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AS I SEE IT

Posted 8/18/10 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

We all know that there are a couple of ways to become an American citizen. One, a baby automatically becomes an American citizen when they are born in the United States. And two, if a person immigrates to the United States, they can become a naturalized citizen.
Those are the only ways that a person can become an American citizen as outlined in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
But, something is happening in this country today that has many people concerned that American citizenship is being given away or worse yet, being sold.
Consider what is happening every day in American hospitals where a baby is born to illegal immigrants. While the parents may be illegal, the day that their child is born, he or she automatically becomes an American citizen and as such is entitled to all the rights and benefits of all other American citizens.
Second, is the speculators in foreign countries who are selling $20,000 packages that include round trip air fare for two, several days in a New York hotel and obstetrical services for a new baby. While the parents are citizens of a foreign country, simply by being born in the United States, the baby automatically becomes an American citizen.
So now the question being asked by many is did the framers of the 14th Amendment intend for U.S. citizenship to be granted to children born in the United States to illegal aliens? Or did they ever imagine the day would come when there would be up to 400,000 babies born to illegal aliens in this country each year who would automatically become American citizens by virtue of their being born here?
Which is why there are some in Washington, D.C. who are now wondering whether or not the time has come to rewrite the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees American citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’’
While it is highly unlikely that Congress will rewrite the 14th Amendment, the questions being posed are valid in light of the illegal immigrant problems in Arizona, California and along the U.S.-Mexico border. States are battling with the federal government to step up border patrols and to keep illegal aliens out of the country, and more importantly, keep them out of their states where they are overrunning schools and hospitals.
But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R. - S.C.), thinks giving automatic citizenship to children of non-residents is a mistake, and he along with others in Washington, D.C. are calling for hearings on changing the 14th Amendment.
“People come here to have babies,” says Graham. “They come here to drop a child — it’s called drop and leave. To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to an emergency room, have a child and that child is automatically an American citizen. That shouldn’t be the case — that attracts people here for all the wrong reasons.”
And Graham and the others supporting a change to the 14th Amendment aren’t alone in that belief. Just as a majority of Americans support the efforts by Arizona lawmakers to staunch the flood of illegal immigrants into their state, a recent Rasmussen poll reveals that a similarly large block of Americans (67 percent) believes citizenship should not be automatically conferred upon American-born children of illegals.
The bottom line to many Americans is that there are people in the world who are abusing our laws and our system not only in entering our country illegally, but are then having children who are automatically becoming American citizens.