The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “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….” This provision states that any person born in the United States or naturalized in the United States are citizens of both the United States and the state where they reside.
W. Cleon Skousen explained this provision: “The only exceptions are children born to foreign diplomats and children born to enemies during wartime occupation.
“It is interesting that in spite of this amendment, American Indians living on reservations could not be citizens or have their children considered citizens until 1924.
“This amendment was found to be necessary because in spite of the Thirteenth Amendment, which was ratified December 6, 1865, there continued to be a number of abuses of former slaves….
“It was because of the serious abuses of civil rights among some of the states that a number of civil rights bills were launched – beginning 1963 – and these rapidly transferred a great deal of jurisdiction from the states to the federal courts. This had been avoided in the past because many felt it would give the federal courts so much power that they might become abusive themselves. Furthermore, many authorities expressed particular apprehension because the new laws would give the federal courts enforcement power over individuals as well as public and private institutions. Nevertheless, Congress passed the laws hoping the courts would exercise restraint.” (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 721-722.)
Edward Erler of The Heritage Foundation explained: “Before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, citizens of the states were automatically considered citizens of the United States. In 1857, the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision had held that no black of African descent (even a freed black) could be a citizen of the United States. The Fourteenth Amendment was thus necessary to overturn Dred Scott and to settle the question of the citizenship of the newly freed slaves. The Fourteenth Amendment made United States citizenship primary and state citizenship derivative. The primacy of federal citizenship made it impossible for states to prevent former slaves from becoming United States citizens by withholding state citizenship. States could no longer prevent any black from United States citizenship or from state citizenship either.” (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 384).
I personally believe that we will have to do something about the wording in the Fourteenth Amendment in order to stop illegal aliens from coming to the United States to have their “anchor babies.” I believe that wording such as the following may have to be included in an amendment: No children or posterity of persons in the United States of America illegally can ever become citizens of the United States without returning to their country of origin and making application to be admitted to the United States legally and lawfully. I also believe that we will have to do something about the people who are already here illegally but hope we can do it without bestowing amnesty or citizenship upon them.