The Front Line Against Birthright Citizenship

by Jonathan Blitzer

Last month, Maria Isabel Perales Serna, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who’s lived in Texas for the past fourteen years, risked deportation to give a signed and sworn statement as part of a lawsuit against the state. Perales’s daughter was born last year in McAllen, Texas, but when Perales went to the Department of State Health Services to obtain a birth certificate she was turned away. (In Texas, hospitals issue a provisional document, and Health Services provides the birth certificate.) No one disputed her daughter’s legal status. The problem was that Perales herself did not have proof of identity the state would accept. Now her child is an American citizen without the papers to prove it. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of other parents across Texas are in the same bind. “I worry that, one of these days, they might think my daughter isn’t mine, and that they could separate me from my baby,” Perales said. “If someone kidnaps my daughter, what am I going to do without papers to prove that I am her mother?”

New White House Campaign Will Encourage Legal Immigrants to Become Citizens

By Julia Preston

White House officials announced the start of a nationwide campaign on Thursday to encourage legal immigrants to become American citizens, which could add millions of voters to the electorate in time for the presidential election next year.

With about 8.8 million legal residents in the country who are eligible to become citizens, White House officials said they were trying to make it easier to complete the final steps to citizenship. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency in charge of naturalizations, will offer practice tests on cellphones for the civics exam that immigrants must pass, but which many find daunting, and will hold preparatory workshops in rural areas. Applicants will also be able to pay the fee — still a hefty $680 — with a credit card.

This one chart shows you the politics of U.S. citizenship

By Tom K. Wong

Donald Trump has reignited the immigration debate in the United States. One of his main immigration reform proposals is to end birthright citizenship, that is, to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to undocumented parents. He struck a nerve. Birthright citizenship divides Americans along clear partisan, ideological, and demographic lines. But while this is one of the more radical elements of Trump’s broader immigration reform proposals, the issue of birthright citizenship is not new.

In the House, resolutions and bills have been introduced on the issue in every Congress since 1993: House Resolution 129 (1993-1994), House Resolution 93 (1995-1996), the Citizenship Reform Act (1997-2000), H.R. 190 (2001-2002), the Citizenship Reform Act again (2003-2006), and now theBirthright Citizenship Act (2007-present).

Retain birthright citizenship: Our view

USA Today Editorial Board

Ratified in 1868 in the wake of the Civil War, the Constitution’s 14th Amendment is abundantly clear: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”

Thirty years later, the amendment was challenged after Congress passed a law to exclude Chinese immigrants. The Supreme Court heldthat the amendment confers automatic citizenship on anyone born in the USA. Through multiple waves of immigration since then, it has faced no serious challenge.