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Birthright citizenship, a principle of America stemming from the fourteenth amendment shall extend to children born in America whose parents are legal immigrants. This right shall not extend to the children of illegal immigrants. Many people believe that no one should be given this right, and some believe that everyone is entitled to birthright citizenship. While people can have their opinions there is a middle ground to be argued for between the two extremes.
America was founded on principles of immigration. Through the almost 250 years since America was founded, immigrants have brought great ideas, prosperity, and spirit to the country people know today. Research has shown that over half of the technology/engineering startups in Silicon Valley have key founders who are immigrants. This “”tech center”” is at the head but places like New York, Chicago, and many other “”tech centers”” across America also boast a high number of immigrant founders (Wadhwa et al 5). This is not the only industry or location (in the U.S) that immigrants have started successful enterprises either. This desire and ability to create in America is what drives the economy and power of the country. Without immigrants,cu America would lose much of this desire and ability to take action. Immigrants include the founding fathers who escaped England’s tyrannical rule, Europeans fleeing impoverished countries, Syrians retreating from war-zones, South Americans absconding crime, and many more seeking a better life for themselves and their posterity. Americans cannot simply fail to recognize their roots. It can be reasonably said that almost all Americans descend from immigrants coming to America at some point in their ancestry. The only people that can claim full American blood are those that are descendants of Native Americans. If the logic behind not allowing any birthright citizenship is accepted, nobody other than Native Americans should be given citizenship.
How it works
Currently, Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “”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.”” This constitutional amendment has been upheld by the Supreme Court on a variety of occasions such as; U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark in 1898. This is the case that set the precedent for the 14th amendment (Lee 7). Despite its ruling in having been in 1898, it has been upheld for over 100 years and stood the test of time. This shows that at least the general principle of the amendment is respectable and should remain as a principle of American culture. With this in mind, it is important to remember that the Constitution is a “”live”” document. This means that the constitution changes as the times change. New situations must be taken into consideration when determining if Constitutional principles should be upheld or amended. This has happened throughout America’s history to better fit the needs of the country. The possibility of amending the 14th amendment would be a virtuous compromise between the two sides of the issue and allow for clarification on what the rule is. If the amendment was worded so that this rule only applied to legal immigrants, it would make much more sense and appeal to America’s current immigration status. Whereas when the document was created there were no immigration laws, and America was still young and empty in search of immigrants to build the country, clarification would be a key part in ending debate on this topic and allow everyone to find middle-ground.
For legal immigrants, it is their constitutional right to have their children be granted birthright citizenship (as stated by the 14th Amendment). They are under U.S jurisdiction and follow the same laws as everyone else. They also put in the work to come here legally and deserve the reward of their children being citizens. For the illegal immigrants, it is a different story. They are not here legally and not technically under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Based on an interpretation of the 14th amendment this excludes their children being granted birthright citizenship. Because they are not citizens in the first place they are not allowed the same rights and freedoms as everyone else that are guaranteed by the Constitution in America. This is not to say they should be treated inhumanely, but they have citizenship-based rights elsewhere. The same logic can be applied to the question, should America give children of tourists the same birthrights if they are born on U.S. soil?
Birthright citizenship extended to illegal immigrants only incentivizes the crime of illegal immigration and makes it harder for others who want to immigrate legally. If birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants is allowed, it sets a bad precedent by allowing illegal immigrants in and giving them the same benefits as those who struggle to do it legally. This shows other people looking to immigrate that it is easier to do it illegally and for the same benefit in the end. This is very discouraging for those who have gone through the proper channels come to America legally. It further discourages people thinking about immigrating to do it legally in the first place. The crime cannot be incentivized. This would be like a thief being allowed to keep their spoils, whereas someone who bought the item can keep it but had to pay. Thinking about this simple analogy obviously shows that this is an unfair system to those who do immigrate legally and other Americans. America should be encouraging hard working individuals to bring themselves and their families over to create a new life and opportunity but to do so legally.
Citizens, except those under special circumstances of dual citizenship, should only be allowed citizenship to one country. Many times, immigrants who come here illegally, along with their children, are able to have citizenship to both their home country and America. This should not be allowed. By not allowing dual citizenship, those who choose to be US citizens are likely to have a greater allegiance. This will increase the pride shown in America. By having allegiance to only one country there won’t be any conflict of interest were something to happen between the two countries.
Proponents of birthright citizenship may argue that it is America’s job to freely grant citizenship. However, the government must be able to regulate and keep track of new immigrants just like other citizens. While “”it is America’s job to freely grant citizenship”” can be argued, the only focus is on America. The arguments for birthright citizenship for all immigrants discount all other countries and systems. If it is America’s “”job”” at all, we cannot be the one country that “”must”” grant citizenship to everyone. All countries must share in accepting immigrants. Consider the birthright citizenship systems of other nations. Germany’s system says that “”children born on German soil can claim citizenship if one of their parents has lived in the country legally for eight years.”” Another example is the system of Israel who will not grant citizenship to the offspring of foreign workers (Chavez 593). These countries are never at fault for their harsh and strict systems but Americans come under fire for wanting to protect their way of life and values. If other countries would accept more responsibility, then everyone could have more lenient immigration restrictions because one country would not be accepting all of the world’s immigrants, rather it would be a combined effort. This balanced approach would be beneficial for both countries and immigrants.
While proponents of birthright citizenship argue that it is America’s job, others argue that accepting these immigrants will create a deficit in jobs for the American people. This would be true if the American people wanted to fill their own jobs. Plenty of well-paying jobs go unclaimed in America. In fact, allowing these jobs to be filled by hard-working immigrants could improve America’s economy and overall life. Especially with Honda manufacturing so close to home, this is an important topic to the Bellefontaine region. It is known that Honda and its suppliers struggle to fill their positions. This can be attributed to failing drug-tests, not showing up to work on time, and the lack of desire to work. All of these things are done by America’s own citizens! It is wrong to accuse immigrants of stealing jobs when they cannot be filled in the first place. Continuing with the example of Honda and its affiliates, many South Americans have been brought to the Bellefontaine region to fill these positions and give them a chance at a better life than what they left with. This is an important example to show that immigrants contribute a huge positive for America’s economy, and America’s economy can have a positive effect on them. While it is important to keep a balance so there is not an influx that the job market can’t handle, these new immigrants could play a huge role in industry and economy if they were allowed.
Birthright citizenship is very positive when common sense and structure are exercised. All over America, people fail to see the power of hard-working immigrants. Some Americans also fail to see the hazards of having open borders. A combination of these views can be made to allow America to become its most efficient, safe, and accepting.
Chavez, Linda. “”The Case for Birthright Citizenship.”” Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide, by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell, 13th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, p. 593.
Lee, Margaret. Birthright Citizenship Under the 14th Amendment of Persons Born in the United States to Alien Parents. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, 2010. Google Scholar. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xU8YTRkSpYQ C&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=14th+amendment+upheld&ots=VDay2CBu6_&sig=o-TId2lEcVJk3S8RYpc6HdBmfw0#v=onepage&q=14th%20amendment%20upheld&f=false
U.S. Constitution. Amend. XIV, Sec. 1.
Wadhwa, Vivek, et al. “”Skilled Immigration and Economic Growth.”” Applied Research in Economic Development, vol. 5, no. 1, May 2008, p. 5. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1141190
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