Birthright citizenship is a Constitutional right

The Women Disobey protest in Washington against the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “zero tolerance” policy separation children and families at the US/Mexico border. Photo courtesy of Sarahmirk & Wikimedia Commons.


by Jocelyn Pinedo, COLUMNIST
15 November 2018


The 14th amendment states that “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.” This allows anyone to become a citizen of this country as long as they are born inside of the United States.

Though with the current proposal by President Trump, according to a report published by the New York Times on October 30th, children of undocumented immigrants born in the country would be denied citizenship even if born in the states. This not only goes against the Constitution but it would also result in the separation of multiple families residing in the US.

Attempting to change the amendment would produce plentiful legal challenges, yet the President wants to test the Supreme Court. It is clear to legal scholars that this act could not possibly happen, but Trump is prepared to send an executive order to make sure the amendment is changed.

Not granting American-born children with citizenship would result in families being separated. Immigrant parents seek out a better life for their kids, which is why they often travel to this country, and if the amendment is changed, these households would be placed at a crossroads, forcing them to ask how to provide this better life for the kids.

In my family, the change of this amendment would affect several family members negatively. Close relatives of mine would find themselves struggling to figure out how to help their children succeed.

For example, some of my cousins, who were born here and have spent their whole life in the United states, would be faced with the possibility of no longer being citizens since their parents are undocumented. The whole family would now have to face a situation that was never even thought of when having children in the country, having to possibly leave the only place they have ever known.

Almost all of my cousins faced with this issue have never even been out of the country, so having to possibly risk losing their citizenship is a terrifying possibility. They would have to leave the only place they have ever known. The opportunities they have available to them here would no longer be an option if forced to leave.

The simple idea that this situation could actually become a reality is something no family should have to face. We all seek the simple thing the United States promises its people: “liberty and justice for all.”

But this is not the liberty and justice the US seemed to promise.

The equality and freedom the country should stand for seems to be slowly disappearing with Constitutional situations such as these. The idea of taking away someone’s rights is far from any justice, liberty, or freedom that the country has promised its immigrants, certainly emblazoned at the base of the Statue of the Liberty. The United States was built by immigrants, yet only certain immigrants are suddenly in danger of being unfairly targeted.


Should birthright citizenship be granted to American-born children of undocumented citizens?




Changing the 14th Amendment is offensive to any immigrant. This change would potentially encourage the racial tension and promote such a negative outlook on the children being faced with this dilemma. The nation thrives on the diversity being represented by this young people (some of them even in their 20s and 30s), yet we are being wrongfully attacked and stepped on for no apparent reason other than hate and accusations that our presence in this nation is somehow impacting the nation’s economy.

With the election that took place on November 6th, the Democratic party was able to take over the House for the first time in eight years. That being said, the Democrats would now be able to fight back against proposals such as these.

Bringing up the possible change to the amendment right before midterm elections fueled hatred for those advocating for immigrant rights in America. The President attempted to to sway people to vote a certain way in order to provoke a negative response, but it didn’t work due to the democracy cherished and exercised in this country. According to an article published by the New York Times, denying citizenship to American-born citizens of undocumented citizens could potentially impact minority groups across the spectrum, including Scottish, Irish, Asian, and so on.

Conservatives are constantly speaking of how the Constitution should be followed, yet lately they have remained silent. This is the time to stand up and defend the Constitution they so vigorously promote, and the shift in the political climate of Washington is hopeful evidence that democracy will still be champion in America.

Now is the time to come together and defend this unconstitutional proposal. Staying put and allowing this to go on is not the option at this point. The country is facing difficult times, and the idea of ending the birthright of children is just another obstacle being presented to the immigrants of this country.

This is not the liberty we were promised, but this is liberty that we will fight for.



Jocelyn Pinedo is a columnist for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl.

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