Fox News host Tucker Carlson discussed the history of birthright citizenship with guest Michael Anton, a former senior national security official in the Trump administration, Tuesday night.
“Everyone believes that we have a constitutional mandate to allow the illegal children of aliens to become citizens,” Carlson said at the beginning of the discussion.
“They base that belief on a misreading of the very first sentence of the 14th Amendment, which says, ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens,'” Anton said. “They leave out the part in the middle, ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ They either leave it out, or they say ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ just means you have to obey the law. Well, everybody has to obey the law. If you are a tourist coming from England or Canada or anywhere, you have to obey U.S. law while you’re in the United States. It doesn’t make your children a citizen or you a citizen.”
The concept of birthright citizenship received renewed attention after President Donald Trump’s comments that he plans to issue a future executive order to end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants and some other non-citizens were made public by Axios early Tuesday morning. (RELATED: Paul Ryan: ‘You Cannot End Birthright Citizenship With An Executive Order’)
“Subject to the jurisdiction meant something specific to the people who wrote the amendment. … They said it means that you don’t owe allegiance to any foreign power, anyone else,” Anton continued. “You are subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States, which means you are not a citizen of another country. It clearly doesn’t apply to people who aren’t citizens or who were born to people who aren’t citizens, who are subject to the jurisdiction of another country. The Constitution is clear on that point.”
Anton traced the shift in the interpretation of the 14th Amendment to bureaucratic overreach.
“There is no statute that says otherwise, but decades ago the executive branch agencies of the federal government just decided to apply this principle as if we owe everyone birthright citizenship,” Anton said. “Now why did they do that? Why do bureaucracies, typically in our country anyway, act without authority? Usually, it’s to serve the interest of liberalism. When the administrative state starts doing something that it’s not authorized to do and that no one has ever told it to do, you can bet it’s not doing so for conservative reasons or reasons that benefit American citizens.”
Anton also explained the post-slavery history of the 14th Amendment, which was in direct opposition to states that were refusing to grant citizenship to freed slaves.
“The reconstruction Congress said, ‘Okay then, we are going to put this in the Constitution. We are not going to let you get away with this. We are going to make this undeniable that every freed slave and their descendants are citizens,'” Anton said.
Carlson brought up the concept of anchor babies. (RELATED: Birthright Citizenship: What You Need To Know)
“So an amendment designed to enfranchise African-Americans being here for 400 years, 500 years, is now being used by Chinese nationals and Russians flying into Guam or Los Angeles to have children here,” Carlson said. “That would be not the original intent, I think it’s fair to say.”
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