Sunday, January 16, 2011

Birthright Citizenship

A few days after my first grandchild is born I begin thinking about birthright citizenship.  I went with his father to "register" the birth.  They live in the UK.  Its not like the U.S. where the hospital and doctor do it for you.  Having the parent actually visit Vital Statistics and give information on the child and his parents gives the birth a monumental feeling.  In what is typical of our global world these days, when the clerk asks the father where the parents are born, the locations given are Bryan, Texas and Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The mother's family immigrated from Italy to Argentina a century and a half ago, so the baby has Italian citizenship - meaning he will be able to obtain a European Union passport, just like his mother.  He will also be an American.

Besides the posibility of Argentine citizenship, he is also eligible to be a Mexican citizen because one of his great grandfathers was born in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.  Yet the young parents have chosen to stick with the E.U. and the U.S.A. for now.  If they stay in the U.K. long enough they will request British citizenship also.

It's complicated and expensive, the passport applications for the U.S. and E.U. add up.  Yet, as the baby's father told me, in this xenophobic world, the safest thing to do - is for little Tommy to be a citizen as of many First World countries as he can.

P.S. The baby's Italian citizenship has an interesting twist.  While his eligibility is based on his mother's maternal great grandparents, the story goes that his father's ancestors were tailors who came to northern Mexico from Italy - four hundred years ago.


Is it time to reconsider birthright citizenship?

Thursday, January 6, 2011; 5:30 PM

There is nothing sacred about American birthright citizenship. But there also is no pressing reason to change two centuries of constitutional law and tradition.

The Republican-led rebellion rising out of state legislatures to redefine the 14th Amendment and end guaranteed citizenship to anyone born in the country is a distraction of epic proportions.

Instead of helping fix the nation's immigration system, the insurrectionists are recklessly challenging the national government's power to decide who is an American and the system of federalism itself.

The model state citizenship law, plus a novel "compact" creating different types of birth certificates, which were released this week by Republican legislators from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Georgia - with legislators in perhaps 40 states said to be in tow - are unprecedented in their coordinated state attack on federal power...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People who are here illegally deserve no benefits from the government what so ever. If they have children here illegally they do not deserve any rights as well. The constitution amendment 14 needs to be changed. It was passed so that the slaves were allowed citizenship. Not for everyone born here of illegal people. I have seen people come to the us just so their children be born here and then go back to their countries. The children now have Us citizenship. That is wrong and I hope they change the constitution.