Talk of Ending US Birthright Citizenship Creates Fear for Many Immigrant Families

Because of the US President’s recent rhetoric on birthright citizenship (14th Amendment), immigrant communities around the country are facing concern and fear. Birthright Citizenship grants any child born in the United States citizen status, regardless of the parents’ immigration status. These immigrants are anxious for their children, who were born on US soil, and for those that will be born in the future. 

The Effects of Ending Birthright Citizenship

Ending birthright citizenship has been proposed as a means to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. However, according to a recent Migration Policy Institute data report, repealing the birthright citizenship for the US-born children of non-citizen or lawful permanent resident parents would have the opposite effect. Initially, the children of immigrants (currently citizens) would become unlawful non-citizens. The children of these children would then also not be citizens. Potentially, the unlawful immigrant population in the country could increase from today’s eleven million to sixteen million by 2050.

The President may sign an executive order to end the birthright citizenship, which could raise a couple of problematic issues. One, constitutional challenges over the order’s validity could take years to resolve. Two, by design, the process of amending the US Constitution is not easy. Repealing the 14th Amendment will be a demanding process.

Nonetheless, the President’s words have alarmed immigrants across the country. Undocumented parents of US-born children face the possibility of arrest and deportation by Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents. Many of children who were born in the US may be subject to deportation with their parents. Thus, taking them away from the only country they’ve ever known. It is easy to use the language of threat and fear towards immigrants. But the reality is that they, including their US-born children, are part of and contribute to US society. The US is distinct from the rest of the world. Our fundamental individual freedoms and constitutional rights, including birthright citizenship, may not be found in any other country in the world. The United States of America stands above of any other society in the world, because of its constitutional rights for its citizens and non-citizens. We are proud of it.

by Frederik Stefani
November 6, 2018


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