14th Amendment, History & Anchor Babies

H/T: Larry Lane. Excerpted from 8/4/10 Ann Coulter article, Justice Brennan’s Footnote Gave Us Anchor Babies:

The 14th Amendment was added after the Civil War in order to overrule the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, which had held that black slaves were not citizens of the United States. The precise purpose of the amendment was to stop sleazy Southern states from denying citizenship rights to newly freed slaves — many of whom had roots in this country longer than a lot of white people.

The amendment guaranteed that freed slaves would have all the privileges of citizenship by providing: “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.”

The drafters of the 14th amendment had no intention of conferring citizenship on the children of aliens who happened to be born in the U.S.

Inasmuch as America was not the massive welfare state operating as a magnet for malingerers, frauds and cheats that it is today, it’s amazing the drafters even considered the amendment’s effect on the children of aliens.

But they did.

The very author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, expressly said:

“This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.”

In the 1884 case Elk v. Wilkins, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment did not even confer citizenship on Indians — because they were subject to tribal jurisdiction, not U.S. jurisdiction.

For a hundred years, that was how it stood, with only one case adding the caveat that children born to legal permanent residents of the U.S., gainfully employed, and who were not employed by a foreign government would also be deemed citizens under the 14th Amendment. (United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898.)

And then, out of the blue in 1982, Justice Brennan slipped a footnote into his 5-4 opinion in Plyler v. Doe, asserting that “no plausible distinction with respect to Fourteenth Amendment ‘jurisdiction’ can be drawn between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful.” (Other than the part about one being lawful and the other not.)

CLICK HERE to learn more – 14th Amendment site with good footnoted information.

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment:

Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Section 1. 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.

Definitions re: 14th Amendment (from 14th Amendment site)

Illegal alien: correct term for anyone who sneaks into our country in violation of our immigration laws.

Alien: any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.

Anchor babies: Babies born to illegal alien mothers within U.S. borders are called anchor babies because under the 1965 immigration Act, they act as an anchor that pulls the illegal alien mother and eventually a host of other relatives into permanent U.S. residency.

Immigrant: alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

Illegal alien: someone who enters the United States without immigration inspection or without an appropriate visa authorizing entry.

Illegal immigrant: often used interchangeably with illegal alien. The correct term for a person entering the United States unlawfully is illegal alien.

Undocumented immigrant: politically correct term with no legal basis. Used by those who support open borders as an attempt to reframe terminology used in the immigration debate.

Permanent resident alien: an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residency. Permanent residents are also sometimes referred to as immigrants. Note that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)).

Only legal permanent residents may reside permanently in the United States. The Department of State issues visas for this purpose. Other agencies can adjust one’s immigration status to permanent resident alien.

Non-resident alien: a temporary resident of the United States who is invited a specific purpose. The alien must have a permanent residence abroad (for most classes of admission) and qualify for the desired non-immigrant classification.


Posted on August 5, 2010, in 14th Amendment, Constitution and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. A delightful and very open position about the 14th amendment. I have been writing for well over 3 years on this topic alone. Please have a look-see at http://onemorecup.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/14th-amendment-and-shortcomings/ appreciate it! Cheers!

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