What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 15, 2010

The Trib Editorial Board Re-Writes History

Or at least ignores it, in an editorial today.

Take a look at how they start:
Eliminating "birthright citizenship" -- gained by 8 percent of babies born in the United States in 2008, according to a new study -- should be a matter of simply enforcing the 14th Amendment's plain language in toto.
We know where this is leading, don't we?

After tossing around some numbers from the Pew Hispanic Center they get to their solution to "birthright citizenship":
That makes clear the extent of the problem. Yet addressing it doesn't require a constitutional amendment -- because the second clause of the 14th Amendment (emphasis added below) straightforwardly denies birthright citizenship to illegals' newborns:

"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."

Thus, illegals' newborns -- inherently subject to the jurisdiction of their illegal parents' homelands -- clearly have no birthright to U.S. citizenship. [emphasis added]
Too bad the law doesn't "straightforwardly" deny citizenship to illegals' newborns. Doesn't deny it at all. And according to the Supreme Court, it hasn't denied it for more than a century.

It all hinges on the phrase "...and subject to the jurisdiction thereof...". From a decision from the Supreme Court on this very phrase:
The real object of the fourteenth amendment of the constitution, in qualifying the words 'all persons born in the United States' by the addition 'and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,' would appear to have been to exclude, by the fewest and fittest words (besides children of members of the Indian tribes, standing in a peculiar relation to the national government, unknown to the common law), the two classes of cases,- children born of alien enemies in hostile occupation, and children of diplomatic representatives of a foreign state,-both of which, as has already been shown, by the law of England and by our own law, from the time of the first settlement of the English colonies in America, had been recognized exceptions to the fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the country.
So there are only two exceptions:
  • Children borne to armies occupying US Territory or
  • Children of diplomats from a foreign state working here.
That's it. Everyone else born in the territory of the United States is a US citizen.

And how long as this been the case?

You could ask Judge Rufus Peckham - he was in the majority when that opinion was written.

In 1898.

1 comment:

Ol' Froth said...

Argh. "subject to the jurisdiction of" is why people visiting here are protected by the Constitution, even if they aren't citizens. If you are here, then you are subject to the jurisdiction of the US, regardless of your legal or illegal status.