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I believe our country is facing a crisis of immigration. Indeed, in my view, we are experiencing an outright invasion of immigrants. One aspect of this crisis is our acceptance of absolute birthright citizenship: a supposed legal right to citizenship for all children born in a country's territory, regardless of parentage or circumstances.

Many believe that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires this. It states that “[a]ll 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 amendment was created to override the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision that denied African-Americans citizenship.

The key phrase here is “subject to the jurisdiction.” In fact, it is United States federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1401) that defines who is a United States citizen from birth.

American-born children of foreign diplomats are not granted U.S. citizenship, as they are not subject to the jurisdiction of this country.

It makes no sense to grant U.S. citizenship to children of illegal aliens, legal foreign visitors, or clients of the “birth tourism” business. (Most countries don’t.) Birth tourism is the practice of traveling to another country for the purpose of giving birth in that country, in order to obtain citizenship for the child in a country with birthright citizenship.

Any child born on U.S. soil to parents who are here illegally or who are legal visitors should remain a citizen or subject of the parents’ home country. Automatic citizenship should only be given to a child who is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: (1) a U.S. citizen or national, or (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States.

John Dearing

Corvallis (Feb. 23)

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