Subject to the jurisdiction thereof?

Senators Vitter (R-LA) and Paul (R-KY) have introduced a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate automatic birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants who happen to be born on U.S. soil.

This is an attempt to correct the problem with the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants such citizenship, even though it is almost certain that this is not what the States thought was the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment on its ratification just after the Civil War.

At issue is the misinterpretation of he phrase in the Amendment “subject to the jurisdiction thereof [of the United States],” which can be interpreted either way: to allow, or disallow, birthright citizenship.

The original intent of the Amendment was to ensure that former slaves born in the United States would not be deprived of their newly-won rights. It is virtually certain that it had nothing to do with those in the country illegally, and it’s just an interpretation that has brought us to the “anchor baby” pass.

Again, the key phrase is “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Tthose in our country illegally, who by definition of breaking our laws have not subjected themselves to our jurisdiction.


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