Rand Paul made the mistake, again, of speaking openly about a hot button issue. Should children of illegal aliens be giving citizenship if they are born in the US? Listen to the whole interview here, and see really what Rand was talking about.
Now what did Rand really say? He said that we are the only country that permits foreign nationals to obtain citizenship just be being born in this county. The whole “anchor baby” meme.
As with all wedge issues, your either 100% for it or 100% against it, there is very little gray area. Rand is right, that democrats would generally like to allow all illegals to become citizens because they usually vote democrat. The reverse is true as well, republicans don’t like the amnesty approach because they wouldn’t get their votes. Of course, I’ve said before, both parties like it this way, because it create an instant constituency. Democrats pretty much automatically get the Latino vote, and Republicans automatically get the “close the border” vote. Which is why Rand said that neither party has the willpower to do anything about the boarders.
The whole idea of citizenship by being born in the US comes to us from the 14th amendment.
Section 1. 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Now there is an argument to be made that “jurisdiction therof” clause was put in there to “exclude persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.” That was what the author of the Citizenship Clause, Senator Jacob M. Howard said. That’s the interpretation I’m sure Rand Paul is thinking about as well.
Most proponents of this view would cite Elk v. Wilkins, which determined that children of Native Americans born on a reservation were not citizens in part because the reservation is not technically a part of the US jurisdiction. This lack of citizenship was rectified by the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. Personally, I don’t think this view is applicable since the question posed by Rand is one of where the children are born in the jurisdiction of the US.
The only other time the Citizenship Clause was challenged was in the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark. This is a more substantial case, but reading the opinion, it doesn’t really give the proponents of amnesty much to work with either.
The question presented by the record is whether 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: ‘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 a 6-2 decision, they found for Wong, that he is a citizen. Yet, I think the dissenting opinion holds more sway now than it did back in the late 1800s. The finding for Wong is heavily influenced by english common law (Jus Soli), which the dissenting judges said was/is no longer valid in the US after independence.
From what little I have read, I think the dissenting opinion holds more sway, since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land not the Magna Carta. Of course this leads in the to whole should the US be subject to international law debate, which I don’t want to get into (I say no). It should be noted that SCOTUS has never fully addressed the problem of are children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents are entitled to birthright citizenship? Which is exactly what Rand Paul is talking about.
It’s an interesting question, that I’m sure both sides will get heated about. Yet, this ony underscores why I like Rand Paul. He gets people thinking about questions that need to be answered one way or another, but everyone is too afraid to too complacent to ask. I mean what would happen if SCOTUS were to rule against illegal immigration anchor babies? They could, and very easily, since the Court doesn’t really hold to any common law ideals anymore.
One more thing, Paul is right that other countries don’t allow for anchor babies. How much air time do you think that will get on the MSM? Probably none.