendable.

  26. P says:

    Here’s the way to go – http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=JFwsWN0XkQM&vq=hd720#t=13

    Love the musical score!.

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