by blackmanredstate, Sun Apr 09, 2006 at 08:21:53 PM EDT
As many as 500,000 people turned out in Dallas, Texas today. They wore white to symbolize peace and were smart enough to leave their Mexican flags at home this time and wave the stars and stripes.
They are demanding citizenship and unrestricted access to the United States in spite of the law. A familiar refrain is heard "I am a citizen, I was born here, but they are trying to make my parents into criminals." The problem with that of course is that according to current law, without HR4437 which by the way has not passed and is no where close to becoming law, they are criminals. Admittedly they are misdemeanor criminals not felons as the house bill would make them.
What goes unchallenged though is the claim to American citizenship. These protestors assume that they are automatically entitled to American citizenship because they were born on American soil.
If we look more closely though that claim may not be as solid as it may seem. For a look at an example of true birthright citizenship we don't have to go far. Look at article 30 from the Mexican constitution.
A. Mexicans by birth are:
I. Those born in the territory of the Republic, regardless of the nationality of their parents:
That could not be more unequivocal. However, look at the relevant section of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution:
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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
So the devil is in the details. What exactly does "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" mean? To date that question has not been answered definitively. Let's look to the political climate of the times for answers.
In January 1863 President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation which freed all slaves. This of course had little practical effect. In fact in Dallas, Texas where thousands are marching for citizenship for illegal aliens, black slaves did not find out about this proclamation until June 19th. For many years in the black community "Juneteenth" was celebrated as a holiday.
It was into this breech that Lyman Trumbull, senator from Illinois and committed abolitionist stepped. Knowing that the proclamation while dramatic had no practical effect, he crafted the 13th amendment to the constitution of the United States which unequivocally freed all slaves.
However, as with the proclamation, slave owners and southern states' righters were no more willing to grant rights and freedom to former slaves. Spending their political capital gained from winning the war the United States of America proffered the 14th amendment. The critical issues were ensuring that former slaves were not three-fifths of a person as originally decreed in the United States Constitution but full citizens if born in the United States. Even more importantly it forbade any state or other entity from tampering with those rights.
During debates before the senate Senator Trumbull answered the question as to what "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" meant"
`What do we mean by 'complete jurisdiction thereof?' Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.
Senator Jacob Howard concurred:
[I] concur entirely with the honorable Senator from Illinois [Trumbull], in holding that the word "jurisdiction," as here employed, ought to be construed so as to imply a full and complete jurisdiction on the part of the United States
Senator Howard also said:
[T]his amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.
That is senate speak at its finest. John Bingham, the original author of the 14th amendment harrumphed and eventually got around to saying this:
[I] find no fault with the introductory clause [S 61 Bill], which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen...
We should teach John Kerry to speak so clearly. It is clear that our congress, emboldened by victory in the civil war were determined through legislation and constitutional amendment to grant full citizenship and civil rights to freed slaves. Illegal immigration and anchor babies were not at issue. These three patriots would be appalled at the claims of citizenship of these marchers.
However, as with the proclamation, slave owners and southern states' righters were no more willing to grant rights and freedom to former slaves. Spending their political capital gained from winning the war the United States of America proffered the 14th amendment. The critical issues were ensuring that former slaves were not three-fifths of a person as originally decreed in the United States Constitution but full citizens of the United States of America. Even more importantly it forbade any state or other entity from tampering with those rights.
The Mexican constitution weighs in on the issue of jurisdiction again in article 30 , this time section 2:
II. Those born in foreign territory, sons or daughters of Mexican parents born in national territory, a Mexican father born in national territory, or a Mexican mother born in national territory
So then, illegal immigrants, those from Mexico, that is, are actually under the jurisdiction of and are citizens of Mexico. And, as such, their offspring can not be United States citizens.
I understand that law changes and evolves. For example, We have evolved from Dread Scott, and Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown v. Board of Education. But the intent of the framers of the 13th and 14th amendment are clear. Birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens is not permitted.