America’s immigration system is broken, and despite what people on the left & the right say, things like amnesty, a ‘path to citizenship’ and open borders are not the solution.
To immigrants who served this country in the military, or as a first responder, police officer or firefighter, I say ‘welcome’ and ‘thank you’, whether legal or illegal immigrant.
But far too many have slipped across our borders. Far too many Visa’s are issued to those who end up taking jobs from American citizens
Our first step needs to be to limit the work Visa’s being issued to professionals in fields like medicine & the sciences, and in technical fields. Student Visa’s need to be limited as well, because educating 2nd & 3rd World students to take good jobs away from our own citizens, whether that jobs stays here or moves overseas is like shooting ourselves in the foot.
Illegal immigration is, of course, another huge issue. Now, most illegals are hard working men & women who truly want to provide for their families. And I understand & sympathize with them. But the federal government needs to put the needs & interests of the American people ahead of the needs of the people of Germany, Mexico, China, Ghana, Iran & Australia, and ahead of the bottom line of businesses which are able to save money by hiring illegal (and legal) immigrants at lower wages than they’d be able to pay American citizens.
Businesses which hire illegal immigrants need to have the book thrown at them. The penalties for failing to use the E-verify system should be severe enough, not just for the business itself, but for the owners & head of HR, that they comply. The penalties for transporting illegals (‘coyotes’) need to be increased. And at the same time, we need to put some penalties on those who broke the law by coming here illegally. A second or possibly third offense resulting in a permanent loss of the right to ever become a US citizen, maybe?
But we also need to look at what the authors of the XIVth Amendment said. We keep hearing that this Amendment grants citizenship to anyone born in the US, whether legal or illegal. In fact, this is not what the authors intended at all.
The amendment was passed to help correct the injustice of the Dred Scott v Stanford Supreme Court case of 1857, which held that blacks, even freed blacks, could not become citizens. At that time, to become a citizen of the US, one had to be a citizen of a state. The XIVth Amendment flipped that, and made US citizenship primary. A key phrase in the amendment is ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’, added because of attitudes which existed at the time about American Indians.
In 1866, a Civil Rights Act had been passed which said “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.” The XIVth Amendment took that law and made it part of our Constitution, but dropped the ‘excluding Indians not taxed’ wording.
The author of the Citizenship Clause, Sen Jacob Howard (OH) didn’t intend for Indians to be made citizens under this clause. Maintaining association with their tribes meant that they weren’t subject to jurisdiction of the United States. He went on to say that the concept of allegiance will not include ‘persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens or who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States.’
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lyman Trumbull, said the amendment applied to those who were subject to ‘the complete jurisdiction of the United States’ and who were not ‘owing allegiance to anybody else’.
The 1884 Elk v Wilkins case held that an Indian who renounced his tribal allegiance didn’t automatically become a citizen. There still had to be some action taken by the United States. Congress finally began granting citizenship status to American Indians in 1870, which showed that it had the power to decide who could be determined to be ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the United States. .
Interestingly, there has not been a Supreme Court case which decided whether the children of illegal immigrants have citizenship rights, although the 1982 Plyler v Doe decision, which held that the children of illegal immigrants had the right to a public education, would indicate a similar challenge to citizenship status of these children would probably fail.