Birthright citizenship, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States, regardless of whether the individual’s parents are citizens, is a frequent topic of debate.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) introduced bills to end birthright citizenship this year, according to The Huffington Post
While eliminating birthright citizenship, which is provided under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, could help with illegal immigration, there are several cons to such a proposal as well.
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1. It could decrease illegal immigration.
Some argue people come to the United States to have kids, allowing them to stay in the country. Disposing birthright citizenship would decrease the incentive to come and bring spouses and other family members with them, according to the Center for Immigration Studies
2. It could save on healthcare and social services.
Instead of governmental funds going toward mothers, especially those here illegally, who give birth to gain citizenship for their children, the money could be saved as fewer immigrants would want to come to the country for this reason. Babies gaining citizenship also qualify for social programs, even if they live outside the borders, according to the Asia-Pacific Economics blog
3. The 14th Amendment does not cover illegal immigrants.
Some argue that the Amendment’s promise of citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" does not include those who enter the country without documentation, according to The New York Times Upfront
4. It preserves the country’s culture.
By limiting citizenship to those who have a history in the United States and increasing the amount of people who need to take a test in order to become nationalized, the history, values, and culture would be better preserved, according to Upfront.
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1. It hurts diversity.
Ending birthright citizenship would discourage immigration, which brings diversity to countries. Having individuals from different backgrounds encourages unique perspectives and deepens debates and discussions, according to the Asia-Pacific Economics blog.
2. It may need an amendment to the Constitution.
The 14th Amendment provides citizenship at birth, meaning an amendment would be needed in enact birthright citizenship legislation. Typically, the process of adding to the Constitution is slow, taking years to complete, and it is expensive. The most recent addition to the Constitution was the 27th Amendment on May 7, 1992, which makes raises for Congress go into effect after the next election. This was originally an issue debated during the proposal of the Bill of Rights, according to The United State House of Representatives History
3. It may cause confusion.
In cases where only one parent is a citizen, the father is unknown, or adopted children arise, the result could lead to confusion, court cases, and the opening of Pandora’s Box, according to American Immigration Lawyers Association
. Additionally, the legislation would have to decide if those born here without American parents prior to the enactment of the law still would be considered citizens.
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