The United States Constitution’s 14th Amendment gives people born in the country innate rights as U.S. citizens. According to National Public Radio, children born to immigrant parents in Florida and other states automatically become Americans. Certain restrictions apply, such as being born to diplomats or to hostile forces occupying the country.
Recently, Donald Trump and other Republican contenders for the presidency have suggested striking birthright citizenship from the 14th Amendment when it comes to undocumented immigrant parents. The topic of revoking existing citizenship has also been discussed. One reason cited for taking away this right is the relative rarity of automatic citizenship throughout the world – only 30 countries around the globe currently grant citizenship to children born to undocumented aliens.
Denying automatic citizenship to children with undocumented parents would have significant consequences for these families, states the Huffington Post. They would likely be ineligible for public assistance programs and medical care, and may be unable to attend public school. The issue could also create difficulties involving deportation procedures that have previously not been seen. For example, how would a child born in the country be deported if he or she was also not a citizen of any other country?
It remains to be seen how the next presidential administration will address the ongoing issue of immigration rights, including automatic citizenship. Many do not see eye to eye when it comes to addressing undocumented immigrants hoping to make a new life in America. It is to be hoped that compassion is included with common sense in future immigration legislation.