Read the passage by Congressman John Bingham, one of the architects of the 14th Amendment.
. . .there remains a want now, in the Constitution of our country, which the proposed amendment will supply. What is it? It is the power in the people ... to do that by Congressional enactment which hitherto they have not had the power to do ... that is to protect by national law the privileges and immunities of all the citizens of the Republic and the inborn rights of every person . . . whenever the same shall be abridged or denied by the [already] unconstitutional acts of any State. Allow me ... in passing, to say that this amendment takes from no State any right that ever pertained to it. No State ever had the right, under the forms of law or other wise, to deny to any freeman the equal protection of the laws or to abridge the privileges or immunities of any citizen of the Republic, although many of them have assumed and exercised the power....
- What is Bingham addressing; how did he define the purpose of the 14th Amendment?
- Now, read the following three contentions against “birthright citizenship.”
- Does original intent of the 14th matter today?
- Do the original framers of this Amendment specify who and who is not a citizen?
- Are the contentions (arguments against) the 14th reasonable (hold merit)? Why/why not?
Contending Voices against “birthright citizenship” as outlined in the 14th Amendment: (DEBATE 2016) via debate.org
Contention 1: Birthright citizenship allows illegal immigrants to cheat the system and immediately become US citizens - Birthright citizenship gives illegal immigrants a motive for cheating the system and finding way to become legalized citizens. In a recent study there were approximately 11.2 illegal immigrants in the United States. The 14th Amendment gives motive for all immigrants to cheat their way into gaining US citizenship by having children. The process of becoming a United States citizen normally takes between 5 months and 2 years. A person who has a baby on American soil takes one. Because the baby is now a United States citizen the process is sped up immensely for parents. It is almost guaranteed that the parents will get citizenship because the government will not forcibly deport the parents away from the baby or remove a US citizen, this being the baby.
Convention 2: Birthright citizenship is not what creators of the constitution originally planned - The 14th Amendment was created in July of 1868. The men who created it would have no idea what would happen 144 years later. It was originally made so that recently freed African Americans would have citizenship if they were born here. Present day this is a means for illegal immigrants to unlawfully sneak past the system and gain citizenship. There have been other countries that have corrected laws similar to this. In Ukraine, they recently got rid of their "Tourist Baby" bill. This bill now states that if you have a baby in Ukraine and you are not a citizen of Ukraine you will not be granted citizenship. So now back to us, I believe that if we abolish birthright citizenship we can create a new bill that is geared towards giving citizenship to babies born of legal citizens of the United States. This would create a more fair and just system and would also clear up the controversy that the original founders of the 14th Amendment could not foresee.