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The History of Constitutional Citizenship

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on April 07, 2011

The Immigration Policy Center recently released a report entitled, “Constitutional Citizenship: A Legislative History,” which takes aim on recent proposals to deny birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

Some proponents of legislative efforts to limit citizenship have argued that the framers of the 14th Amendment never intended for birthright citizenship to be granted to the children of temporary or unauthorized immigrants.

But constitutional scholar Garrett Epps, author of the recent report on constitutional citizenship, rebuts these arguments, noting that the framers of the 14th Amendment lived during a period of increasing immigration when Chinese workers and gypsies were the unauthorized immigrants of the time.

Furthermore, Section 1 of the 14th Amendment explicitly provides that “all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

After reviewing the history of immigration and citizenship, Epps concludes: “If the children of illegal aliens are illegal’ themselves, then we have taken a giant step toward recreating slavery in all but name. If citizenship is the hereditary gift of the nation rather than the inheritance of its people, we are drifting back toward the discredited doctrine of Dred Scott.”

In addition to representing employers, this law office has represented individuals and families seeking legal status. If you are an individual seeking legal status for yourself or a family member, please visit our Website or call our office at (847) 564-0712.