|Italian immigrants at Ellis Island, 1905. Photo by Lewis Hine via Locust St.|
Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel at HuffPost, on support among the GOP clown car for Steve King's bill to end birthright citizenship in the US:
Matter of fact, he was right about that, though possibly not for the right reasons: it wasn't meant to apply to "illegal aliens" because they didn't exist when the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. There was no law restricting the presence of noncitizens on US soil until Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 (starting off with an explicitly racist bang). It clearly applied to legal aliens, but that was the only kind of aliens we had.
When the question did come up, it was with reference to the Chinese Exclusion Acts, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), a US citizen born around 1871 to Chinese immigrant parents in San Francisco who had traveled outside the country and was being denied re-entry. The Supreme Court ruled
that the citizenship language in the Fourteenth Amendment encompassed essentially everyone born in the U.S.—even the U.S.-born children of foreigners—and could not be limited in its effect by an act of Congress.That is, an act such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. Or Representative King's unconstitutional bill. It applied to the children of undocumented migrants as soon as anybody thought to ask the question, and it still does. (Paul, along with Graham, now calls for a new constitutional amendment to "fix" the "problem" according to Stein and Terkel, which is at least not legally illiterate; Trump, Walker, and Jindal double down on idiocy, and Santorum seems to think birthright citizenship is already illegal but nobody noticed.)
Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.