Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 1, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

My Revised Column on Birthright Citizenship Now A Feature Essay at The Unz Review


Yesterday’s installment of the MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey series featured my thoughts about birthright citizenship and President Trump’s desire, via an Executive Order, to clarify its meaning regarding illegal aliens and their children who are non-citizens. As I wrote then, the intent of the framers of the 14th Amendment and its specific wording seem clearly to exclude children born of illegal aliens, that is, of non-citizens.

Here is how Professor John Eastman explains this question in an essay I quoted [New York Post, October 30, 2018]:

The actual language of the 14th Amendment actually contains two requirements for automatic citizenship, not just one. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States” — that’s the birth-on-US- soil part — “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” It is that second requirement, “subject to the jurisdiction,” that is the source of much confusion today, because to our modern ear, that just means subject to our laws.

That is one meaning, of course, but not the only one, and not the one that the drafters of the 14th Amendment had in mind. For them, being merely subject to our laws meant that one was subject to our “partial” or “territorial” jurisdiction. It was a jurisdiction applicable to “temporary sojourners” — what we today call temporary visitors. It was not the kind of jurisdiction that was codified in the 14th Amendment. For that, a more complete, allegiance-owing jurisdiction was required.

We don’t need to speculate about this, as the authors of the 14th Amendment were asked directly what they meant (albeit not in the context of illegal immigration, since there were no restrictions on immigration at the time). When asked whether Native Americans would automatically be citizens under the clause, Sen. Lyman Trumbull, a key figure in the drafting and adoption of the 14th Amendment, responded that “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States meant subject to its “complete” jurisdiction, “[n]ot owing allegiance to anybody else.”

And Sen. Jacob Howard, who introduced the language of the jurisdiction clause on the floor of the Senate, contended that it should be construed to mean “a full and complete jurisdiction,” “the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now.” And the “now” that he was referencing was the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which provided that “All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”  []

I have edited and revised my column of October 31, 2018 somewhat, and this morning [November 1] it is a feature essay on The Unz Review. Please access it at the following link:

This is an issue that should and must be kept forefront—for our country and for our future and for our children.

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