Why are children born in the US to illegal immigrant parents given US citizenship?


Speaking of not reading, what does "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" mean?

Update 2:

It always surprises me how many people just assume that "birthright citizenship" is required in the Constitution for anyone at all.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The constitution does require it under the Citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment, and backed by The Civil Rights Act of 1866. The provisions in Section 1 of the Citizenship Clause says that children born on United States soil, are U.S. citizens, regardless of where their parents are from, and that have access to all services and rights as such.

    There are exceptions:

    - Children born to foreign diplomats

    - Children born to enemy forces in hostile occupation of the United States

    The one other exception is more of a gray are depending on the language you use.

    - Children born to aliens who are lawfully inside the United States (resident or visitor), with the intention of amicably interacting with its people and obeying its laws.

    The term visitor hasn't yet been defined in terms of time. Is it 1 day, 1 year, etc... Some would also argue that legal immigrants on a work or student visa are not actual "citizens", however fall under the coverage of "resident".

    The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was intended to exclude American-born persons from automatic citizenship whose allegiance to the United States was not complete. With illegal aliens who are unlawfully in the United States, their native country has a claim of allegiance on the child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship. The same goes the other way around.

    This is the reason why they have to be here Lawfully in order for their children to be considered American Citizens. Lawfully (not to be confused with legally) is the key word. Meaning, you can be here illegally, still be mindful of the law, and not be protected by the 14th Amendment, or any Amendment for that matter. However, a working visa (for example), and no unlawful acts under the US Constitution will protect and grant citizenship to their children. It also protects American mothers who give birth while on travel to a foreign county (i.e. Canada).

    Source(s): Findlaw.com, Cases and Laws Several other legal sites and readings.
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  • 4 years ago

    Nearly every single country recognizes jus sanguini citizenship with some limiting transmission through fathers only, so nearly every US-born child of foreign citizen parents would be eligible for citizenship in at least one foreign country. China has a clause bestowing citizenship on Chinese-born children who would otherwise be stateless. A US Constitutional amendment could include the same clause. The main problem with restricting birthright citizenship without effective immigration control is that number of illegal immigrants would increase as US-born children of illegal immigrants grow up here without access to Medicaid, food stamps, or other benefits that help children grow into healthy adults. The real culprits in the war on illegal immigration aren't the immigrants themselves but the US employers who hire them for very low wages and often under terrible working conditions, shifting the real cost of labor - feeding and sheltering the worker's children- onto the public.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Did you bother reading the Wiki page before you posted it?

    Section 1. 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.

    What part of this do you not understand?

    Edit: This is why I hate arguing about the law with people who don't understand it. By traditional conflicts rules, anyone within the borders of a country, no matter how they got there, is subject to the jurisdiction of that country's government. This is a universal principle, and is just as true in the USA as it is in every country on the planet. Unless you're suggesting that an illegal alien who commits a crime within America's borders is not subject to the jurisdiction of her laws and her courts?

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  • 1 decade ago

    The 14th amendment to the US Constitution, Article 1, 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. "

    The Supreme Court later affirmed that anyone born on US soil where US citizens in "United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)"


    If you want to change that, repeal the 14th amendment.


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  • 1 decade ago

    Because they are born within the Us borders ion US soil so they are US citizens and it is not right to punish a child for what the child's parents have done. Would like to be punished for something your parents did in their past?

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  • 1 decade ago

    Born to illegal parents and they should not be US citzens.... but I can't beat "wizjp" answer.

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  • wizjp
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Morons in government.

    Subject to laws and elligible for citizenship are not the same thing here. We are talking about people who have a country; they are here ILLEGALLY?

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