Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to illegal immigrant mothers.
George F. Will, A Birthright? Mabye Not, Townhall.com, 28 March 2010
While I am a strong proponent of a very liberal immigration policy, we have a real problem with illegal immigration that will require a change to our Constitutional interpretation to fix. As it is now, the 14th Amendment is being interpreted to provide that anyone born in America is automatically an American citizen, irrespective of whether they are born to people in this country legally. This provides a peverse incentive for pregnant illegals to enter America to give birth. And it is the subject of George Will's most recent columnn.
A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration.
To end the practice of "birthright citizenship," all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment's first sentence: "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." From these words has flowed the practice of conferring citizenship on children born here to illegal immigrants.
A parent from a poor country, writes professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas law school, "can hardly do more for a child than make him or her an American citizen, entitled to all the advantages of the American welfare state." Therefore, "It is difficult to imagine a more irrational and self-defeating legal system than one which makes unauthorized entry into this country a criminal offense and simultaneously provides perhaps the greatest possible inducement to illegal entry." . . .
If those who wrote and ratified the 14th Amendment had imagined laws restricting immigration -- and had anticipated huge waves of illegal immigration -- is it reasonable to presume they would have wanted to provide the reward of citizenship to the children of the violators of those laws? Surely not.
. . . [T]here is no constitutional impediment to Congress ending the granting of birthright citizenship to persons whose presence here is "not only without the government's consent but in violation of its law."
Will's point is a very good one indeed. It should be the starting point for immigration reform. But it would seem that Obama's answer will be simply to offer complete amnesty to all illegals, the position supported by SEIU and La Raza.