Jus Soli Law and the 14th Amendment

Every year a large number of people from all over the globe visit United States in order to fulfill the “American Dream”. United States is one of those countries in the world where you have freedom of speech, justice for all and equality for all people irrespective of their gender or gender orientation. This is why people try to find different ways to obtain permanent residence in the States.

American Immigration laws are strictly enforced. To become an LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident), foreign nationals tend to spend a lot of time and money to achieve such objective. People with flexible spendable income tend to focus on employment-based or investment-based visas or green cards. Others try different avenues such as student visas (ex: F1) or exchange visitor visas (ex: J1). There are also those who “depend” on their future children born in the U.S. to sponsor their parents.

By entering into the country while the woman is pregnant and having the child in the U.S., such child automatically becomes a natural born U.S. citizen under Jus Soli law. Jus Soli is a Latin word, which means “right of the soil”. Many countries have abolished this law but it still prevails in the United States. Under Section 1 of 14th Amendment of 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.”

Thus, any child of a lawfully or unlawfully present parent who is born on the U.S. territory is a U.S. citizen and is accorded all of the freedoms and protections under the United States Constitution.

This law came into question in 2015 when Republican Presidential Nominee and Real Estate Business Magnate Donald Trump released a new immigration policy paper calling for an end to granting automatic citizenship to children born in the U.S. Trump claims that birthright citizenship “remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.” Unfortunately, Trump is not alone in this views, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie mentioned that the birthright citizenship law should be “reexamined.” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker supports ending it all together. By expressing support to end the birthright citizenship laws, these politicians call for an amendment or all together abolishment of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The politicians who argue for repealing the 14th Amendment fail to see the big picture and most importantly the flaws in our current Immigration System that cry out for a reform. Before amending or repealing the law of land, they should focus on improving the current Immigration System and fix its flaws and maybe that would eliminate the need to amend or repeal of the 14th Amendment all together. There is no doubt that “birth tourism,” as critics call it, is a growing phenomenon; however, there must be other ways to control it.


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