On Oct. 30, President Donald Trump announced that he wanted to take away birthright citizenship, which grants any person born in the United States automatic citizenship. This has been a part of the constitution since 1868 as the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment explicitly 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.” Originally passed, in part, to make newly-freed slaves be considered official citizens, it now is seen as a way to help illegal immigrants.
Illegal immigrants, while nothing new to society, have been a major controversy in recent years. The topic has been used as a debate point throughout the 2016 Presidential election, and will likely be a part of the 2020 election. However, in 2018, getting rid of American birthright citizenship is on the table. It’s important to note that, despite this article being about American birthright citizenship, numerous other countries have it implemented, used to have it, but then got rid of it, or flat out never had it.
Birthright citizenship is a grey area. No one answer could be seen as clearly right or clearly wrong. On one hand, taking it away may discourage illegal immigration. However, outright citizenship can provide better opportunity than a simple work visa or green card. Birthright refers to all people, so while adults may be able to handle their own immigration, their children will not have to worry. The child could get more support in this country, as well as more security than if they were not considered citizens. However, the parents who are illegal immigrants may benefit from tax dollars that actual citizens pay. There is no simple answer to whether one stance is correct, especially when all factors are established.
However, getting rid of birthright citizenship will have more of a negative impact than a positive one. For instance, if taken away, all soon-to-be parents will have to prove their citizenship to the country. Proving citizenship can be a long and expensive bureaucratic process. In addition to that, there would have to be a national registry implemented, which will take away time and resources. A national registry, at this point, could also lead to mistakes in which actual citizens can be denied their citizenships. The biggest impact would be more of a prideful one. Taking away birthright is taking away one of America’s long-time freedoms. The 14th Amendment has been around for about 140 years. Getting rid of it now would be like spitting in the face of one of America’s key principles: freedom.