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Amendments, birthrights and bricks through a tea strainer

Larry French, Community Voices Columnist • Aug 15, 2018 at 8:15 AM

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed by all Community Voices columnists are their own and do not necessary reflect those of the Johnson City Press.

In 1914, and prior to World War I when empires were waging armed conflicts across Europe for the purpose of expanding their borders, my grandparents immigrated to the United States from Denmark, where they became naturalized citizens according to The Naturalization Act of 1906.

In addition, my grandparents learned English, assimilated into the melting pot culture, became gainfully employed and raised a family which included my birth mother (a natural born citizen).

Yes, I am the grandson of legal immigrants.

However, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America — which we’ll discuss below — does not apply to my mother because her parents obeyed the laws of this country by immigrating here legally.

Obviously, then, the 14th Amendment is misinterpreted today.

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment states: “All persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

According to Michael Anton, a research fellow at Hillsdale College Kirby Center and former senior national security official, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is defined as, “complete jurisdiction and not owing allegiance to anybody else.”

This includes illegal aliens who cross our borders, have a child and then believe their child is now an American citizen. This assumption is incorrect because those parents who crossed our borders illegally are in violation of U.S. law. Their allegiance is not to the United States, but to their country of birth. They cannot have it both ways. Allegiance to their birth country and the country they have entered illegally.

Not owing allegiance to anybody else is the precise meaning of “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

To look at this in any other way is to completely disregard the U.S. Constitution.

Then there is the meaning of the word jurisdiction, “the official power to make legal decisions and judgments.”

So, now the question arises as to illegal aliens. Are they subject to the legal decisions and judgments (laws) of the United States?

The answer is unequivocally, yes.

Therefore, a baby born to an illegal alien is subject to the legal decisions and judgments (laws) of the United States, thereby making the baby an illegal alien, too. The baby is not entitled to birthright citizenship.

As U.S. Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa) — who has twice introduced a bill that would end birthright citizenship — said, “I do not believe it is in the best interest of our nation to continue tolerating the practice of illegal aliens giving birth to children in the U.S. in order to obtain citizenship for the child, then moving back to their country of origin with the hopes of achieving uninhibited access to our country for as many family members as possible.”

In fact,” King said, “the U.S Supreme Court has never held that the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States are automatically citizens.”

Unfortunately, the solution to rectifying this continuing epidemic is not as simple as it would seem. Because the Supreme Court has not interpreted the Constitution to mandate automatic birthright citizenship, it would be up to Congress to pass a law that would prohibit such practices of automatically granting citizenship to children of illegal aliens.

Good luck on getting this through Congress and past those proponents of open borders.

And, then there is the First Amendment, which in part reads: “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble” Yes, peaceably. However, this does not mean to incite, to riot, to burn cars, to loot businesses, to verbally assault people from eating in public places, to shout people down, and certainly not to kill people for having opposing points of view.

Regrettably, certain elected officials have even gone so far as to inflame their new form of rancor under the “guise of resistance” amongst their constituents.

Folks, we all need to calm down. Cooler heads must prevail.

Is there a winnable solution to all this continual turmoil? Perhaps, but don’t hold your breath.

While there are currently 27 amendments to the Constitution, a 28th is needed. An amendment requiring term limits for all members of Congress.

Our Founding Fathers never envisioned career politicians, which in and of itself has become a total disaster.

Of course, the only drawback from ever putting this forth to a nationwide referendum vote, as all constitutional Amendments require — it would have to pass by a majority vote of two-thirds in both Houses of Congress before calling for a convention on the proposed amendment.

That, gentle readers, would be like passing a brick through a tea strainer.

We must remember though, the power belongs to the voters and not our elected officials.

Larry French lives in Butler. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists and teaches composition and literature at East Tennessee State University and Northeast State Community College. You may reach him at [email protected]

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