Every nation in the world has their own choices and ways in determining who will become citizens of their country. A few nations have the method of birthright citizenship, like the United States, where someone’s citizenship relies heavily on if their place of birth was located inside the nation, regardless of their parent’s citizenship. But, most other nations assign citizenship to a person according to the citizenship of their parents. The foundation for birthright citizenship in the United States comes from England’s legal decision in Calvin’s Case in 1608.
In 1603, James VI of Scotland, became James I of England, and both nations were under one crown. Calvin’s Case focused on the situation whether a person born in Scotland, but was born under the English crown, would be considered “”subjects”” of England or Scotland. A “”subject”” was considered a person who was “”under”” someone, or who was “”owned”” by someone else. Sir Edward Coke, one of the most famous judges in this case, stood by the idea that allegiance was due to the King by “”the law of nature”” (Kennedy). The case determined that even though Calvin was born in Scotland, he owed his allegiance to to the English crown since he was born under James I, and he was to follow the English law. This case was then adopted to the United States courts, and played a major role in determining birthright citizenship in the U.S., and the law, jus soli, which meant that your sense of belonging is decided from where you are born.
Today, President Donald Trump wants to end the constitutional law of birthright citizenship in an attempt to “”clamp down”” on immigrants and immigration, according to the newspaper article published by The New York Times. This New York Times article reflects and shows both change and continuity in American history. The 14th Amendment still stands and is enforced today, but a few citizens, including the President, are starting to disagree with the law and want changes due to conflicts regarding illegal immigrants coming into the U.S.
The article discusses how the president can not end birthright citizenship, which is the 14th amendment of the Constitution, by executive order. The amendment states, “”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.”” The reason Trump brought up the 14th Amendment is due to his strong stance against illegal immigrants at the border. “”Some conservatives have long made the argument that the 14th Amendment was meant to apply only to citizens and legal permanent residents, not immigrants who are present in the country without authorization”” (Hirschfeld Davis). Trump does not want illegal immigrants coming into the country and taking advantage of this law, or any public benefits.
The New York Times Article also goes on to discuss how Trump’s statement caused an outrage among many citizens in the country. “”Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, called the idea illegal and offensive””(Hirschfeld Davis). “”Aside from being unconstitutional, such an executive order would exacerbate racial tensions, exploit fears and drive further polarization across the country at a moment that calls for the promotion of unity and inclusion,”” said Ms. Clarke. Bob Hugin, a Republican candidate for Senate in New Jersey also stated, “”The President is wrong to end #Birthright Citizenship, we’re a nation of immigrants made better by the diversity of its people.””