Monday, September 13, 2010

A simple illustration that virtually everyone can understand

Several months back I received a notification from the U.S. Census bureau informing me that, within a few days, I would be receiving from their offices a "very important survey" called the "American Community Survey."

While I was assured in the letter that my residence was chosen "randomly;" that I wasn't chosen personally for receipt of this survey (which I very highly doubt is the case for reasons I won't discuss in this particular entry, except to say that I'm pretty resistant to what I consider to be invasive questions having nothing to do with the purpose of a census), my instructions included in the letter were to:

When you receive your questionairre, please fill it out and return it promptly.

Notice that I'm required to accomplish two separate but connected tasks, per the conjunction and. First, I'm to answer the questions on the survey. Second, I'm to return the completed survey to the Census Bureau. If I fail to do one or the other, or both, then the process is railroaded, or, not completed.

While most everyone can understand the truth of this simple illustration, a lot of people can't seem to apply the exact same principles to the citizenship clause of the fourteenth amendment, though the exact principles apply.

There are two stipulations in that provision connected, as with my instructions from the Census Bureau above, by the conjunction and. Both of these stipulations must be met, according to the language of that provision, before the process of admission to citizenship can be accomplished.

Most of the newspaper columns I've read on the subject, including this gem, claim as a fundamental constitutional principle this idea of automatic birthright citizenship for the children of aliens subject to a foreign jurisdiction. But these writers must not be very confident in their arguments since they tend to ignore, dismiss or, in some cases, omit the second provision in this clause.

To qualify for automatic birthright citizenship, one must be born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Meaning that the provision applies to children of U.S. citizens exclusively.

But it's all a moot point anyway, and on both sides of the issue, given that the federal government has made it all too simple and easy for birth mothers subject to a foreign jurisdiction to meet the second provision by enrolling their newborns into the social security program. In effect, these children are birthright citizens via enrollment at birth program conducted by the Social Security Administration. Thus, the children of American citizens derive no advantage whatsoever over children of illegal immigrants per this requirement. And unless and until (1) enrollment at birth ceases to exist, and/or, (2) States tell the federal government to shove it on this issue of supposed federal supremacy in immigration law making, they never will again derive any kind of advantage from that provision.

Note: Here is an article relevant to this subject, and to which I've added several comments.

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