Anchor Babies

Essay by JuliaKWillCollege, UndergraduateB-, March 2007

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How does America define a citizen? The fourteenth amendment states "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." Because of this amendment, an illegal alien can cross the border, have a baby, and that "anchor baby" is automatically declared a U.S. citizen. They don't have to go through the trouble like I did; All they have to do is be born on American soil. I don't agree with this birthright citizenship. I think that, from now on, all illegal aliens should be sent back where they came from and the babies should not be considered citizens. Everyone who immigrates should be made to go through the proper procedures like I did.

In 1868, the fourteenth amendment was approved. Its original purpose was to protect the civil rights of native-born black Americans. They had recently been freed from slavery and their rights were being denied.

Senator Jacob Howard, Co-author of the citizenship clause of the fourteenth Amendment, told the intent of the amendment when he wrote, "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 (Wall)." The United States had no immigration policy when the amendment was formed, so the authors saw no need to state explicitly, what they believed was understood. The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was intended to exclude American-born people who do not have complete allegiance to the United...