The question of 'Birthright Citizenship'

In a recent interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham, the co-author of a proposed Immigration Reform package, surprised many with his statements on "anchor babies."

Graham said:  "Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake...We should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child's automatically not a citizen."

Although Graham talked about "changing" the Constitution to outlaw the practice, many experts say the Constitution as written, does not authorize birthright citizenship in the first place.

American Thinker reported on this issue a couple of months ago in the article:  "A Hole in the Fence of Immigration Reform."  The article quoted Mark Cromer's essay, "American Jackpot:  The Remaking of America by Birthright Citizenship:"

According to [Constitutional expert Dr. John] Eastman, the real shift in popular perception began to take root in the late 1960s, when the idea that mere birth on American soil alone ensured citizen status.  "I have challenged every person who has taken the opposite position to tell me what it was that led to this new notion," he said. "There's not an executive order. There's not a court decision. We just gradually started assuming that birth was enough."

Eastman attributes some of it to our nation's loss of an intrinsic understanding of the language that the framers of the 14th Amendment spoke and used in that era, ergo a century later the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction" has been watered down in the collective American consciousness to require little more than an adherence to traffic safety laws.

The AT article further noted:

Another important consideration in any sort of "guest" or "temporary" worker program is the children born to these workers while in America. If these children receive automatic citizenship, the unintended consequence of such a program could be the addition of millions more permanent citizens and, by extension, their families.

George Will, in his March 2010 essay on the subject, opined: "A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil."

Graham, in the midst of the Arizona controversy, has just turned up the temperature. 

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