President Trump announced today that he plans to end the Constitutional guarantee of citizenship by birth in the U.S. via an executive order.
Apart from the questionable legality of such an action, which will certainly be challenged in the courts, it is not too soon to reflect on the importance of birthright citizenship in the U.S. Without it, many people born in the U.S would be stateless, and would be legally treated as an “underclass” in our society. Birthright citizenship gives children of immigrants an automatic stake and true legal “belonging” in this country. As the Cato Institute‘s Alex Nowrasteh wrote in The Federalist,
the Fourteenth Amendment…..should be defended because of how well it has aided immigrant assimilation in the United States”.
We should also be mindful, as noted in this essay published to mark the 80th anniversary of the Nuremberg laws, that
the denial of citizenship has increasingly become a weapon, used to vilify and harass designated targeted groups as “alien” to the nation.
For a detailed review of the history and the legal meaning of the 14th Amendment’s citizenship by birth in the U.S. language, read this 2006 journal article by James C. Ho, now a judge on the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.
The President is truly challenging us to ponder who we are as a nation, and who we want to be. MeBIC will always stand on the side of supporting birthright citizenship.