The 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship


Our president has been intent on stoking debate over immigration beginning with his presidential campaign. Now, to motivate his base as we approach the midterm elections, he is proposing a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to revoke—with a stroke of a pen—birthright citizenship. Why? To sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred.

But here’s the problem: The 14thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “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.”

Anyone born on American soil automatically becomes a natural-born citizen.

Our president falsely stated (I know, a real shocker) that the United States is the only country that offers birthright citizenship. Actually, 33 nations grant citizenship to anyone born within their borders.

The main purpose of the 14thAmendment was to overrule Dred Scott, the appalling 1857 Supreme Court decision that said black slaves were property and not citizens. It was the Dred Scott decision, of course, that prompted the Civil War.

The rule of citizenship acquired by birth within the U.S. is the law of the Constitution, and it cannot be changed through legislation or an executive order, but only by amending the Constitution.