In testimony this past October before the House Judiciary Committee, John C. Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University and a fellow at the Claremont Institute, argued that the prevailing interpretation gives too much weight to place of birth than originally intended and should be changed.
Eastman argued: "Birth, together with being a person subject to the complete and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States (i.e., not owing allegiance to another sovereign) was the constitutional mandate."
Indeed, the 14th Amendment reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and (italics added) subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
As Eastman argues, illegal aliens from Mexico are still foreign nationals and are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction, except for purposes of deportation. Therefore, their children born on American soil should not automatically be U.S. citizens.
During debate on the 14th Amendment, Sen. Jacob Merritt Howard of Michigan added the jurisdiction language specifically to avoid accident of birth being the sole criteria for citizenship.
And if citizenship was determined just by place of birth, why did it take an act of Congress in 1922 to give American Indians birthright citizenship if they already had it?
Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia seeks to clarify the situation through HR698. It would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to deny automatic citizenship to children born in the U.S. of parents who are not citizens or are not permanent resident aliens.
The current interpretation of birthright citizenship may have been a huge mistake. And, given the burden illegal aliens have imposed on our welfare, educational, health care and legal systems, it may have been a very costly one.
Becoming a U.S. citizen should require more than your mother successfully sneaking past the U.S. Border Patrol.
U.S. Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., presided at a House hearing last week entitled "Birthright Citizenship, Dual Citizenship and the Meaning of Sovereignty." It's unfortunate that this important subject received little media coverage.I wonder why my local paper is not talking at all about the costs of illegal immigration. There is so much discussion going on about how Wal*Mart ruins communities around the country and not one word on how illegal aliens affect our schools, health care and crime.
The statistics are shocking. At least 383,000 babies are born in the United States every year to illegal immigrants; that's 10 percent of all U.S. births and about 40 percent of indigent births.
The cost to U.S. taxpayers is tremendous because all those babies, called anchor babies, claim birthright citizenship. Their mothers and other relatives then sign up for a vast stream of taxpayer benefits.
Conventional wisdom says immigrants are not a financial burden to taxpayers because they work hard, pay taxes and rarely go on the dole. But it's a myth, and a new study blows another hole in it.I said in this post that this issue would most likely cost Republicans dearly in 2006.
The University of Florida finds that immigrant families have been costing that state a net $1,800 per household per year, a financial burden much larger than previously thought.
The findings surprised the study's author, who is a pro-immigration Democrat. After crunching the numbers, economist David Denslow discovered immigrants Ã legal and illegal Ã were consuming much more in public services and paying much less in taxes than the average resident.
Chief among the government services they were consuming were education and Medicaid.
But wait a minute. Didn't last decade's welfare reform push a lot of immigrants off the dole?
Yes, but the decline in immigrant cash aid and food stamps has not resulted in a significant savings for taxpayers, because it has been almost entirely offset by increases in the cost of providing Medicaid to immigrant households.
In fact, a recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies found that the average welfare payout to immigrant households, both legal and illegal, has changed little and remains about $2,000 a year, which is 50% higher than the payout for natives.
In 1996, 22% of immigrant households were on the dole (compared with 15% for natives), according to CIS. By 2001, the share rose to 23%. Over that period, average Medicaid payments to immigrants jumped to $1,495 from $1,203.
Immigrant households account for a growing share of the welfare caseload.
The number of immigrants using at least one major welfare program has steadily increased, with the exception of a small drop in 1997.
Between 1996 and 2001, the number of immigrant households using the welfare system grew by 750,000 to more than 3 million Ã accounting for almost 18% of all U.S. households on welfare. That share is expected to rise with continued high rates of immigration.
And if you think immigrants, most of whom are poor Mexicans, will stop depending on U.S. welfare as they settle into jobs and even careers here, think again.
CIS found that welfare use actually increases significantly with duration of stay in the U.S. Not until they have lived here more than 20 years does it start to go down on average.
"To some extent, assimilation for many immigrants means assimilation into the welfare system," the report said. "This is the case for both immigrants in general and for legal immigrants."
The Florida and national studies show that immigrant use of the welfare system remains well above that of natives and creates a significant cost to taxpayers. Their findings tip the debate over the cost of immigrants in favor of immigration reformers.
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