Everything about the language and history of the 14th Amendment reveals that it was never intended to grant birthright citizenship to illegal aliens.
Trump set off a furor when he said he would use an executive order to end birthright citizenship. With that, the Left suddenly rediscovered the Constitution, because they said Section 1 of the 14th Amendment mandates birthright citizenship.
Here’s what Section 1 of the 14th Amendment says:
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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Congress drafted the 14th Amendment in 1868 in response to laws in Southern states that discriminated against blacks and ensured their disenfranchisement. For that reason, its language explicitly rebuts the language and theories found in the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, because that decision gave legal merit to those anti-black statutes.
For those pulling a blank when they hear the phrase “Dred Scott decision,” it was in that case that Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney explained at great length that, because slaves were not considered fully human anywhere in the world both when the Founders signed the Declaration of Independence or when they ratified the Constitution, the Founders could not have intended imported slaves or their descendants to be “men,” “citizens,” or “people of the United States,” as any of those words or phrases were contemplated in either document.
After the war, a Republican Congress tried addressing the Dred Scott decision through legislation in the form of an 1866 Civil Rights Act (which was really a partial civil rights act), but the Dred Scott decision always hung like a grim specter over effectuating the act’s intended purpose; namely, ensuring that blacks received equal treatment under the law and the full benefit of civil rights and due processes set out in the Constitution.
So it was that, by 1868, rather than trying to explain that the Taney Court’s constitutional analysis was in error, Congress simply created an amendment to the Constitution that wiped out completely the Taney court’s analysis. Henceforth, under the Constitution “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.”
In the context of giving citizenship and civil rights protection to formerly enslaved people, whether they were enslaved in states or territories, the above-quoted language is perfectly clear and its intent and effect cannot be challenged. Congress was thinking about former slaves, not immigration, whether legal or illegal, when it
ratified drafted the 14th Amendment. Indeed, it could not have been thinking about immigration, because, before 1882, the wide open, primarily agrarian, income-tax free, and welfare free United States had no immigration laws. [Read more…]