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Is Mike Huckabee against Birthright Citizenship?

The Washington Times reported the following-

Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens, according to his top immigration surrogate -- a radical step no other major presidential candidate has embraced.

Mr. Huckabee, who won last week's Republican Iowa caucuses, promised Minuteman Project founder James Gilchrist that he would force a test case to the Supreme Court to challenge birthright citizenship, and would push Congress to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to remove any doubt.

Then the Huckabee campaign issued the following statement.

I do not support an amendment to the constitution that would prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens. I have no intention of supporting a constitutional amendment to deny birthright citizenship.
Before stating my own position, I'm going to quote two of my favorite bloggers on this news. If anyone hasn't noticed, they are James Joyner at Outside the Beltway and Dr. Steven Taylor at Poliblog. I link to Steven and James more than anyone else around, probably because I find myself in agreement with them so often, or if not, find what they have to say very interesting. James and Steven are close friends, having taught together at the same University. l also have to note, they each let me write at their sports blogs, but that doesn't have anything to do with my opinion of them.

James writes-

In principle, though, I'm not opposed to this from a public policy standpoint. There's no good reason to grant automatic citizenship to children born to illegal aliens. "Birthright citizenship" was instituted to grant full legal rights to the freed slaves, not reward law breaking. As a practical matter, though, such an amendment would have no chance of achieving the two-thirds support in both Houses of Congress and majorities in three-quarters of the state legislatures required.
Steven takes a different view on Birthright Citizenship-
Beyond that, while there are clearly problems created when persons in the county illegally have children on US soil, it is also the fact that birthright citizenship is the fastest way to assimilate persons into the US. If we start creating more complex pathways to citizenship we will find ourselves with some of the problems that Europe currently has with disaffected, unassimilated populations who are neither citizens nor really foreigners either. This is not a desirable direction in which to head.
Who do I agree with? I'll put my hard hat on first......

It is Steven. I agree with him when he says it is both the fastest way to assimilation in addition that eliminating birthright citizenship is almost certain to create problems in this country that been seen in Europe of late.

Also I'll raise the point of how is this supposed to be administered. How many of us carry proof of citizenship? A social security card doesn't even proof citizenship. My wife had a card for 4 years before attaining citizenship. It does mean a person has the right to work here. Which isn't the same thing as citizenship. What happens for those who can't prove citizenship? I remember something about innocent till proven guilty. Then I forget that too. As Michael Corleone said, we're all part of the same hypocrisy.

That's my opinion on what is a complex issue. Feel free to throw rocks, I am after all The Florida Masochist.

Steven and James both agree(and so do I), a ammendment to change birthright citizenship will never get passed. So all the arguing is going to get us no where.

Update- Let me note there are plenty of recent news articles where illegal alien mothers were deported when they had US citizen children. How about Elvira Arellano for example? How about mothers caught up in the strange and absurd quirks of the immigration system. Like Dahianna Heard, the widow of a deceased contractor killed in Iraq, who faces deportation under 'The Widow Penalty'. So much for anchor babies.


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Comments (9)

I have to agree with you an... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I have to agree with you and Steven. While not perfect, the advantages of birthright citizenship outweigh the disadvantages.

A constitutional amendment would never happen, adding it to a long list of amendments that, while popular among panderers, have no chance of passing (marriage, flag burning, English as the official language, etc.).

Spot on on this one Bill.</... (Below threshold)
Clavius:

Spot on on this one Bill.

We need to fix the problem -- Border enforcement and immigration enforcement -- rather than take swipes at side effects.

If we didn't have an border and immigration law enforcement problem, bithright citizenship wouldn't be an issue.

You somewhat conflated the ... (Below threshold)

You somewhat conflated the issue when at first you spoke of "illegal aliens" having children here, then went on to speak in terms of someone simply not being a citizen and having children here.

Why not allow citizenship for the child if the parents are here legally, whether citizens or not?

But Clavius is right. It wouldn't be an issue at all if we sensibly enforced immigration laws and the border.

I agree, an Amendment has n... (Below threshold)

I agree, an Amendment has no chance at all of passing the Congress, so it is an exercise in futility to cry for one. However, the relevant clause in the 14th Amendment may be subject to interpretation:

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.

If a person is in the country illegally, are they really "subject to the jurisdiction thereof"? This is a key phrase: children born to foreign diplomats, for example, are not granted citizenship because their parents are "not under [our] jursidiction."

It seems to me that illegal entrants have gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid being subject to our jurisdiction. A test case ought at least be brought.

Birthright citizenship whic... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Birthright citizenship which includes illegals encourages illegal immigration.

Barrier enforcement will never be a complete solution. Enforcement and laws that sour the benefits of coming here is the better solution. Why through them out when they'll leave under their own power.

It's not uncommon for child... (Below threshold)

It's not uncommon for children to have dual citizenship. And having that citizenship isn't any reason not to send their parents home again, be it because they are illegal or if they are teaching at a Univeristy here on a visa that has run out.

The specter of separating illegal immigrant parents from legal citizen children doesn't seem so horrible a problem for the parents who are here legally but temporarily and have children before they go home.

That children with dual citizenship have an easy time getting back if they declare this citizenship to be the one they wish to claim doesn't seem like a terrible problem to me.

if it could get him 5% of t... (Below threshold)

if it could get him 5% of the vote he would be ....hope 2 die

Read the Congressional Glob... (Below threshold)
Arden:

Read the Congressional Globe, 39th Congress. The debate on the floor leaves zero doubt as to what they meant by "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." It meant complete and total jurisdiction, in other words, if your parent wasn't a citizen then you were not born a citizen. SCOTUS respected that for 30 years then suddenly an "activist judge" decided he wanted it to have a new meaning. But even then, that case (Wong Kim Ark) only ruled that the US-born child of legally and permanently domiciled parents was a citizen at birth. SCOTUS has never ruled on the illegal issue. The whole blooming country has just gone along as if the 2nd clause wasn't even there, like we're some 4th world country that doesn't even know its own laws. No constitutional amendment is necessary, just correct interpretation of the amendment already there.

I ask any readers, first Go... (Below threshold)
Carlos:

I ask any readers, first Google these words "the original intent of the 14th amendment"
I too, used to believe the dogma of birthright citizenship. It just doesn't exist.




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