Remember back when I blasted Latino news icon Jorge Ramos for his stance on illegal immigration; particularly his stance on so-called “anchor babies?”
This was Ramos’ stance, if you need a refresher:
“On the other hand, it seems that [Trump] wants to get in the business of deporting babies, of course, by denying citizenship rights to the children of undocumented immigrants in this country. He might not like it, but the Constitution says otherwise. The last time I checked, the 14th Amendment read that ‘all persons born in the United States are citizens of the United States.’”
Ramos conveniently left out the part of the 14th Amendment where it’s pretty clear to WHOM it’s referring [emphasis added]: “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.”
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And therein lies Donald Trump’s justification for his CORRECT stance on “anchor babies.”
Basically, the 14th Amendments says if you’re born here and you’re already subject to the jurisdiction thereof (i.e. that your parents have a legal right to be here), you’re a U.S. citizen. Otherwise, nope. You’re the foreigner child of a foreigner.
So, what’s the ONE factor that would make a child a legal citizen in the eyes of the Constitution? At least ONE parent subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
Hold onto that for just a second.
Meanwhile, let’s transition to the questions Trump has now raised about fellow president hopeful Ted Cruz’s eligibility.
You see, Cruz was born in Canada.
And, because the Constitution clearly states that one must be a “natural born citizen” to serve as president, it’s not a giant leap of logic to think Cruz’s Canadian birthplace presents a problem.
Before we move on, here’s a refresher crash course on the concept of “natural born citizen,” courtesy of The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of Article II, Section 1, Clause 5:
1. English Common Law had a principle called jus soli, which basically means if you’re born here, you’re a citizen (unless you’re the child of someone who isn’t entitled to be here).
2. There was another English statutory principle called jus sanguinis, which basically means a parent can pass citizenship on to their child—regardless of the birthplace of that child.
The Heritage Foundation’s James C. Ho points out that “a majority of commentators today argue that the Presidential Eligibility Clause incorporates both the common-law and English statutory principles” of jus soli and jus sanguinis.
Our Founders put this requirement in the Constitution because they wanted to make sure another country couldn’t run the United States by proxy.
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Furthermore, as The Harvard Law Review notes [emphasis added]: “the Framers did not fear such machinations from those who were U.S. citizens from birth just because of the happenstance of a foreign birthplace. Indeed, John Jay’s own children were born abroad while he served on diplomatic assignments, and it would be absurd to conclude that Jay proposed to exclude his own children, as foreigners of dubious loyalty, from presidential eligibility.”
(John Jay, in case you’re wondering, was the guy who wrote to George Washington imploring for this natural-born citizen requirement.)
Ok, so what’s the gist?
While some scholars nit-pick over word choices the Founders made, just stop and think about it:
“Natural born” would imply that one didn’t have to be MADE into a citizen. He/she already is. You didn’t have to be naturalized for ANY reason in order to get it.
Is Ted Cruz a citizen? Yes. Was Ted Cruz naturalized? Nope. And if he wasn’t naturalized, that means he was born a natural citizen.
Wouldn't that be “natural born,” ladies and gentlemen?
So, we’ve established that Trump’s attack is not only a non-issue, but more importantly it actually distracts from a really good argument he’s made.
Ok, so Trump says children born of illegal aliens shouldn’t be called citizens. And he’s got a point. Why?
If we're being honest about the 14th Amendment ... because the parents have no claim to citizenship, regardless of whether or not the kids are born on U.S. soil.
So, it begs the question: how can Trump question Ted Cruz’s eligibilty, when he’s clearly met the very requirement for American citizenship that Trump firmly claims the “anchor babies” haven’t?
In the case of Cruz, Trump is choosing to selectively ignore that the citizenship of the parent(s) plays a role in the citizenship of the child.
If the citizenship of the parents doesn’t matter, and it’s where you’re geographically born—then doesn’t that help negate Trump’s “anchor baby” argument? After all—those babies are born on U.S. soil, are they not? So wouldn't they be entitled to citizenship based on birth location?
If Ted Cruz’s mother’s American citizenship doesn’t matter, why should the American people be concerned about the citizneship of the parents of so-called “anchor babies”?
Look, at the end of the day, all that this baseless eligibility attack does is muddy the waters of Trump’s very important point: does birth location alone make you a citizen?
And frankly, Mr. Trump, we NEED to have the “anchor baby” conversation. I applaud the fact that you’ve brought our attention there.
So let’s not play distracting and destructive games simply because a certain son of a Cuban immigrant and an American mother just so happens to be nipping at your heels.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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