should birthright citizenship be abolished
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Should Birth Right Citizenship be abolished?
Birthright citizenship by designation refers to the citizenship acquired by an individual based on their country of origin; where they were born. The United States is among the countries popularly known for its immigration status; it is home to a significant number of aliens; documented and undocumented. This, therefore, makes it a suitable paradigm of our discussion. The American constitution dictates that an individual is deemed a citizen by birth Noah, (199). “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction are citizens of the United States and the state where they reside.” These can be well corroborated in the following case scenarios; Jus soli and Jus sangunis Ciro, Paolo Masella, and Irma Clots-Figueras, (1). Jus Soli is the kind of citizenship attained when an individual is naturally born in a particular territory; blood-related, whereas, Jus sangunis declares a person a citizen as a result of his or her ancestral ties.
This argument has raised infinite debates, where some renowned politicians and activists oppose the notion of birthright citizenship. Donald Trump and Scott Walker think that this is absurd. Trump recently proposed an immigration scheme to oppose the automatic validation of children born on the United States’ soil. The legal language depicted in the fourteenth amendment, of the American constitution regarding the matter has brought about uncertainty and misapprehension among the vast majority (Ayelet, 31). The basis behind this misreading is the clause ‘jurisdiction thereof’ found within the constitutional statement act. Jurisdiction refers to the locality or environment where a government can exercise and carry out its authority. It is argued that; in accordance to the fourteenth amendment, that, the classification of jurisdiction is relevant to an individual not bound by any other state apart from that of the United States. In 1884, the American supreme courts meditated that foreigners’ children were not legally considered as progenies of the state since they were not bound within America’s jurisdiction. The Congress through this definition, concludes that the children of foreign diplomats and soldiers are not American citizens by birth (Nelson, 180).
Denying citizenship to children born within a country’s soil simply because their parents are not of American origin is rather cruel and unfair; they should not be subjected to that kind of chastisement since they have no control over the situation, they did not choose their parents nor the specific locale, where they were conceived (Katz, 66). It should be documented if necessary, a permissible grace period to contest their rights as citizens when they attain the required legal age and not to flatly get disregarded at birth. Indifference to the idea of citizenship by naturalization is however, not an insubstantial topic that can be effortlessly passed. It involves the consideration of several laws since citizenship is a matter encompassed within the federal law.
The majority of the rest of the world, however, acknowledge the acquisition of citizenship through naturalisation. The offspring of a country’s citizens is automatically regarded as rightful citizens. Skrentry argues that they are bonded and united together by blood as a result of their lineage. It is also a widespread notion that individuals sharing similar view points within a given location are held together as a society; as in the case of the United States of America and Canada which house a significant immigrant population.
Not all countries, however, embrace this idea. Statistics reveals that in the year 2012, several states; France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, among others, do not consent to the automatic approval of citizenship, of non- documented immigrant’s children Avitabile,(8). The map below shows countries in the world having direct birth right citizenship, those that don’t have, and lastly remaining others that couldn’t confirm.
Failing to acknowledge children born on American soil simply because they are legally borne of immigrants can be perceived as a form of discrimination. This issue may gravely affect a state, not to mention setting it centuries back, since it has been difficult journey overtime, trying to rise above the skeletons of discrimination Noah, (50). Some claim that these offsprings are inferior intellectually; an undisclosed government commission claimed that they are slow in school, Clots-Figueras, (4). They regard them as being prone to crime and disease. These are grounds for racists to air out their tension in hiding, which may not be politically and socially safe to society. This might bring about social and economic instability especially as a result of protests and wars brought about through strive among the different nationalities.
This disclaimer by some of these countries is not necessarily sufficient. John Boehner claims that tolerating the idea, that the children of immigrants should become legal citizens in the state of America, encourages the overwhelming increase in the populace of the country (Katz, 4). As this may be partially true, the outcome may do more good than harm. Most immigrants relocate to other countries on economic grounds, Peter Wehner. They shift with the endeavour of attaining ‘greener pastures’ this provides the potential economic growth of the country in question since they get the opportunity to tap the expertise of skilled and trained immigrants.
The increased population’s viewpoint can also be seen in another perspective. Every aspect has both a negative and positive side, the positive aspect brings about the economic growth and political stability of the country in question. It is partially true that the common populace of the region will be adversely affected. Families born of illegal immigrants are forced to depend and rely on the country’s welfare since it is legally impossible for any undocumented immigrant to hold any job position (Noah, 85). This situation in the long run brings about strive to the American economy where the government and the tax payers are burdened with the responsibility of looking after this lot. The situation may also be abused by a threat group that may seek to establish its roots deeper before launching a premeditated attack on a particular country. In most cases, it is highly unlikely that this incidence will be controlled, hence the frantic disclaimer among the various groups over the birthright citizenship notion. This debate, nevertheless, needs to be properly tackled since it is considered an emotional and personal issue, especially were human life is concerned.
Revoking the citizenship birthright notion, needless to say would also need several constitutional adjustments. For the American constitution, for one, it would require that a majority of the parliamentary House votes in favour of the notion; at least two-thirds of the house and the same for the Senate. A ratification of the majority of the state’s laws should also be done to counter this notion; this is a rather tedious and time-consuming motion that will draw out the attention of better-placed responsibilities and needs.
This process will also result to the reopening of recently closed wounds amidst the nation’s population, Tamar Jacoby. Take for instance the slavery and racial recognition. This debate is the kind that drives a wedge in the heart of the country’s social populace. Trying to amend the birthright clause may prove to be a challenge since it will involve the revocation of those immigrants who currently reside in the state (Clots-Figueras, 61). This will be task full, and may be followed by a series of endless court battles since some of the immigrants legally acquired their nationality.
America being home to a number of immigrants may make it susceptible to a possible collapse if at all they disregard the citizenship of immigrants. This vast population provide economic security as well as political stability. Statistics dictates that Hispanics are a rapidly increasing demographic group; therefore, altering the citizenship laws will result to the country’s political collapse, Peter Wehner (Heller, Steven, and Sicard, 105).
The United States of America should not disregard that it was built by the vast majority of this population, each giving their form of active representation and positive credit. It should instead champion and encourage its citizens, irrespective of origin, and as a result, it will continue to rise as a superpower as it incessantly has over the recent time and era (Noah, 89). Seeking to tackle this overly recurring topic will not only drain its economy and active work schedule but will also create a drift in its affiliation with its neighbouring countries and states; the international community, most of which provide great investment opportunities and incentives.
Katz, Michael B. The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State. New York: Metropolitan, 2001. Print.
Heller, Steven D., and Cheri Sicard. U.S. Citizenship for Dummies. New York: Wiley, 2003. Print..Avitabile, Ciro, Paolo Masella, and Irma Clots-Figueras. The Effect of Birthright Citizenship on Parental Integration Outcomes. , 2010. Print.
Nelson, Rosemary. The Development of Birthright Citizenship in the United States. , 1998. Print.
Pickus, Noah M. J. Immigration and Citizenship in the Twenty-First Century. Lanham [u.a.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998. Print.
Shachar, Ayelet. The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009. Internet resource.