The Nature Of Citizenship

August 21, 2015

 14th Amendment page 1. Author: National Archives of the United States. Credit: NARA

One of the most remarkable aspects of the current presidential campaign is its unprecedented focus upon some of the more egregiously stupid and deleterious aspects of this country’s immigration policy. In addition to the lethal consequences of municipal sanctuary laws, there is the question of jus soli, colloquially known as birthright citizenship, which presumes that anyone born on American soil to any foreign national-save diplomats-is, de jure, an American citizen in perpetuity. The United States is one of the few countries on the planet, and the only major Western nation-with the exception of Canada-to follow this practice. 

The problem is that birthright citizenship is not part of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, despite the repeated false assertions by armchair Constitutional scholars such as Bill O’Reilly, but a deliberate distortion of previous Supreme Court decisions that rendered erroneous interpretations of this part of the Constitution. Legal scholar John Eastman is arguably the most eloquent debunker of this popular myth, which has somehow become embedded within our national psyche. You can watch an illuminating discussion by Dr. Eastman of how this came to be here


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