The two words that have lit up the political world over the past week: anchor babies.
How much of this could actually happen under a President Trump?
Trump has been making his case. The claim? That women who come to the United States and have a baby here on U.S. soil in order for their child to become a U.S. citizen are not protected by the constitution.
What’s more, those babies—called “anchor babies“—he says, are actually not citizens. He also claims some very good lawyers would agree with him.
So what does the 14th Amendment actually say?
The 14th Amendment came into being after the civil war as Congress in 1868 passed the amendment to enfranchise former slaves in the South. It reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States.”
In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled, “the amendment, in clear words and in manifest intent, includes children born within the territory of the United States of all other persons (except children born to enemy aliens and diplomats), of whatever race or color, domiciled within the United States.”
So, clearly stated, if you are born in the United States, you are a U.S. citizen. Right?
Well, believe it or not, Trump may be on to something.
“I don’t think they have American citizenship, and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers, some would disagree,” Trump says in the video above. “But many of them agree with me. You’re going to find they do not have American citizenship.”
Reality Check: Under the 14th Amendment, not everyone born within the United States has a citizen’s birthright. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution says Congress shall have power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.
So the question is, can Congress, without changing the constitution, define who is a citizen and who is not?
Yes, because they have.
In 1868 when the 14th Amendment was passed, it excluded American Indians because they would have allegiance to their own native nation. But in 1923, without changing the constitution, Congress redefined requirements for citizenship by extending citizenship to American Indians.
Here’s what you need to know:
Yes, Trump is right that birthright citizenship is not guaranteed under our constitution.
But where he is wrong is in the idea that the children of immigrants who are already here are not really citizens. Because the current understanding of the 14th Amendment they have been granted citizenship.
In order to change that, Congress would have to attempt to strip citizenship from millions of Americans, something congress would not do. And even if they did, that attempt would have to go through the courts and almost certainly the Supreme Court would not allow that to happen.Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.