Pamela J Lemons
Writer Ronald D. Rotunda defends the 14th Amendment in the September 16, 2010 issue of the Chicago Tribune (Rotunda, 2010). In the article Birthright citizenship benefits the Country; Rotunda cherry picks the wording used in the amendment to find ways to justify this interpretation of the amendment (Rotunda, 2010). The original intent of the amendment was not to give automatic citizenship to children whose parents are in the United States illegally; however because of the repurposing of the amendment this is happening every day. At a time the government of the United States is facing the largest budget deficit in its history, Rotunda is suggesting that we continue to reward lawbreakers with access to government benefits and assistance. His stand on this issue is detrimental to the economic welfare of the law abiding, taxpaying citizens of this country. Understanding the 14th Amendment In 1868 when the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, it was intended for one exclusive purpose (Elbel, 2011). That purpose was to insure that recently freed Blacks were not deprived of the rights granted to them by President Abraham Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation (Elbel, 2011). Some southern states had been finding ways to deny the rights that they were entitled to, the 14th Amendment was written to prevent individual states from ever denying citizenship to Blacks who had been born in the United States. Immigration Policy and the 14th Amendment Rotunda argues that the practice of granting citizenship to anyone who is born within the United States must have been the intent of the original writers of the amendment, since it was not specified that anyone should be excluded. The problem with this argument is that at the time the amendment as ratified the United States did not have an immigration...