Changing U.S. Citizenship Laws

Posted on Jun 16 2010 - 5:00am by Harrison

U.S. immigration - click for larger view.

Currently, one can become a U.S. citizen by going through a lengthy process with the Department of Immigration Services, passing a test, and swearing an oath or they can simply be born in the United States.  These so called “birth citizens” are also known by detractors as “anchor babies” because they anchor the non-citizen parents to this country.  In fact, one of the main reasons pro-immigration forces cite as a reason to grant citizenship to illegals is if their children are U.S. born then sending the parents back to their home country would “rip families apart.”

Were we to live in a rational world and were people to accept the consequences of their actions the rationale that someone shouldn’t come to the U.S. illegally, have a child, and expect to stay would be taken for granted.

At the time of its founding, it made sense for the United States to recognize anybody born here as being a citizen as the population, excluding American Indians and those in the territories, was about 2.5 million.  American immigration law concerning “birth citizens” has changed over the years, essentially, the current version we have came into being in 1868, after the Civil War, with the passage of the 14th Amendment:

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.

In 1870 the U.S. population was about 38 1/2 million.

In 2010 the U.S. population is 308 million.

American citizenship laws need to be reformed.  At the time when this country needed as many citizens as it could get to fill out the country, allowing anybody born here to be an American made sense.  After nearly 225 years of growth, it is time to turn off the tap.  A smaller population means fewer resources are needed, a higher standard of living for everybody, and lowered costs for housing, food, goods, and services.  Finally, illegal immigrants may not choose to come to America to have their children if they knew they would not automatically become citizens.

According to a recent study:

An estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants were living in the U.S. as of January 2009, according to the Homeland Security Department. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that as of 2008, there were 3.8 million illegal immigrants in this country whose children are U.S. citizens.

Arizona’s Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce has proposed that children born in Arizona are not automatically entitled to become citizens.  While his idea is a good one, it would be unconstitutional were he to get Arizona to sign it into law.  And we all know how difficult it is to pass a new Constitutional amendment.

Unfortunately, neither political party has made any serious attempts to reform our immigration and citizenship laws.  Instead of requiring at least one parent to be an American citizen before their children are granted citizenship, we have millions of children of illegal immigrants “anchored” to this country and a ready excuse why we should reward them having broken the law with citizenship.

The fact is, Republicans and Democrats don’t want to anger Hispanics because they are hoping to build their 21st Century majorities from this bloc.  The people who will pay for this cynical move are, ironically, U.S. citizens.

14 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. marie June 16, 2010 at 11:03 AM -

    Watch this short video, towards the end of it there is an interesting statistic revealed- this should make you view the Hispanic immigration issue in a whole different light. I’m curious to hear others reactions to this.

    • Harrison June 16, 2010 at 11:08 AM -

      I guess it all depends on which poor group has more kids… Catholics or Muslims.

      • marie June 16, 2010 at 12:04 PM -

        Disturbing to think that the only way we could win this, at the current rate, would be by putting more Catholics on the waffle system. Wow, it just goes to show that we really do need to re-form America back into what it once was.

        Plus, it also matters who is administrating those hand-outs.. scarry thought.

        • Harrison June 16, 2010 at 1:26 PM -

          The Pope might say no birth control because of the baby Jesus but really it’s just to get more Catholics who will give everything to the Church. Protestants might be better off financially for having no Pope but they’re vastly outnumbered.

          • marie June 16, 2010 at 2:20 PM -

            Oy vey!- makes me feel so much better knowing that The Church is a mis-led and corrupt entity as well. Haha.
            Hey, isn’t there a fatwah on the Pope, or is it just his followers? Btw, I’m only laughing because it’s all so dysfunctional.

  2. Matt June 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM -

    It’s a great idea, but there’s no way that it will survive a legal challenge. I have heard that they want to fight it all the way to the SCOTUS, but unless they’re seeing something I’m not, it’s going to fail.

  3. Joe Markowitz June 17, 2010 at 10:32 AM -

    What you are suggesting, even if it were possible to repeal the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, could lead to a lot of people becoming stateless persons. And stateless persons still have rights. The fact is also, that every person born anywhere in the world breathes the same air that we do, uses the same resources, and can take jobs away from Americans if they are willing to work cheaper. What we need to do is focus on are the issues of resource allocation and sustainable development and global population limits. If we focus on immigration, we are deluding ourselves into believing that we can solve the world’s resource and population and economic problems just by trying to move a few people to some other country. That would be a lot like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    • Harrison June 17, 2010 at 10:40 AM -

      Obviously anybody who became a citizen before the law was changed would still be a citizen. There would be no “stateless persons.”

      I’m all for making the world a better place but I think we need to clean-up this country, first.

      • Joe Markowitz June 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM -

        If we deny citizenship to people who are born in this country, what would compel the country that person’s parents are from to grant them citizenship? Once you start making it more difficult for people to become citizens, other countries may do the same, and there could be more and more people who are not citizens of any country. Did you know by the way that there are already more than 12 million stateless persons in the world?

        • Harrison June 17, 2010 at 1:34 PM -

          That’s not my problem.

          • Joe Markowitz June 17, 2010 at 2:55 PM -

            Well it is, actually, because we have treaty obligations to stateless persons, refugees, political asylum seekers, etc. And when tsunamis and earthquakes hit other countries, we find ourselves with humanitarian obligations as well. Not to mention the countries we find ourselves going to war over, the economic competition we face from workers in other countries, and pollution and competition for resources with other countries, which affects the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the price of raw materials you use. All of it is your problem, and people are just as much your problem whether they are undocumented workers living next door to you, or refugees or terrorists from somewhere else, or honest workers who happen to live in another country. We’re all in the same boat.

          • Harrison June 17, 2010 at 3:00 PM -

            Then abide by the treaty laws. If someone is here legally, let ’em stay, if not, bye bye they don’t belong here. Pretty simple, really.

  4. Joe Markowitz June 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM -

    Now you’ve come full circle back to the topic of your post. Because as your own post recognizes, immigration is not a simple problem at all. When you deport the parents of US citizens to another country, you create some serious problems not only for those families, but also for whoever has to supervise children who are legally entitled to be here, which could end up being our juvenile justice system, or foster care system. In a lot of cases, those kinds of solutions are a lot more expensive than allowing working parents to stay and support those children. You could try to solve that problem in the future by denying citizenship to children of illegal aliens, but you would have to amend the Constitution to do that, so it probably won’t happen. Which means that the only realistic way to solve the problem is to find a way to legalize at least some of the people who are here and who may already be valuable members of our society.

    • Harrison June 17, 2010 at 4:02 PM -

      Joe, I do not know of a country out there that doesn’t recognize the children born to citizens outside the country as being ineligible for citizenship. This is to avoid the “stateless” issue. If someone comes here illegally and has a child, they know full well they could be caught and sent back, putting their child(ren) at risk. It is not my responsibility that they have made a poor, risky decision just as it is not my responsibility if someone robs a store or drinks and drives. Allowing them to stay here only encourages more people like them to come here and have children. It has to stop.

      And as I say in the article, it is unlikely such a law would ever go into the books so I guess the whole thing is moot, anyway.