• M.A.Aponte

Birthright Citizenship: A Case of Citizenship, Immigration, and Possible Destruction?

Since the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1868, which gave citizenship rights and equal protection laws to former slaves, citizenship is given to all born or naturalized in the United States. This includes born outside the united states with parents that are citizens, territories of the united states such as Puerto Rico and the Mariana Islands. However, this also includes undocumented people having children within the states thereby giving them citizenship, known as jus soli (Latin for "right of the soil").


This has been a very big debate in these times due to immigration, rights versus liberties, and documented cases of people taking advantage of jus soli. I want to disclose that I neither agree nor disagree but rather point out a case for both and give you the knowledge to decide for yourself if there is a moral case for or against it.

Many people are unaware that this debate has happened during ancient Rome. Like in the United States in the past, Rome had a variety of citizenship rights depending on sex and status. If you were a female, you had limited form of citizenship, if you were a slave you had no rights except certain protections under Roman Law (for the record: slaves in Rome was not based on race unlike United States had), and if you were a freedman, you would have limited form of citizenship. Romans considered citizenship an honor. Citizens had a duty to take part in debates, elections, defend, and protect Rome. However, that changed over time. Rome expanded its citizenship by allowing outside of Rome to acquire it by getting educated on Latin, roman laws, and serving the army. Later, citizenship became more laxed and borders opened. Why the Roman empire changed their laws can be discussed in another lesson. However, many scholars believe this was the catalyst to the downfall of one of the most powerful empires in our world’s history will forever remain a mystery. However, we should take this history into consideration regarding Birthright Citizenship since history can repeat itself if the same mistakes are taken.


The constitution is what protects people from the government. When you remove an amendment, you remove a protection that you have in a court of law. If the First Amendment was removed, it would be illegal to protest and speak your mind against a politician and government. If this was to anger you then so should the removal of the Fourteenth Amendment. Now, there can be ratifications, but it should not supersede the reason for the Amendment. In short, the Fourteenth Amendment gives birthright citizenship to people under certain conditions and if some people are taking advantage of it, that does not change the fact that Birthright citizenship is protected under the constitution.


So, does Birthright citizenship a good thing? My opinion is that it is a double edge sword. Citizenship of a country should feel a sense of pride, honor, and duty. It should not be given away freely. However, one should not feel obligated to serve the military to receive it like it was in Rome or make it close to impossible to achieve citizenship. However, history has shown the dangers of open borders and easy citizenship can cause major population problems and if unchecked, can lead to destruction.


Video: CNN legal analyst, Danny Cevallos, explaining birthright citizenship.



Video: Mr. Feere speaking to the house regarding changing birthright citizenship.


Video: Fantastic (and calm) debate on the 14th Amendment:




What are your thoughts? Do you believe the United States should amend the Fourteenth Amendment or should we open up our borders as many have suggested?




References:

Birthright Citizenship: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthright_citizenship_in_the_United_States

CNN birthright citizenship debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frLQcUYghN4

Fourteenth Amendment: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/amendments-11-27

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/Print/PolicyManual-Volume12-PartH.html

Washington Examiner, Barone’s Guide to Government: The 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/videos/barones-guide-to-government-the-14th-amendment-and-birthright-citizenship

Washington Post, Citizenship shouldn’t be a birthright opinion article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/citizenship-shouldnt-be-a-birthright/2018/07/18/7d0e2998-8912-11e8-85ae-511bc1146b0b_story.html?utm_term=.e46d7bd41250

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