House Republicans Try to Gut a Key American Principle

Dana Milbank, Washington Post, April 29, 2015

The Civil War era’s 14th Amendment, granting automatic citizenship to any baby born on American soil, is a proud achievement of the Party of Lincoln.

But now House Republicans are talking about abolishing birthright citizenship.

A House Judiciary subcommittee took up the question Wednesday afternoon, prompted by legislation sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and 22 other lawmakers that, after nearly 150 years, would end automatic citizenship.

The 14th Amendment, King told the panel, “did not contemplate that anyone who would sneak into the United States and have a baby would have automatic citizenship conferred on them.” Added King, “I’d suggest it’s our job here in this Congress to decide who will be citizens, not someone in a foreign country that can sneak into the United States and have a baby and then go home with the birth certificate.”

It’s no small task to undo a principle, enshrined in the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court, that defines the United States as a nation of immigrants. It’s particularly audacious that House Republicans would undo a century and a half of precedent without amending the Constitution but merely by passing a law to reinterpret the 14th Amendment’s wording in a way that will stop the scourge of “anchor babies” and “birth tourism.”


Abolishing automatic citizenship for babies born on American soil . . . probably won’t help Republicans overcome their problems with minorities, who are gradually becoming the majority. Democrats, by happenstance, presented a sharp contrast to the GOP effort Wednesday: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and others met at Washington’s Carnegie Library with a coalition including immigration and civil rights advocates to launch a new jobs campaign, “Putting Families First.”


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  • Oil Can Harry

    Senator Sacajawea Warren is a fraud. She claims to be on the side of working class US families yet supports the mass Third World invasion that lowers their wages.

    • phillyguy

      They are now cutting her lawn.

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      • Lexonaut

        And collecting the wages that working class Americans don’t want.

  • It was not until 1898, a full 30 years after the “ratification” of the 14th amendment, did jus soli (“birthright citizenship”) come into existence:

    It’s no small task to undo a principle, enshrined in the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court, that defines the United States as a nation of immigrants.

    The Supreme Court reversed itself on Griggs vs Duke Power, but then Congress implemented its precepts as a matter of statutory law in 1991.

    Abolishing automatic citizenship for babies born on American soil . . . probably won’t help Republicans overcome their problems with minorities

    Only minorities can vote?

    • Good points. Yeah, like the “minorities” were, until now, died in the wool Republicans, huh?

  • JackKrak

    We can talk about it & complain it all we want – it will never be repealed.

    Why would the Dems lift a finger to do anything about it? They probably have a bell at DNC headquarters that rings every time an “American” is born at a Texas border hospital.

    The Republicans will never seriously push this in Congress for fear of being called…….oh, you know the rest.

    • Jason Lewis

      A Constitutional Conventions by the states could make so much happen. Repeal birthright citizenship, balanced budget, repeal direct election of senators and term limits for Congress.

      • JackKrak

        I’m with you, brother, I really am but I think that particular ship has sailed

      • Tannenbaum

        Don’t be so sure about that, brother. A Constitutional Convention would be the perfect platform for the Usual Suspects to gut what little is left of the Constitution — starting with the First and Second Amendments.

        • Weisheit77

          I’m more with you on that one. That sword could swing both ways.

      • IstvanIN

        Having Senators appointed by the states was a good idea in a White country, in today’s America it would simply mean more AA non-White and liberal-female Senators.

        • Jason Lewis

          Our forefathers knew what they were doing.

    • carriewhite64

      It’s so sad, but it is obvious that the Constitution was written for an entirely different population and political climate than we have now. Democracy does not work for diverse populations with a political party pandering to them.

      • Ella

        It says that US borders have been dissolved and hence there is no real America. If both the Prez and Congress refuse to uphold the Law of the Land, we are finito.

    • Yeah, they just need to use the dreaded “R Word” on us. So, as a result, the most we White Americans can hope for is leaders who are just indifferent to us, as opposed to those who actually hate us. Yeah, some choice.

  • Weisheit77

    Sometimes you have to laugh at the irony because it’s all you’ve got.
    A law that was meant to stop freed blacks from being denied citizenship will ultimate bury them by foreigners who might be sympathetic to blacks right up unto the moment where gentle giants are beating them up for cigars, burning down their store, and trashing their BMW.

    I’m friends with many Chinese, and most are realists about this stuff. They know how far that “people of color” crap flies, about as far as a grad student’s office is wide. Most of the Asian SJWs, that I see, seem to be 2nd or 3rd generation.

    • Weisheit77

      And it just hit, the black idiot SJW in the NYT’s editorial talks about the “legacy of slavery”, but someone how totally misses this one.

      I’m not sure if he’s a useful idiot or not though. I would have to see his paycheck to determine that.

    • BlueSonicStreak

      In my experience, they are ALL second-gen at least, and are young. They’ve been won over by the white privilege line at Western universities.

      On Tumblr, there used to be a Japanese kid advocating the extermination of whites. She claimed to live in Japan, and to be outraged by whites “appropriating” Japanese culture. It all hilariously fell apart when some of those appropriating whites – who actually lived in Japan – managed to prove that she was lying and knew very little of Japan and was actually living in white racist America.

      It was absolutely like something an American black would do.

      • Xerxes22

        No, American Blacks rarely do this. There is a another group that uses this type of camouflage a lot. If I mention their name, this post will be deleted.

        • BlueSonicStreak

          Sorry, I meant the fanatically hateful posting about white people “stealing” from non-whites more than the deception, as it was a page right out of the Afrocentric playbook.

          But actually, the deception is something I’ve seen marginally more intelligent blacks try to do as well. Sometimes they even troll Stormfront pretending to be white and trying to create doubt and confusion.

          They’re admittedly not very good at it, though.

  • jpstraley

    Birthright Citizenship NOT supported by Constitution.

    Here’s why:

    Wong Kim Ark (WKA, 1898) case is the precedent case for the legal
    status of anchor babies. The truly narrow application of WKA is
    emphasized reviewing the concise statement of the question the case
    was meant to decide, written by Hon. Horace Gray, Justice for the
    majority in this decision.

    “[W]hether a child born in the United States, of parents of
    Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the
    Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicile and residence in
    the United States, and are there carrying on business, and
    are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the
    Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the
    United States by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth
    Amendment of the Constitution.” (Italics added.)

    For WKA to justify birthright citizenship, the parents must have
    “…permanent domicile and residence…” But how can an illegal
    alien have permanent residence when the threat of deportation is
    constantly present? There is no statute of limitation for illegal
    presence in the US and the passage of time does not eliminate the
    legal remedy of deportation. This alone would seem to invalidate
    WKA as a support and precedent for illegal alien birthright

    Legal aliens can indeed have a “. . .permanent domicile and
    residence. . .” and WKA appears to be written for this class of
    persons. However, it is not an applicable precedent to justify
    birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens.

    WKA and Birth Tourism

    Many foreign couples take a trip to the US during the last phase of
    the wife’s pregnancy so she can give birth in the US, thus
    conferring birthright citizenship on the child. This practice is
    called “birth tourism.” WKA calls out two qualifications to
    allow birthright citizenship: permanent residence and doing
    business. A temporary visit answers neither condition. WKA is
    therefore disqualified as justification and precedent for a “birth
    tourism” child to be granted birthright citizenship.

  • Realist

    Why would anyone expect honesty or integrity from any party in a democracy? In a democracy all politicians are bought and paid for.

  • Roninf9

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

  • MBlanc46

    I don’t see that it says in the 14th Amendment that anyone born in the US to non-citizens who sneaked into the country is entitled to citizenship. I’m glad someone is finally taking this on.

  • Lexonaut

    “… minorities, who are gradually becoming the majority.”

    It just happens, like the weather. And anyone who proposes to discuss how to stop it is a bigot. Just as you can be a racist without even knowing it, now you can be American without even knowing it.

  • They are right. That amendment was passed to guarantee the rights of citizenship to freed slaves. No one at the time envisioned the “anchor baby” problem. Obviously, Democrats are going to oppose the change.

  • John Ambrose

    If John Boehner was really interested in slowing the demographic transformation in a fairly substantial way (and improve his party’s long-term prospects) he could easily bring a bill to the House floor calling for an end to jus soli. But given his own daughter’s recent marriage to a black Jamaican I imagine he’s a complete dolt on racial matters and thinks browning the population is just fine and dandy.