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.


Anonymous said...

And the SSA birth enrollment thing is Constitutional in exactly what way again?

Regulations that contradict the fundamental law of the United States can make someone subject to various jurisdictions, like the jurisdiction of Nazi Germany, for example. But being subject to the jurisdiction of an entity fundamentally opposed to the principles of United States law wouldn't seem to ordinarily include being subject to US jurisdiction.

Terry Morris said...

And that point needs to be made over and over and over again, ultimately using whatever means is necessary.

Thanks for the comments, Chiu. You're a rare gem.

The_Editrix said...

"When I say "legal" immigrants, what I mean is immigrants in this country on some sort of visa, a 'green card' or whatever. Simply being in this country legally does not make them subject to full U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, their children born in the United States do not qualify for automatic birthright citizenship per the fourteenth amendment."

Terry, thank you for that clarification! Information about this complicated issue are very scant at my end indeed. Of course, what you say is the only FEASIBLE solution to birthright citizenship.

Anonymous said...

I would use some other term than "gem", but I won't argue the rarity.

I will point out that there are several classes of legal immigrants as well as other foreign nationals in the country legally. Generally, only those legal immigrants that have already made a definite commitment to being subject to the laws of the United States should qualify to pass citizenship on to their children without themselves being citizens already.

Any persons attempting to escape the jurisdiction of United States law by appeal to some other jurisdiction is obviously disqualified. This necessarily includes all persons who are in the United States at all only by virtue of evading or disregarding the laws of the United States.

Back when Jefferson signed a treaty with France in which they ceded control of the Louisiana territory the United States in, Jefferson worried about whether such a treaty were strictly within the Constitutional powers of the President to make Treaties. I have seen no explanation of why it should have been unconstitutional or even improper, since the negotiations were entered openly and the treaty was properly (and quite promptly) ratified by the Senate. But perhaps someone can explain that to me.

But what a contrast between that generation and our own, eh?

Call Me Mom said...

I get a lot of flack when I point out that very distinction to people.
I am seeing some signs of hope in the younger generation. I just met another young person who is taking an interest in our founding documents today. I hope it continues.
On another topic Mr. Morris, what are you doing next Wednesday at around 1:30 CST?

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