Dr. Ada Fisher – Unhand the 14th Amendment
The frustration of many with our porous borders, as well as concern about the burgeoning illegal populations, fosters much consternation about “anchor babies,” for want of a better descriptor. Estimates place the numbers born to parents who are in the country illegally at least 500,000 births a year. The U.S. Supreme Court did not deal with the legality of this issue, as is often wrongfully asserted by citing its 1896 Wong Kim Ark decision.
The 14th Amendment — like the 13th and 15th Amendments — was written in response to slavery during Reconstruction and has been used by the courts to justify things which were not in its original purpose. On the issue of anchor babies, the treatment of slaves in our states has some unpleasant similarities for babies conceived/born here, regardless of the origins of their parents. Like slaves, they do not have choices on their location or place of birth.
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th gave slaves certain rights as citizens which antedates in this amendment specification of who citizens are. Our newest obsession with refugees is not covered in the U.S. Constitution and should require approval by Congress. Jews were turned away during the Holocaust and George W. Bush’s amnesty for 100,000 Bantu from Africa still has not been fully realized.
The 14th Amendment, ratified July 9, 1868, overturned the court’s own rulings in Dred Scott v. Sanford 1857 which limited the rights of slaves, thereby broadening the definition of citizenship. It is ironic that Sen. Ted Cruz, who was not even born in this nation but is running for its presidency, would advocate denying birthright to those born on this precious soil.
Many cite the Supreme Court’s 1896 decision on Wong Kim Ark, which notes this child of Chinese immigrants legally domiciled in the U.S. had the rights of citizenship and could not have such revoked after a trip outside of the nation upon his reentry. Though a child of foreigners, as one permanently domiciled and a resident in the U.S. at the time of birth, Ark could not be denied the rights of citizens. This is not the same as people illegally here and housed on U.S. soil.
It is clear in reading the 1857 ruling that citizenship means those permanently domiciled and a resident at the time of birth born on American soil (a concept known as jus soli). Noted also is that foreign diplomats who have children while stationed here cannot claim citizenship for their children. This should bring into question the concept of “natural born” citizenship. This also begs the question of whether those who aren’t citizens at birth are eligible to run for the presidency even if one parent was by choice a citizen living abroad via jus sanguinis (inheriting citizenship from a parent). U.S. military personnel stationed abroad who have children at their assignment have had their children granted automatic citizenship.
Presently, citizenship — in view of the concept of ‘illegal aliens,” domestic workers, anchor babies, “birther” movement statements regarding seekers of the presidency not born on U.S. soil or quartering refugees — is not clearly defined by Congress or the Constitution. Natural born citizenship needs immediate clarification before the floodgates are irrefutably opened allowing other than citizens born on this soil to lead.
It is essential that this nation of many peoples define who its citizens are and whether we have rights on this soil that others don’t.
In the maze of legal mumbo-jumbo obfuscating the issue of who is a citizen, what are our rights? Whether squatters’ rights or equal entitlements can be claimed by those illegally here requires constitutional guidance, not heartfelt compassionate sympathy. Family members of citizens here should not necessarily be given entry preference for relatives not born in this nation solely for reunification purposes. They must stand in line and await their turn as is done for others seeking relief.
No other nations allow unrestricted immigration without establishing and enforcing its guidelines. Upon entry to this nation at Ellis Island, people had to have a sponsor, speak the language, which is English not American, and have a job before they were let in. It use to be held that immigration was to allow those facing political oppression a refuge not to serve as a haven for those seeking better lifestyles or improved economic status.
In our generosity to undocumented visitors within our borders, we are strangling our entitlement system including social security and other bounties of kindness. Too often others not legally entering or staying in this country are given opportunities, options and others rights which birthright citizens often can’t enjoy. This must stop for we don’t extend to others that which we aren’t providing for citizens and taxpayers here. Charity must also be shown at home.
Dr. Ada M. Fisher is a physician, retired Fortune 500 Company Medical Director, licensed teacher in secondary education—Mathematics and Science, former School Board Member, as well as the NC Republican National Committee Woman. Her book, Common Sense Conservative Prescriptions Solutions for What Ails Us, Book I may be ordered through any bookstore or purchased on line through Amazon.com or thecreatespaceStore.com. Contact her at P. O. Box 777; Salisbury, NC 28145; DrFisher@DrAdaMFisher.org