Why are Dems getting so worked up about birthright citizenship?

The Dems and the media are having another Trump-induced stroke over the issue of "birthright citizenship."  The Dems; the media; and Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, would have you believe that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees U.S. citizenship to anyone born in this country.

The 14th Amendment was passed by a Republican Congress after the Civil War to guarantee citizenship and equal rights to the freed slaves.

The relevant portion of the 14th Amendment reads:

Section 1: 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.

The 14th Amendment does not guarantee citizenship to everyone born in the USA.  The language states that the persons born or naturalized, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.

If you are a naturalized citizen, you take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and renounce allegiance to foreign powers and thus subject yourself to the jurisdiction of the USA:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

The question, then, is, how is a person born in the United States subject to the jurisdiction of the USA?

The few relevant Supreme Court cases state that the status of the parents determines the citizenship of the child.  This means that if the parents are illegal aliens, they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the USA for purposes of the 14th Amendment citizenship test.

Proponents for U.S. citizenship for all born in the USA of illegal aliens cite the Supreme Court case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).  But this case dealt with legal immigrants, not illegal, who had established a legal residence in the USA and thus domiciled in the USA.  The Court stated:

[A]t the time of his said birth, his mother and father were domiciled residents of the United States, and had established and enjoyed a permanent domicil and residence therein at said city and county of San Francisco, State aforesaid.

The key is that the parents were lawfully "domiciled" in the USA.

In Elkins v. Moreno, the Supreme Court dealt with "domicile" for in-state tuition in Maryland.  "Domicile" is complicated, but the key is that one has a permanent legal residence.

President Trump has announced he will deal by executive order with the question of citizenship for children born of illegal aliens.  Senator Lindsey Graham announced he will introduce legislation to amend the 14th Amendment, similar to President Trump's proposed executive order.

The question is the meaning of "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" if the baby's parents are illegal aliens.

President Trump can issue an executive order to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services that the policy of the United States is that children born of illegal aliens are not citizens because the parents as illegal aliens are subject to a foreign power.  Illegal aliens are citizens of a country other than the USA and owe legal allegiance to that country.

The ACLU will immediately file a lawsuit, most likely by forum shopping in the 9th Circuit in California or Hawaii, to challenge the executive order.  The Supreme Court will eventually determine the meaning of "subject to the jurisdiction."

The important fact is that President Trump will force a discussion of this issue, which he may win in court.  A constitutional amendment will take too long, so the best method is an executive order to get the case to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible.

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