Congressional Republicans, trying to deflect the anger of American conservatives from their failure to control government spending, have been whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment. One idea being floated recently as part of that effort is that children born in the United States to illegal immigrants should no longer be granted American citizenship. Of course, this would require a Constitutional amendment, although people making the proposal do not seem to emphasize that fact.
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution starts with the words: "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." Well, that is clear enough. All persons born in the United States are citizens. If you were born in the United States you have all the rights of citizenship and no one can take those rights away, no matter who your parents were or what they might have done.
Although the 14th Amendment was written to guarantee the rights of recently freed slaves after the Civil War it was a founding principle of our country that all persons are created equal. Unlike Europe, where the family or class into which someone was born could determine their place and status in society, in America people were judged by their own character and abilities, not who or what their parents might have been.
Now some people who call themselves "conservative" are proposing that the Constitution be amended to say that not all persons born in the United States are citizens, just the ones whose parents had the correct legal status at the time of their birth. Just what is it that these "conservatives" think that they are conserving? It does not appear to be the Constitution or the principles upon which this country was founded.
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