The Pew Institute estimates between 300,000 and 400,000 children are born to illegal immigrants of varying nationalities each year in the United States. Now accounting for roughly 8% of all births in the U.S. annually and accelerating.
Our current treatment of immigration law encourages parents-to-be to come to the United States illegally to have their children. They do so in order to receive costly social benefits and improve the chances of attaining legal residency themselves. Rewarding illegal behavior makes no sense! Would you or I get away with robbing a bank then depositing the money in your child’s account at another bank? No!
There is no valid basis under the 14th Amendment for the practice of granting citizenship to U.S. born children of foreign nationals illegally in America. The 14th Amendment was clearly ratified in 1868 to protect the rights of native-born Black Americans, whose rights were being denied as recently-freed slaves. It was written in a manner so as to prevent state governments from ever denying citizenship to blacks born in the United States. But in 1868, the United States had no formal immigration policy, and the authors therefore saw no need to address immigration explicitly in the amendment.
Senator Jacob Howard worked closely with Abraham Lincoln in drafting and passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which abolished slavery. He also served on the Senate Joint Committee on Reconstruction, which drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard clearly spelled out the intent of the 14th Amendment by writing:
"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."
The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" excludes 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 their child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship.
The correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment, according to its authors, is that an illegal alien mother is subject to the jurisdiction of her native country as is her baby.
Automatic birthright citizenship is a policy that Congress should not only highly discourage but legislatively challenge until the courts decide the issue. As your Representative, I will not stand for the current status quo