Strengthen the 14th Amendment - Clarify Birthright Citizenship

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The United States is facing a crisis of identity which is causing huge divisions that go beyond party lines. It is affecting States, communities, families, and friends. Furthermore, this identity crisis has left our country open to abuse and ridicule by other nations and foreign citizenry. As a sovereign nation, it is imperative that we correct the basic deficiencies in our legal system which continue to allow others to manipulate our rule of law to an unfair advantage.

One of the laws of which I speak is the 14th Amendment which is commonly referred to as "birthright citizenship". While it is important to ensure that our children inherit their U.S. citizenship, this law has been interpreted in such a way that anyone can come to the U.S., give birth to a child, and return to their native country, and their newborn will have automatically been granted U.S. citizenship based on the 14th amendment along with all of the rights accorded a U.S. citizen.

The 14th Amendment was originally crafted to protect the rights of citizenship of former slaves. This makes great sense due to the gross injustices that were inflicted upon them during that period, and understanding that America was their home as well. But it is important to understand that being held captive and enslaved is a very different condition than willingly traveling across our borders whether it be as a tourist or a person who wants to build a better life. Where slavery was concerned, their rights and the rights of their children needed to be protected, especially at a time when concepts such as equality and diversity could not even be fathomed. But if we grant citizenship to a newborn of parents who willingly cross our borders and who have not yet been granted citizenship, then we have given away something extremely precious which so many people have fought and died for. In fact, we have devalued what it means to be an American citizen.

One might ask why there is a need to even worry about controlling citizenship, and I would ask that you step back through history to understand what the differences were between how people lived before and how they live today. If we were to step back in history, it is apparent that there were many terrible travesties of justice that occurred when America was first settled, and even as new States were admitted to the Union. But one thing should be readily apparent -- people who settled America did so without the aid of government. It was through sheer will and determination. Government programs such as welfare were not an option in those days. In fact, Welfare did not come into being until 1935. This is important to mention because there was also a fundamental shift in accountability from the individual to the government. While these are generalizations, we should be able to track the expansion of welfare type programs and the monies that are allocated to them. While it is a wonderful and heartwarming thought that we can help so many people within the U.S., it should be evident that such monies come from taxes of the working class, and that this pool of money is finite. As it is, the U.S. is already trillions of dollars in debt. One question that needs to be asked is whether or not "anchor babies" and "birth tourists" qualify for U.S. programs or other financial incentives. Additionally, for those who are not interested in America's way of life, but simply wish to have the label of U.S. citizen for their children, how will "foreign U.S. citizens" impact politics in the U.S.? And what about citizenship for the second generation?

In essence, the political, economic, and technical climate in which we live today is vastly different than that of our forefathers. While no one should ever deny anyone the ability to work toward a better life, U.S. citizenship should not be given away so flippantly. There is a legal system in place to provide a path for citizenship, and it should be applied to newborns of foreign parents who have not yet petitioned for or been granted U.S. citizenship.

I respectfully request that we work toward correcting the deficiencies which exist in the 14th Amendment to protect one of the cherished rights for heirs of both native born and naturalized U.S. citizens.

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