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Alan Dershowitz: Birthright Citizenship Is 'Bizarre'

Alan Dershowitz: Birthright Citizenship Is 'Bizarre'
Alan Dershowitz (Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 18 August 2015 08:01 PM

Birthright citizenship is a "bizarre way of defining citizenship," Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax, but he thinks it's unlikely the Constitution will be changed.

During an appearance on Newsmax TV's  "Newsmax Prime," Dershowitz tells host J.D. Hayworth the law "doesn't make a lot of sense."

"It means that somebody from far flung corners of the earth happens to be born while his mother or her mother is making a stopover at JFK Airport and never again returns to America, has no connection to America, is a citizen," Dershowitz says. "It doesn't make a lot of sense logically, but it's in our Constitution and it would be impossible to amend the Constitution to change that, so we're going to stick with that for better or worse."

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Constitutional attorney Betsy McCaughey, who served as the Lt. Governor of New York from 1995-1998, would like to see the United States begin a push to change the rule.

"It's a naïve concept in this day and age with air travel, as Alan points out that anybody who's born here or whether they sneak across the border or they happen to be visiting for the day, and suddenly their child is a citizen of the United States," McCaughey says.

"And let me point out that almost every industrialized, modern, civilized country in the world has abolished birthright citizenship, including Australia, France, England, countries with which we identify in many ways. Only the United States and Canada, of all the civilized developed countries, still have it. We should make a move to change this."

The issue of birthright citizenship is defined in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment as, "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."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has taken issue with the law, saying he would like to see children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S. not be considered citizens.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican and another White House hopeful, wants to see the practice end as well.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, also a member of the GOP field running for president, countered both men and affirmed Tuesday he supports birthright citizenship.

The debate over birthright citizenship reminds Dershowitz of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was born in what is now the Czech Republic.

"Anybody born in the United States, even if they're there for 15 minutes, not only is a citizen but has a right to run for president in the United States," Dershowitz says.

"Whereas a person who came when he or she was six months old and is one of the most loyal possible Americans — Madeleine Albright comes to mind — can't run for president of the United States, there is something quite bizarre about that but history, the accidents of history are often quite bizarre."

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Birthright citizenship is a bizarre way of defining citizenship, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax, but he thinks it's unlikely the Constitution will be changed. During an appearance on Newsmax TV's Newsmax Prime, Dershowitz tells host JD...
Alan Deshowitz, Betsy McCaughey, birthright, citizenship, constitution, 14th amendment
Tuesday, 18 August 2015 08:01 PM
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