Tancredo Asks Where Supreme Court Nominee Alito Stands on Birthright Citizenship

PHX News

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) urged Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter to ask the President?s Supreme Court nominee about the supposed guarantee of birthright citizenship in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Dear Chairman Specter,

As you prepare to convene hearings on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, I would encourage you to ascertain his judicial philosophy with regard to the issue of so-called ?birthright citizenship.? As you know, the United States currently grants citizenship automatically to every person born here ? including legal permanent residents, temporary visitors, non-immigrants and illegal aliens. A consensus is building, however, to end this destructive practice.

While this issue may not be as high profile as abortion, affirmative action, or gay rights, how Congress and the courts deal with the issue of birthright citizenship will impact everything from the cost and quality of our education and health care systems to ? as we saw in the Hamdi case ? fighting terrorism. Your committee?s rigorous examination of Judge Alito?s judicial philosophy with regard to birthright citizenship is critically important.

Most people believe that the Constitution mandates automatic citizenship for persons born on U.S. soil. Some legal scholars, however, dispute this notion. The operative part of the Fourteenth Amendment where this dispute is rooted reads, ?All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the Unites States??

The Fourteenth Amendment?s first requirement for citizenship, being born or naturalized in the U.S., is straightforward. To determine what ?subject to the jurisdiction thereof? means, however is more complicated. When one looks to two prominent architects of the Fourteenth Amendment for guidance, Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbell and Michigan Senator Jacob Howard, it becomes clear that it was not the intent of the authors to create a universal entitlement to birthright citizenship. Trumbell argued that the U.S.?s jurisdiction was meant to cover only persons who did ?not ow[e] allegiance to anybody else.? Howard was even clearer, noting that the Amendment ?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??

As you know, Congress will likely move on comprehensive immigration legislation later this year. A number of Members of Congress have expressed a desire to clarify that automatic birthright citizenship will not be conferred on children of illegal aliens as part of that process. As such, it will provide a timely opportunity to raise this issue with Judge Alito during confirmation hearings.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.


Tom Tancredo

Member of Congress

5 Responses to “Tancredo Asks Where Supreme Court Nominee Alito Stands on Birthright Citizenship”

  1. Ralph Says:

    The issue has already been decided.

  2. Taylor Kirk Says:

    Our debate this week is on immigration and the border fence Rep. Duncan Hunter wants to build. I’d love to hear youyr opinion!

    The Latin Americanist

  3. Watchdog Says:

    Ralph, the amendment was worded in such a way as to allow slaves to become citizens, not illegal aliens.

    It is far from being decided and we are one of the few countries of the world that allows this.

  4. Ralph Says:

    The Supreme Court already addressed the issue. Be wise. Hold back. Let the other nut cases make fools of themselves

  5. domingo arong Says:

    The phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in the Citizenship Clause is enclosed within a PAIR OF COMMAS. And this means that the phrase enclosed is “non-restrictive”; it is placed NOT as a modifier of the element preceding it.

    A comma placed before a coordinating conjunction (in this instance, “and”) is said to join TWO INDEPENDENT CLAUSES.

    A repeated subject in a compound sentence (or in two independent clauses joined by coordinators) may be omitted, to be understood rather than to be stated.

    Then, try to analyze why Senator Doolittle (at p. 2897, 1st col.) asked:

    “But, sir, the Senator has drawn me off from the immediate question before the Senate. The immediate question is whether the language he [Senator Howard] uses, ‘all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States’ includes these Indians. I maintain that it does.”

    Note that the phrase “all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” is printed in quotation marks, which means that the speaker merely quoted the phrase.

    Grammatically read (omission of repeated subject, pair of commas with the first comma placed before the coordinating conjunction “and”), does the Citizenship Clause confer a SECOND CATEGORY of still unrecognized citizens of the United States?

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and [all persons] subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

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