Featured News 2019 What is Birthright Citizenship?

What is Birthright Citizenship?

A person who was born in the United States is granted the right to natural citizenship. The Citizenship Clause outlines birthright citizenship in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This clause states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the nation and of the state where they reside.” However, some politicians attempt to question the birthright clause because they do not want undocumented citizens to have children who legal residents of the United States are.

Arguments for and Against Birthright Citizenship

Opponents of birthright citizenship unfairly say that children born to undocumented parents should have allegiance to the home country of their family instead of the United States. These opponents argue that naturalization does not need to happen for these children. Those who support birthright citizenship say that all laws in the United States apply to a person, even if they are not a citizen. Immigration advocates argue that those who do not support birthright citizenship want to pick-and-choose what laws apply to undocumented residents.

Those who oppose birthright citizenship often argue that the Fourteenth Amendment was created to ensure that African American slaves who were freed from their masters would be considered legal residents. They assert that the law was never meant as a way for illegal immigrants to naturalize their unborn children because the Fourteenth Amendment was primarily a reversal of the Dredd Scott decision which ruled that the children of slaves could never hold the rights of an American citizen.

While the government created the Fourteenth Amendment to address the issue of citizenship for former slaves, documents show that Congress did discuss the application of this amendment to birthright citizenship. Some members of Congress wanted to exclude the children of Chinese immigrants, but the Fourteenth Amendments passed without provisions. Because of this debate, our nation’s lawmakers were aware of what this new law would do for birthright citizenship, and supporters of the policy use this fact to defend their position.

Dual Citizenship

Allegiance does not dictate citizenship. In America, birthright citizenship can stand even if you swear your allegiance to another nation or naturalize as a citizen of another country. This is known as dual citizenship, and it is permitted for specific circumstances. Those who were born in the in the United States should not have their citizenship questioned—the nation’s law does not require a person to choose one nationality over another, it only guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the country.

If you have questions about birthright citizenship and how it affects you or those in your family, then talk to an immigration attorney today! Use our directory to locate a recommended attorney in your area.

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