WSU Students Chime in on Birthright Citizenship

During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump has made certain that immigration stays a hot topic and on top of his list of issues. He is continually making headlines with his contentious opinions of illegal immigrants, like in the case of his plan to build a wall on the southern border of the United States. According to his immigration policy, this project will be funded by Mexico. Despite some of the drastic diplomacy policies within Trump’s policy campaign, there is a matter that has become less controversial among conservative candidates, ending birthright citizenship.

Passed by Congress in 1866 and ratified in 1868, the 14thAmendment ensures “All 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Trump has proposed that birthright citizenship can be ended by passing a law through Congress that defines the passage “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Thus, putting an end to future illegal immigrants giving birth to a United States citizen, merely because they were in America at that time. It would also force around 11 million undocumented immigrants of all different nationalities out of the country, including those brought here illegally as children and those born to undocumented immigrants.

Of the 31 countries on the International Monetary Fund list of advanced economies, the United States stands alone with Canada in being the only two that practice jus soli, meaning citizenship by “right of soil.” Some countries did away with this custom decades ago. For example, Australia ended birthright citizenship in 1986, and in 1987, India did the same. For other countries, immigration has not been a main concern until more recently. As an example, Ireland didn’t pass a referendum to end this practice until 2004, birth tourism and illegal immigration playing a large role.

Trump emphasized to CNN that the 14th Amendment is questionable and is merely a temptation to illegal immigrants who are willing to risk entering the U.S. to attain citizenship for their children, and later potentially themselves.

Juventino Salinas is a junior from Washington State University, and someone whose family has used the 14th Amendment to their benefit. More than 50 years ago, Juventino’s grandmother emigrated to the U.S. illegally from Mexico, giving birth to his mother and granting her American citizenship. Regardless of this, Juventino recognizes that the law was written 147 years ago, and it may be a time for change. He stated “the rule might influence people to come here, in a way it does,” and if it were not in place “I think that they would try to go through the process of becoming a citizen, rather than just crossing the border.” He also noted that he “personally has never met anyone that has come here illegally only to have a child, and I have met many illegal immigrants.”

Ann Joona, an exchange student at Washington State University, is an immigrant from Sweden and here only with a student visa. The process of acquiring her visa took almost three months, along with many costs and fees; she plans on getting her green card and becoming a U.S. citizen, this could take her up to six more years. She is skeptical about how much this rule encourages illegal immigrants, instead she suggests that “it’s possible that they are unaware. When I came to the U.S., I did not know about many of the laws. I had to learn them on my own, no one just tells you the information.” She also stated that it is not “unfair to the people who go through the system properly, however, I do think it’s inconsistent. It’s hard to understand why it’s so difficult for an immigrant to gain citizenship statuses, and yet, if you are born here it’s granted automatically. It makes me suspicious of the government’s intentions.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: