Amendment was for former slaves, not illegals
James C. Hoâ€™s recent commentary article, â€?Ban on birthright citizenship unconstitutionalâ€? (Monday) ignores the facts about the 14th Amendment.
Congress can and should end birth citizenship. First, the Constitution expressly gives Congress the power to decide national immigration policies. Section 5 of the 14th Amendment explicitly delegates to Congress the right to legislate how the provisions of the amendment are to be applied.
Second, no Supreme Court case has dealt directly with the issue of illegal immigrantsâ€™ children or the question of automatic citizenship. And third, during the debate on the 14th Amendment in 1866, the senator who authored the amendment said it would â€?not of course include persons born in the United States who are foreigners. â€¦â€? It applied only to those who had been slaves.
It is unfair to grant automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants because it undermines the intention of the 14th Amendment, encourages illegal immigration and costs taxpayers. Passing a law to eliminate birth citizenship is constitutional and would help deter illegal immigration.
Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican
Chairman, House Judiciary Committee