U.S. Citizenship: one of the most prized, and sought after positions in the world. The Framers of the Constitution address the issue in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4
The Congress shall have Power To…establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…
In The Federalist 42 James Madison addressed the situation as the fourth article of Confederation struggled in how to define a trail to citizenship, because that law laid with each state at the time. Now, it was going to be incorporated into the Constitution. Madison seemed to speak the sentiment of most when at the Convention he expressed his wish “to invite foreigners of merit & republican principles among us (not MS-13, cartel members, terrorists). America was indebted to emigration for her settlement & prosperity.” 1 Although Congress passed the uniform Rule of Naturalization, nothing effective came about till 1795.
Key criteria for citizenship of the Naturalization Act of 1795 remain part of American law. These include: (1) five years of (lawful) residence within the United States; (2) a “good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States”; (3) the taking of a formal oath to support the Constitution and to renounce any foreign allegiance; and (4) the renunciation of any hereditary titles.2
Because America was a young country, and growing, there wasn’t a whole lot of concern on the number of immigrants, just their character. The Louisiana Purchase opened a huge area for new citizens, and westward expansion kept the question of citizenship saw little legal consideration till after the civil war.
The Civil War ended in 1865, and with it came the Reconstruction Amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th). The verbiage in Amendment 14, Section 1 is crystal clear in regard to citizenship:
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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Here is part of a transcript of what Mark Levin had to say:
“Birthright citizenship: I have discussed this a few times in my radio career – I think 2009. Maybe it was 2010. I think once or twice since then. And unfortunately, I had to watch on TV, while I was in California, some so-called experts tell us – and former Bush appointees, and a former superior court judge in New Jersey tell us – that the Constitution embraces birthright citizenship, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. Well that, of course, is completely false.
“And I don’t know why people who call themselves Constitutionalists swerve back and forth, lurched from the Constitution to Supreme Court decisions, and back and forth. First, let’s figure out what the Constitution says.
“I’ve actually spent my life on the Constitution. I wasn’t a superior court judge in New Jersey. I wasn’t a professor for doughnuts and coffee at Shmegegge University or what have you. And this is one of the areas I have poured over, over the decades.
The framers of the Constitution set forth the basic law. And then we have, after the Civil War, three amendments to the Constitution – the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth – called the Civil War Amendments. And we know pretty much what occurred.
“Professor Erler was testifying. He said, ‘It’s my considered opinion, Congress has the authority, under Section Five of the Fourth Amendment, to define the jurisdiction of the United States [of the Fourteenth Amendment, of course]. Indeed, it is my contention that Congress has exercised that power on many occasions, most recently in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and I would say they also exercised it with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.”
“He points out, ‘Senator Jacob Howard … .’ You are now going to know more than anybody else, ladies and gentlemen. You know, one of the things I find when I sign books, and it’s good to do it because I get to talk to so many of you, people say, ‘Mark, your show is different because you really get into the substance.’ So when you’re in a debate format or a political format or a classroom format or this format, you need to back it up, and that’s what we do here. We back it up.
“Senator Jacob Howard, the author of the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment – he spoke – he told us what he meant. He defined who would fall within the ‘jurisdiction of the United States.’ Ready?
“‘Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, [meaning the states – their jurisdiction] is, by virtue of natural law and national law, a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great issue in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.’
Is it not plain English? Is he not as clear as can be, that it does not include aliens, it does not include foreigners, it does not include families or with ambassadors or foreign ministers?
“So, the author of the citizenship clause intended to count foreigners, aliens and those born to ambassadors, foreign ministers, as outside the jurisdiction of the United States. That’s Senator Jacob Howard. He knew, as his reference to natural law indicates that the republican basis for citizenship is consent – consent of the country.
“You can’t self-immigrate. You can’t claim jurisdiction because you happen to walk into the United States.
“Senator Lyman Trumbull, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a powerful supporter of the Fourteenth Amendment, remarked on May 30, 1866, that the jurisdiction clause includes those ‘not owing allegiance to anybody else … It’s only those persons who come completely within our jurisdiction, who are subject to our laws, that we think of making citizens; and there can be no objection to the proposition that such persons should be citizens.’ Now this was familiar language.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1866 defined citizens of the United States as ‘all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed.’ ‘Not subject to any foreign power.’
“It is universally agreed that the immediate impulse of the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment was to constitutionalize (constitutionalize) the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was an attempt to put the question of citizenship and matter of federal civil rights beyond the reach of simple congressional majorities. Thus, it was clear, the idea of allegiance, ‘not subject to any foreign power,’ was central to understanding the jurisdiction clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” 3
What it is up with current invasion of our country by a foreign army? Our citizenship is being a mockery of by the Biden administration, and it leaves me wondering who the president’s allegiance is too? THIS is truly an invasion and an insult to America’s values regarding citizenship!
No American is overly concerned about a Mexican coming to America and working. But we have MS-13, cartel members, single Chinese, and dubious mid-east single males of military age swarming our border. These are not the people I want seeking citizenship in my country!!!
I want people seeking citizenship here that are going to help, not hinder ,and degrade my country. Should we lose control of our citizenship, we won’t have a country, we will have a third world, banana republic, not the USA. Vote like your life depends on it, because it does! Make sure to participate in the Primary!!!
- The Federalist papers # 42 James Madison.
- The Heritage Foundation Guide to the Constitution, Naturalization
- Mark Levin: ‘Completely False’ That Children Born to Illegals Have Constitutional Right to Citizenship. (Matzav.com Newscenter)