Tags: Immigration | birthright | citizenship | times | editorial

LA Times: Don't End Birthright Citizenship

By    |   Sunday, 26 Oct 2014 11:55 AM

Republican lawmakers hope to outlaw a long-standing rule that allows any child born in the United States to automatically become a citizen, even if the baby is born to parents who are in the country temporarily or illegally.

About four million children of immigrants living in the United States are considered citizens, reports The Los Angeles Times in an editorial, saying many Americans oppose such "birthright citizenship" because they believe women are entering the country illegally to have their children.

"People come here to have babies," South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in 2010. "They come here to drop a child. It's called 'drop and leave.'"

The Birthright Citizenship act of 2013 is pending in Congress. Introduced by Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, the proposed law requires that children born on U.S. soil only become a citizen if one of his parents is a citizen, a legal permanent resident, or an immigrant serving in the country's military.

But The Times' editorial board doesn't agree with the plan, saying that the reality of conferring citizenship "is an important affirmation that being an American doesn't depend on bloodlines."

The birthright citizenship debate began with the 14th amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, says the paper.

Yale Law School professor emeritus Peter Schuck told the paper that court rulings on the issue go along with the intentions of the Congress who wrote the amendment, allowing citizenship to be conferred to "resident aliens."

However, Schuck does not believe that the principle extends to illegal immigrants, as when it was passed, immigration was not restricted. Further, he believes Congress can abolish birthright citizenship.

The Times points out that birthright citizens can't sponsor a parent for legal admission until the child turns 21 years old. However, unauthorized immigrants with U.S. born children are eligible for some benefits and may even qualify for relief from deportation.

"It is not clear that women decide to enter the U.S. illegally because of these potential advantages (or are even aware of them)," The Times said. "It seems unlikely that this is a decisive factor in many cases."

Schuck said he would modify birthright citizenship, not abolish it, by allowing such children to obtain citizenship later if they develop a "genuine connection" to American society, including attending U.S. schools, an idea that both sides of the issue oppose.

The Times said the 14th Amendment "should not be tinkered with today in an effort to keep out unwanted immigrants," and said it favors birthright citizenship as a clear standard to eliminate questions about whether people have the right ethnicity to be an American.

"There are too many examples in history of people being victimized because of who their parents were," the op-ed concludes. "There is no good reason to add to them."

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Republican lawmakers hope to outlaw a long-standing rule that allows any child born in the United States to automatically become a citizen, even if the baby is born to parents who are in the country temporarily or illegally. About four million children of immigrants living...
birthright, citizenship, times, editorial
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2014-55-26
Sunday, 26 Oct 2014 11:55 AM
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