America should not End Birthright Citizenship
“In the United States, birthright citizenship refers to the right of any person to acquire nationality as long as the person has been born within the territory of the state. This has become a major topic in America and the question revolves around what to do with the illegal immigrants who are already living in the United States. Irrespective of the illegal status of the parents and the foreign citizenship of the parents, the children are entitled to citizenship through birth. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump was supporting the deportation of all illegal immigrants in America hence ending their birthright citizenship. This has raised questions regarding children who have been born in the United States by undocumented parents because the Fourteenth Amendment supports citizenship by birth to persons who have been born or naturalized in the United States (Kamp 50).
According to the amendment, they are subject to jurisdiction considering the state where they are residing. However, the Fourteenth Amendment poses a significant question surrounding persons who are born in the United States and they are not subject to jurisdiction. Clarification of the jurisdictional question was done at the close of the nineteenth century whereby the Supreme Court stated that children born to immigrants in the United States were entitled to citizenship (Auvil 2). Therefore, they should be given protection and the same rights as other citizens. On the contrary, opponents of birthright citizenship have continued to base their argument on the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment can apply to children of legal immigrants and not to illegal immigrants. There have been major proposals involving repealing of birthright citizenship in the United States by various political leaders while others are against this action. However, America should not end birthright citizenship because the proposed immigration policy undercuts the rights of immigrant families.
It is important to note that the proposed immigration policy of repealing birthright citizenship is going to negatively affect both the American citizens and the non-citizen immigrants in various ways. In fact, some states like Texas have stopped issuing birth certificates to babies born by Latino parents who are living there illegally. This has raised issues because the children have been born within states and the Fourth Amendment applies only within the states and not the territory of America at large. The proposed immigration policy may create a large population of children without citizenship irrespective of the fact they have been born in the United States by undocumented parents.
One of the reasons as to why Americans should not end birthright citizenship is because it will result in unfair burdening of new immigrants. In America, the population of immigrants is massive and it continues to increase every year. If birthright citizenship is repealed, it is going to have a major effect whereby the number of undocumented immigrants is going to increase. Also, there will be an emergence of a class system based on parental lineage in the case of new immigrants. Children born by immigrant parents are going to lack citizenship until they attain majority age and that is when they are going to be allowed to gain citizenship through the naturalization process.
The whole process will cause a demanding burden on families because it is always very difficult and expensive. For instance, naturalization process requires an application fee of $680 and the applicant should be at least 18 years old who has been residing in the United States permanently for at least five years (Auvil 5). Also, the applicant is required to pass an English interview which involves reading, writing and speaking hence they have to embrace American English and discard their native languages. As a matter of fact, the whole process is time-consuming and causes a financial burden to immigrants and that is the reason why they tend to avoid it. Additionally, the naturalization process does not apply to immigrants who are there unlawfully even to children born in the states and their parents have been residing in the country their entire lives.
Repealing birthright citizenship would mean that the immigrants will be cut from the American society and hence they may end up becoming “”stateless””. As a matter of fact, citizenship involves certain rights such as voting, employment health care, and housing. Ending birthright citizenship would mean that the immigrants will have difficulties accessing all these hence resulting in the creation of population which includes second-class individuals who have no access to all these benefits that comes with obtaining citizenship.
Secondly, ending birthright citizenship will cause splits among families (Auvil 6). It is important to note that one of the vital goals of immigration policy in the United States revolves centers on family unity. Therefore, revoking birthright citizenship will be going against this policy because some members will be citizens while others will be denied citizenship. Some members of the families may get access to the benefits of citizenship while others may experience various hardships which may include deportation, difficulty in finding a job or obtaining a driving license. Typically, repealing birthright citizenship will have long-term effects on the immigrant families especially if it involves deportation of some members of the family. This will make it hard for the deported members of the family to assimilate into the new society again. In fact, there is an estimated projection that America is going to lose between 4.7 million and 13 million citizens if birthright citizenship is ended.
Thirdly, American should not end birthright citizenship because the move will be undermining the significance of the “”American dream”” in respect to immigration policy and the role that the United States play in the global community (Auvil 7). It is important to note that most immigrants move to America in pursuit of jobs, college education and owning a home. They are driven by the quench for upward mobility. In the United States, it is difficult for non-citizens to own a house. As a matter of fact, it is always hard for undocumented immigrants to obtain mortgages. Therefore, home ownership is difficult for immigrants who do not have American citizenship. Education and upward mobility go hand in hand because with a good education a person is able to get a job which provides him or her with income and making upward mobility to be attainable.
Interestingly, the proposal of the DREAM Act revolved around processes allowing undocumented young people to get American citizenship (Auvil 7). However, even though the proposal has not yet been passed, some states have approved the state laws which are identical to the Act. Therefore, repealing birthright would result to the American-born children of immigrants losing the benefits of citizenship which may include higher education and student loans hence hindering them from attaining upward mobility. Additionally, the proposed migration policy of ending birthright citizenship may have a significant effect on tax in the long-term. In America, all citizens are taxed even when they are not living or working there and therefore, the non-citizens living and working in the United States are also required to pay taxes. Ending birthright citizenship may result in deportation of many illegal immigrants hence a significant reduction when it comes to the tax base of people living in America.
Limitations that Continues to Include and Exclude Others and the Steps Taken to Address Them
It is important to note that the laws of citizenship vary across different nations. A person can be granted citizenship through jus sanguinis which refers to the right of blood, the right of soil which is also known as jus soli and through birthright citizenship. Therefore, devising strategies and policies that enable the assimilation of immigrants has raised ongoing debate in many nations, especially in the United States. One of the limitations that come with birthright citizenship in America is when the issue of territories and states are included.
Therefore, the Fourteenth Amendment Citizenship clause puts into consideration territorial limitation and hence it supports exclusion of individuals born in the territories of the United States (Auvil 3). This means that children born within the United States territory and not within the fifty states have different rights even though they are subject to America jurisdiction. However, this has continued to pose challenges when it comes to interpretations of the Fourteenth Amendment and the steps taken to address the issue haven’t been done well enough. In fact, the people opposing birthright citizenship have continued to narrow their interpretation of the amendment to an extent that it is only applicable to the documented immigrants and not the illegal immigrants.
American should not end birthright citizenship because it will cause more harm to families through placing an unfair burden to them and splitting of their families hence disabling their American Dream. Ending birthright citizenship will be going against the family rights of the immigrant families if the proposed immigration policy passes and it will put the unity of families living in the United States illegally at a risk. This move will make immigrants not to have the privilege of participating in the political, social, and legal activities of the society of a place they call home. Therefore, America should not end birthright citizenship because it will result in more children born in the United States becoming undocumented instead of them attaining citizenship hindering them from becoming a social and economic asset in the society.
Auvil, Shannon. “”In Defense Of Birthright Citizenship””.DEPAUL JOURNAL FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, vol 10, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-10., Accessed 29 Nov 2018.
Kamp, Allen R. “”The Birthright Citizenship Controversy: A Study of Conservative Substance and Rhetoric””.TEXAS HISPANIC JOURNAL OF LAW AND POLICY, vol 18, no. 1, 2012.Elsevier BV, doi:10.2139/ssrn.1964351.