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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Pain of Denying Citizenship By Virtue of Birth

Some American commentators have suggested solving the illegal immigration crisis by outlawing birthright citizenship, i.e., that being born here automatically confers citizenship upon you, because it encourages illegal immigration by allowing "anchor babies" to subsequently sponsor their illegally-entering or visa-overstaying parents and other family members.  These commentators (who are across the political spectrum) should note the injustice (as opposed to the inconvenience) voiced by protestors decrying a new Dominican Republic policy denying citizenship by birthright to Haitians (who share the island of Hispanola).

Readers should consider these major flaws with doing away with birthright citizenship that I explained in 2010.  Unlike other commentators whose focus is on the illegal immigrants, I focus on the risk that longtime Americans would bear under a citizenship-by-government-decree regime. The danger of scrapping birthright citizenship is not in being unfair or dispassionate towards illegal immigrations (as some will charge); rather, the immense risk is jeopardizing the citizenship rights of Americans who have always been here but who may later, tragically, be without an independent means of verifying their own identity and hence their citizenship. 

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