Birthright Citizenship (Jus Soli)

Birthright Citizenship (Jus Soli)


The 14th Amendment of the Constitution provides "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."

This was adopted after the Civil War because many Southern states sought to disenfranchise their black citizens so they could not vote in state or federal elections. This overturned the Dred Scott case where the Supreme Court held that African Americans could not be citizens of the United States.

Jus Solis was the law of the land in England since at least the early 1600s and the law of the United States, and most of the countries of the Americas, which were settled by immigrants. This is different than the Jus Sanguinis (or law of the blood), which was common in continental Europe and Asia such that to be a Japanese or German or Italian citizen you had to have a Japanese, German or Italian parent as the case may be.  

Congress initially excluded Native Americans living on reservations from citizenship and didn’t change that to include them as full US citizens until the 1920’s.

It is guesstimated that about 6% of annual births in the US are to parents who are not citizens, nor permanent legal residents. The President apparently believes he can disenfranchise them with a stroke of his pen and believes that his new Supreme Court majority will uphold this. While most legal scholars disagree with the President, he is apparently intent on trying to do so. Even many conservative scholars think this is a very bad idea, as it will create a permanent underclass of disenfranchised residents with no capacity to vote.

It might be a very good idea for you to vote in this election.


Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin

Dated: 11/2/18

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