Generally, every child born in the United States is granted American citizenship. This is known as birthright citizenship. This policy has recently been the subject of scrutiny as many opponents of birthright citizenship have expressed desire to end this historic tradition. The main argument for ending birthright citizenship is the concern that children of undocumented parents can become American citizens if born in the United States.
Republicans in Congress have argued that birthright citizenship can lead to birth tourism, where immigrants come to the United States solely to have a child in order to gain American citizenship. Bills have recently been introduced in the House and Senate, which propose an end birthright citizenship.
Those against ending birthright citizenship cite the 14th Amendment, which states people born in the United States are citizens of the United States. This amendment has been the authority used for many children born by illegal immigrants to gain American citizenship. The opposition claims the intent behind the 14th Amendment was not to allow children of illegal immigrants to be afforded this right.
Many other countries have already repealed birthright citizenship in recent years. In 2007 Australia repealed birthright citizenship and in 2005 it was also repealed by New Zealand and Ireland. The United States and Canada are the only two developed countries in the world that still recognize birthright citizenship. If the United States ended birthright citizenship it will be in good company with several other countries that have ended this practice.
However, if Congress decides to end birthright citizenship this would be a dramatic change in a long-standing tradition that has been in place since American government began. A change in this policy would rock the foundation that America was built upon.
Ending the birthright citizenship may also require every child born in the United States, including those born to United States citizens to apply for citizenship. This could burden the already clogged immigration system with the addition task of processing citizenship requests for every child born in the United States.
Failing to grant citizenship to children of undocumented parents will increase the number of undocumented immigrants. Unauthorized immigration to the United States is largely in the quest for jobs. While some immigrants do travel to the United States for the purpose of having their children on United States soil, automatic birthright is not as large of a motivating factor. An end to automatic birthright will not necessarily deter undocumented immigrants from coming to the United States to better their economic situation.
To discuss applying for United States citizenship or any other immigration question, contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal is an immigration attorney located in the Silicon Valley.