Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Representative: 14th Amendment Doesn't Apply to Everyone

Susan Lynn, my state representative, has introduced this piece of legislation that "memorializes the Congress of the United States to enact legislation clarifying the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution as denying citizenship status to children of illegal aliens."

The Fourteenth Amendment is the one that says, "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." Representative Lynn says that children born in the United States to persons here illegally are not "subject to the jurisdiction of" the U.S. That's a stretch and goes against precedent (at least according to Wikipedia). Sayeth Wikipedia:

Since 1898 the phrase "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" has been interpreted to mean that there are some exceptions to the universal rule that birth in United States automatically grants citizenship. In the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court ruled that a person born within the territorial boundaries of the United States is eligible for birthright citizenship regardless of the nationality of his or her parents. The only exceptions to this rule identified in Wong Kim Ark concern diplomats, enemy forces in hostile occupation of the United States, and members of Native American tribes.

It was years later that the exclusion of Native Americans was eliminated by the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

While we're talking about precedent, making an exception to the Fourteenth Amendment sets a dangerous one. Not good, Representative Lynn. Not good.

Hat tip and more commentary at Tiny Cat Pants.


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