Friday, June 18, 2010

There Arizona goes again

There Arizona goes again…

In Arizona, they are proposing a law that would deny birth certificates to children born of parents that are in the country illegally. This is an indirect assault on the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States. It doesn’t specifically deny citizenship, but does prevent a birth certificate from being issued that would be needed to prove that someone was born in the country.

When Arizona passed the last illegal immigration law, directing law enforcement to determine the citizenship of people that are in custody (as it was amended), it brought plenty of attention to the state from both sides of the argument. This one is sure to make things much more complicated for everyone from the hospital that births the child to the federal government.

But, it should still not change anything as far as a child being granted citizenship.

Right now, there are two ways to gain citizenship; you are born here or you are granted citizenship through application. Many feel that just because a child is born in the United States while the mother is in the country illegally, the child should not be given automatic citizenship. But, the Fourteenth Amendment states that children born in the United States are citizens. It states, “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.” Because a birth certificate will not be issued doesn’t mean the child is not born here. (for more details about why the Fourteenth Amendment was created see blog post, “Citizenship as Birth Right”)

As was the position of the Responsible Community when the previously law was enacted, so it is with this one. The responsibility of citizenship and immigration rest with the federal government. It was given to the national government by the Fourteenth amendment. The lawmakers in Arizona are either making a cheap political statement on the backs of children or are attempting to force the country to address the immigration issue in America. Seems that it is a little of both.

As a country, we may decide to make some changes in the way citizenship is granted. That would take a change in the Fourteenth amendment, or, perhaps a challenge to the interpretation of the amendment by the Supreme Court But, until then, birthright citizenship is there for everyone born in the country.

As a nation of immigrants, we should not change what has made us strong.