Not long ago, President Trump announced his desire to end birthright citizenship for “anchor babies” born on United States soil to foreign-born parents. This principle, established in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, is one that many consider to be fundamental to the American ideals of equality and freedom. With the future of birthright citizenship unclear, many are wondering what it will mean if this principle, which existed well before the Constitution came to be, is erased.
The 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship
Simply stated, birthright citizenship means that any person born within a United States territory is automatically a U.S. citizen, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. This was included in the Fourteenth Amendment to address the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision, which denied citizenship to the children of slaves. Birthright citizenship was enacted on the heels of the Civil War and is a cornerstone of civil rights in the U.S.
Immigration and Birthright Citizenship
As debates over immigration continue to get more heated, new questions arise about who should be entitled to citizenship. Some anti-immigration activists believe the first step in curbing immigration is to deny citizenship to children born in United States territory to undocumented immigrants. This is not the first time lawmakers have attempted to change the law to refuse citizenship to all children of undocumented immigrants and immigrants in the U.S. on temporary visas. Nearly every year, lawmakers introduce bills to do just this.
Potential Consequences of Ending Birthright Citizenship
Scholars and experts on immigration law say that repealing birthright citizenship is highly unlikely to occur and if it did, the move would be unconstitutional. In recent years, the Supreme Court has already upheld birthright citizenship in cases of children of foreign-born parents. The issue of birthright citizenship has even been used to challenge former President Barack Obama’s legitimacy. He was born in Hawaii two years after it became a state to an immigrant father and United States citizen mother. Opponents to Trump’s plan believe it goes against the United States’ core principles as a nation and fails to serve as real and smart immigration reform.
As the future of birthright citizenship remains in doubt, many foreign-born men and women have questions about their own paths to citizenship and naturalization. Because immigration laws seem to be ever-changing, those with questions should contact an experienced Philadelphia citizenship lawyer for guidance on immigration matters.
Philadelphia Citizenship Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Serve Clients with Immigration Concerns throughout Pennsylvania
Foreign-born clients with immigration concerns have an ally in the Philadelphia citizenship lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Our experienced and compassionate immigration lawyers handle issues including but not limited to: deportation, visas, asylum, and immigration court. Schedule a consultation today to get one step closer toward resolving your immigration matter. We have multi-lingual staff members available to discuss your immigration matter so you fully understand all of the options available to you. Call 215-925-4435 or use the online contact form to contact Surin & Griffin, P.C. today.
With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, we are proud to represent clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including the communities of Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, and Wyncote.