There are growing calls in the Republican Party to end birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented migrants. The debate strikes at the very core of American nationhood. Spencer Kimball reports from Chicago.
Born in the United States? Then you’re a citizen, regardless of your parents’ national origins or legal status. Many Americans view this principle as a cornerstone of their democracy.
Others, like Donald Trump, believe birthright citizenship is a problem. The billionaire real estate tycoon, reality television star and now Republican presidential front-runner would crack down on undocumented migrants by denying citizenship to their children born on US soil.
“They’re illegal,” Trump said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “Either you have a country or you don’t.”
He’s not alone. Most Republican presidential candidates back the idea outright or waver when asked to take a position. Only Jeb Bush, whose wife was born in Mexico, and Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, have publicly expressed support for the principle of birthright citizenship.
“Within the 14th amendment, there’s something called the citizenship clause, and the debate is centered on exactly who fits the definition of being subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” Jon Feere, a legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, told DW.
“All sides of the debate agree, in the least, that children born to foreign diplomats are not to be considered US citizens at birth,” Feere said. “The question is whether or not that includes children born to illegal immigrants, children born to tourists, children born to foreign students and so on.”