Reforming Birthright Citizenship: A Must For U.S. Population Policy


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An NPG Position Paper


Section 1, Clause 1 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares: “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.” Originally intended to protect the civil rights of freed slaves during the Reconstruction Era, the law has instead become a popular Constitutional loophole that is frequently exploited by the pro-amnesty and open-border immigration lobbies. In an effort to further their agenda of mass migration to and permanent legal settlement within the United States, these special interest groups are demanding that the U.S. adopt their interpretation of our nation’s 14th Amendment:

Any child born on American soil shall be automatically granted full legal United States citizenship. Even if one or both parents are in the U.S. illegally, the child must still be given citizenship – and therefore have the right to later sponsor a large number of family members to live in the U.S. as legal immigrants.

This application of the law – which has been widely upheld by the U.S. court system and championed by an ever-more-accommodating federal government – is par for the course in a deteriorating immigration system that encourages massive population growth. Specifically, this interpretation of the 14th Amendment has given rise to the phenomenon known as “Anchor Babies” – children whose parents intentionally give birth to them within the U.S. for the purpose of gaining citizenship. Once automatic birthright citizenship is assigned to the child, the “anchor baby” is then later used to manipulate our nation’s present chain migration policies – ensuring legal immigration privileges are granted to the child’s parents, siblings, and even adult members of their extended family.

When combined with today’s inconsistent enforcement of immigration laws, many would-be migrants see the benefits of having an “anchor baby” as outweighing the potential consequences of unlawful entry. The Social Security number and U.S. citizenship of the newborn are viewed as an investment, ensuring that the child can later sponsor his or her parents – and many other family members – to legally settle in the U.S. permanently. With recent White House directives prohibiting the prosecution of many illegal aliens, the odds have been increasingly high that the family of the baby would not be deported even if the Customs and Immigration Service tracked them down. Such blatant disregard for our laws, and the wrong-headed application of our 14th Amendment, has helped establish a chain of migration into the United States – and the resulting population impacts are enormous. In September 2015, Pew Research Center estimated that there were approximately 295,000 “anchor babies” born in the U.S. in 2013, “making up 8% of… U.S. births that year….”

For 45 years, NPG has consistently demonstrated how U.S. population growth has caused, contributed to, or worsened many of the everyday problems we experience as Americans: mounting environmental damage, a lagging economy, overburdened infrastructure, dwindling natural resources, and a diminishing quality of life. Immigration – legal, illegal, and the U.S.-born children of immigrants – will soon become the primary driver of our nation’s population growth. This irrefutable and direct link is why NPG has long held that our nation must adopt reasonable and responsible immigration policies, which includes the immediate clarification of the 14th Amendment to end the practice of automatic birthright citizenship. As part of our overall efforts to reverse population growth, the U.S. must either:

  1. Pass legislation, such as H.R. 140 (the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2015), which would change the current law regarding who is eligible for automatic birthright citizenship, or;
  2. Enact a new Constitutional Amendment that will clearly define the present 14th Amendment – and put a stop to those who are abusing “anchor baby” rules once and for all.

Passing a new Constitutional Amendment is a long and arduous task that could take years. It requires a vote of two-thirds of both houses of Congress to propose an Amendment, and then three-fourths of the states – at least 38 – must ratify it. We must begin that process now. In the meantime we must also pass H.R. 140, which would revise the current anchor baby policy with legislation that essentially prevents children born in the U.S. from becoming citizens unless at least one parent is already a citizen or legal permanent resident here. If this legislation were passed but eventually ruled unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment, efforts for a new Constitutional Amendment would already be underway – so the problem could be solved much sooner.

A multitude of bad policies and lax enforcement precedents have dangerously weakened our nation’s immigration system. We must act now to strengthen it – or pay a huge price in the long run. Clarifying America’s 14th Amendment is a cornerstone of that fight. While this change is unlikely to single-handedly resolve all of our nation’s problems, it is a critical first step towards NPG’s ultimate goal: to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth in order to preserve a livable future. 

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There is no remedy that can possibly avert disastrous Climate Change and Global Warming unless we first address the problem of world population size and growth, and its impact on the size of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.That means that we need to address the population size and growth of each nation, which together make up the world total.

World population, now over 7.3 billion, is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, an increase of almost two billion, or 23%, in the short space of only 34 years from now.In the highly unlikely event that per capita greenhouse gas emissions could possibly be decreased by an equal percentage in such a short space of time (a blink of an eye) the total amount of worldwide emission would remain the same!

From this simple illustration it would appear that without drastically reducing the size of world population, there is no solution to the problem.None at all.So then why do our world leaders pretend that there is one?What is to be gained by pretending rather than by proposing a solution that would solve the problem – a reduction in the size of world population to not more than 1- 2 billion?
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