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Citizenship bill before Congress

Georgia Representative Nathan Deal (yes, THAT Congressman Deal) introduced a bill last year in the House, HR 1868,”To amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.”

“Clarify” is a peculiar word in this context because what the bill would do is restrict citizenship to cases where at least one parent is in the country legally. It seeks to change the applicability of the 14th Amendment by “defining” who is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States “for the purposes” of this bill.

It seems strange that someone could be under the jurisdiction of the United States, say, when they were being deported, but not under the jurisdiction when begetting children. I think the bill is dead out of the starting gates on Constitutional grounds.

Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law, May 25, 2009.

Nathan Deal is the Congressman that sent a letter to President Obama raising issues about Obama’s birthplace, although the actual text of the letter has not been published.

14 Responses to Citizenship bill before Congress

  1. Saint James February 23, 2010 at 1:09 am  (Quote) #

    I think that this bill aims to eliminate natural born citizenship to children of illegal aliens (anchor babies), e.g.,

    “(b) Definition- Acknowledging the right of birthright citizenship established by section 1 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution, a person born in the United States shall be considered `subject to the jurisdiction’ of the United States for purposes of subsection (a)(1) if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is–

    `(1) a citizen or national of the United States;

    `(2) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States whose residence is in the United States; or

    `(3) an alien performing active service in the armed forces (as defined in section 101 of title 10, United States Code).’.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong!

  2. Saint James February 23, 2010 at 1:48 am  (Quote) #

    This bill has nothing to do with President obama’s situation. This bill is trying to negate US Kim v Wong Ark but not retro active.

    Let’s vote this down!

  3. Saint James February 23, 2010 at 2:17 am  (Quote) #

    Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

    Section 1. 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.


  4. Lupin February 23, 2010 at 4:02 am  (Quote) #

    Correct me, but wouldn’t such a bill require a Constitutional Amendment la (failed) ERA?

  5. Expelliarmus February 23, 2010 at 5:42 am  (Quote) #

    Actually, I don’t think it’s so clearcut – although as worded, Deal’s bill is clearly unconstitutional.

    I think an argument could be made that undocumented aliens are not “subject to the jurisdiction” because, in a sense, they are analogous to an invading army. They aren’t hostile, but they didn’t enter permissively, and they are living in the US covertly.

    However, this argument would only apply to undiscovered unlawful aliens, and only those who entered illegally – not those who overstayed their visas or were in the country fighting deportation proceedings. (The act of litigating the deportation proceeding is in itself a submission to jurisdiction).

    Deal’s bill would limit citizenship only to children of legal permanent residents, and I do think that would clearly violate the 14th amendment. Anyone who enters the US legally is clearly “subject to the jurisdiction” — and of course there are many visitors and temporary residents in the US who have entered legally and are fully complying with all legal requirements, but are not permanent residents or citizens.

  6. Scientist February 23, 2010 at 6:45 am  (Quote) #

    I don’t think undocumented aliens are analogous to an invading army. Undocumented aliens, if apprehended, are subject to the civil justice system, while invading soldiers would be prisoners of war. If aliens crossing from Mexico shoot a Border Patrol officer, they are charged with murder. If they were invading soldiers, that would be a legal act under the laws of war. They could be killed in battle or taken as POWs, but not charged with murder.

    Jurisdiction has nothing to do with whether one obeys the law or even acknowledges the law as valid, but rather whether the law is applicable to you if you are apprehended.

  7. Black Lion February 23, 2010 at 8:49 am  (Quote) #

    Anyone remember the following “report” by a birther by the name of Stephen Tonchen? It has been recycled…And of course it cites Donofrio and the discredited Western Center for Journalism, but it is conherent enough to be scary….

    “The U.S. Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. Anyone born after that date must be a “natural born citizen” in order to be eligible to serve as president [01].

    According to Dr. Lawrence Solum, a law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, we know two things for sure about the meaning of “natural born citizen”:

    People who are born in the United States, of parents who are U.S. citizens, are definitely, without doubt, natural born citizens.

    People who acquire U.S. citizenship through naturalization are definitely not natural born citizens [02].”

    That was just the introduction, which of course is flawed….But it gets worse…Look at the next couple of paragraphs…

    “Members of the mainstream news media generally believe that all persons born in the United States are “natural born citizens”, regardless of their parents’ citizenship. But this belief, though widely held, is not consistent with what the Supreme Court has said regarding natural born citizenship, nor it is consistent with American and English history.

    Six years after the 14th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court — in Minor v. Happersett (1874) — commented that, if you were born in the United States and both of your parents were U.S. citizens at the time of your birth, you are, without doubt, a natural born citizen. In the same case, the Supreme Court also remarked that, if you were born in the United States and your parents were not U.S. citizens when you were born, your natural born citizenship is in doubt [04]. The Supreme Court has never resolved this “doubt” because, until now, there has never been any need to do so [05].”

    So by the end of the introduction the so called “paper or report” has already given out some flawed information. Especially when it cites Minor and not Wong. It is kind of long and full of such supposition and wrong conclusions. It looks like the birthers will try and bring it back…

  8. Lupin February 23, 2010 at 9:28 am  (Quote) #

    I like the disclaimer at the end:

    “The author of this Primer is neither a historian nor a lawyer.”

    No sh*t, Sherlock!

  9. Mike February 23, 2010 at 10:40 am  (Quote) #

    I think an argument could be made that undocumented aliens are not “subject to the jurisdiction” because, in a sense, they are analogous to an invading army. They aren’t hostile, but they didn’t enter permissively, and they are living in the US covertly.

    I would disagree – jurisdiction in this sense is not contingent but absolute. The United States has absolute authority within its borders in a normal and normative sense, whether someone has entered legally or otherwise.

  10. Black Lion February 23, 2010 at 11:04 am  (Quote) #

    Yet the birthers think the author is some kind of expert and more knowledgable than real lawyers and constitutional experts…

  11. Dr. Conspiracy February 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm  (Quote) #

    I agree 100%.

  12. Dr. Conspiracy February 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm  (Quote) #

    This is a link to Solum’s paper, which I am familiar with.

  13. Dr. Conspiracy February 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm  (Quote) #

    Some of the birther rhetoric against Obama relies on the contention that he was born with dual citizenship, and therefore not fully “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.” If the Deal bill passed (which it won’t) and it withstood the inevitable constitutional challenges (which it couldn’t), the end result would be to Define jurisdiction under the 14th Amendment in such a way that Obama could not be excluded.

  14. Black Lion February 24, 2010 at 9:18 am  (Quote) #

    So the author of this paper basically took liberties and slanted things to a birther perspective? I guess that makes sense since it is obvious because he cites the infamous western journalism paper as one of his sources of information.

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