Does the Constitution Mandate Universal Birthright Citizenship? Here’s the Answer

This should start some lively debate!


Who is a United States citizen by birth? This question has increasingly received national attention, in large part because of President Donald Trump’s promise to “end birthright citizenship.”

As I explain, however, in my recent Heritage Foundation legal memo titled “The Citizenship Clause’s Original Meaning and What It Means Today,” Congress definitively settled that question in 1866 when it passed the 14th Amendment. The problem is that Congress’ answer was far different from what Americans today often assume.

Even though the U.S. government has long abided by a policy of universal birthright citizenship—that is, of treating all persons born in the United States as citizens, regardless of the immigration status of their parents—the reality is that the Constitution doesn’t mandate this policy.

In fact, while the Citizenship Clause eliminated race-based barriers to birthright citizenship, Congress expressly intended to limit birthright citizenship based on the strength of a person’s relationship to the United States.

More importantly, the government today needn’t amend the Constitution in order to restrict citizenship for the U.S.-born children of illegal or non-immigrant aliens. It could simply stop abiding by a broad policy never required by the Constitution in the first place.

Context and Legislative History:

In the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court held that the U.S.-born descendants of African slaves were not and could never become citizens. In short, black people were simply Africans, not African-Americans, and relegated to the status of perpetual aliens in the nation where they were forced to live and die.

This holding created a previously nonexistent permanent barrier to citizenship based on a person’s race or national origin. It also left the freed slaves essentially stateless—they logically owed allegiance to no sovereign except the United States government, but were nonetheless permanent aliens.

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What you say is true Pat. However, the Constitution early in the last century was supposedly altered by the supposed ratification of both the 16th and 17th amendments to it. There are documents which show that this did not actually take place, as required by the Constitution, but was certified by the Secretary of State. Since then the "States" are not represented by the Senate, it has become a second house of Representatives elected for six years and not 2. The States lost their power and the system is now completely "democratic". In other  words, using our John McCain as an example, corrupted by special interest from all over the country and probably the world to collect campaign funds and benefits from anyone rich enough to buy a Senator or a bunch for ratification of a treaty or passage of some bill that is detrimental to the interests of the State, as in Arizona, and it's people. How else can we figure the way Mr. McCain voted against getting rid of Obama care as the deciding vote after years of saying he would vote it out? The States have lost that power and so have the people. The Senate is realistically working for the "Banks" and the monied people and companies that can afford them. They surely don't answer to US. Who or what do you think would choose the attendants to a Con Con or Article V convention and how can we expect to control something that, likely, we would not be invited to in the first place nor allowed into in the last place?????

Interesting but not sure it answers my question.  The 16th Amendment pertains to income tax.  The 17th is more likely the amendment that is a problem to A5.  But I'm not so sure the the Senators being appointed by state legislaters/assemblies is any better than what we the people manage to screw up.  Or do you think Gov Ducey would do a better job appointing senators?  McSally case in point.  Deals would be made and carried out. No different than it is now when a grossly uninformed electorate elects.  I'm still wondering: why is the Art V in there and what did the framers intend?

Exactly right, Pat… the most obvious "tell" in any debate about Article V is when opponents avoid addressing the most fundamental aspect of the matter, that the Framers intentionally wrote this second path to amendment into the original text of the Constitution specifically for the states in the event that Congress either failed or refused to propose amendments of the proper kind. Contemporaneous notes of the Philadelphia Convention memorialize their deliberations, their rationale as stated above, and their unanimous approval of the language and its purpose.

Everything else is a diversion, and usually based on fear, a fear that is typically projection, the irrational belief that "everyone is as (fill in the blank) as I am." Corrupt, untrustworthy, ignorant, malleable, greedy, phony, you name it. Sad, but there's a LOT that's sad in Behavioral Science 101.

What's encouraging, though, is when someone does, even if only for a moment, shed the misinformation that they have been fed by naysayers and advocates of the Big Government status quo, and comes out from behind the blinders and actually asks for answers, as Russell has done above.

In response to the legitimate concern that he has rightly expressed of the risks involved in a political event such as this that, if successful, could have incredibly game-changing implications on the explosion of originalist freedom at the state level, I offer the following…

There are SIX basic safeguards against a hijacked "runaway convention":

1) The subject, or the "scope," of the Convention is determined by the "call," or the specific wording of each state's application to Congress for the Convention to take place. The #COSProject is advocating for a convention that is strictly limited to:

- Imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government,
- Limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and
- Limiting the terms of office for its officials, members of Congress and the Judiciary.

2) All Delegate / Commissioners attending the Convention will be legally bound by legislative mandates from their states to adhere to the subject / scope of the call. They may not submit proposals that fall outside those parameters. Delegates will be monitored and can be recalled immediately and replaced by their states, many of which have legal penalties for failure to perform.

3) Any "rogue" Delegate / Commissioner at the Convention trying to introduce a proposal outside the scope of the call will be ruled out of order by the chair of any committee, and his or her non-germane proposal will be declared "void ab initio", or dead on arrival, and there will be no further discussion of the matter.

4) Despite all of the above, should any proposal that is not within the parameters of the call somehow manage to pass out of the Convention, Congress would declare any such proposed amendment to be outside the legal scope of the convention and thus not eligible for ratification. That proposal would not be sent out to the states for ratification.

5) The biggest safeguard, however, is that in order to become part of the Constitution, no less than 38 state legislatures, BOTH chambers, must ratify any and every legally recognized proposal coming out of the Convention. That means that it only takes the leaders of 13 chambers nationwide to kill any proposed amendment. All those leaders need to do is refuse to call it up for a vote, and the proposal dies.

6) Finally, every step of this process can be legally challenged in federal court and appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. In spite of its many failings, SCOTUS has established a clear precedent in Article V cases of ruling with the original intent of our Founders.

That's the Truth. Learn more. Sign the petition ==> #COSProject

I have expressed my concerns, I won't try and continue that path.  Let's add a bit more to my concerns.  Controlled by mandate, okay, but what happens when one of the first motions is to ignore the state's mandates with a put me on this committee, and we just passed a motion that you can't toss me off....  Followed by a ...we now can do what the hell we want motion?

I asked for a list of 100 people that we could trust.  I sure cannot come up with such a list.  I jokingly said, I trust two, one of which is me, and I am not at all sure about the other one.  I was only partially joking.  For example, in our state legislature and political leaders, we have outfits like ALEC in pretty much control, doing their own thing -- WITH OUR OWN LEGISLATURE!  If you should attempt to put together a list of 100, here is the list of just ALEC (there are other organizations like ALEC as well) people, with a clear conflict of interest to cope with.  ( I will post AZ ALEC members in a separate msg here.)

Iet me finish up with this:  There are OTHER less risky efforts that can be done.  I will participate however I can to help.  One of my things I see is to repeal the 17th amendment, I think that would be a good start.  I will help.  But not with this effort.  The other thing, Pat is absolutely right, this is not the right place for this discussion.  Start a new thread, and let's get back to what?  14th amendment, wan'st it?  I think.

I will post the AZ ALEC that they ALSO impact abortion issues in our state, each and every one of them needing quizzed on their stand on abortion.  See my following message.

ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's

Arizona Legislators with ALEC Ties

House of Representatives

  • Rep. John Allen, Majority Leader (R-15) 2019 Arizona State Chair[1][2]
  • Rep. Nancy Barto (R-15), Health and Human Services Task Force[3]
  • Rep. Russel Bowers (R-25), Received a $10,000 scholarship from Reynolds to attend 2018 ALEC Annual Meeting[4]
  • Rep. Noel Campbell (R-01), attended 2018 ALEC Annual Meeting[5]
  • Rep. Regina Cobb (R-5), attended 2018 ALEC annual meeting[6]
  • Rep. Mark Finchem (R-11)[7]
  • Rep. Travis Grantham (R-12)[7]
  • Rep. Gail Griffin (R-14); Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force[3]
  • Rep. John Kavanagh (R-23); attended 2018 ALEC Annual Meeting.[6]
  • Rep. Anthony T. Kern (R-20)[7]
  • Rep. Jay Lawrence (R-23)[1]
  • Rep. Becky Nutt (R-14)[7]
  • Rep. Kevin Payne (R-21)[7]
  • Rep. Tony Rivero (R-21), attended 2018 ALEC annual meeting[6]
  • Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-6), received ALEC "scholarship" funds in 2012[8] and 2013,[9] spotted at ALEC fundraising dinner in March 2014[10]
  • Rep. Ben Toma (R-22)[7]
  • Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-16)[11]
  • Rep. Jeff Weninger (R-17), registered member


Arizona State Treasurer

Office of the Courts

  • Jerry Landau, Government Affairs Director, "ALEC Government/Legislative Staff"[13]

Phoenix City Council

  • Councilman Sal DiCiccio (District 6)[17]

Buckeye City Council

  • Councilman Patrick HagEstad, City Council District 4, "ACCE Elected Official Non-Member" [13]

Former Representatives

Former Senators

Well, Russell, it would appear that you didn't read my post in its entirety... if such a motion were made in any committee, it would be rejected by the chair as beyond the scope of the committee, because there WILL BE NO COMMITTEE whose subject matter will include changing the rules of the convention.

So, if the rest of your fear-mongering and anti-American guilt-by-association rant is based on that specious premise, I'm afraid that this is all you'll not be getting from me by way of response.

The difference is that if the Senator went into business for himself the State would recall him and replace him. It is orders of magnitude difficult for the voters to do this and just as McCain was impossible to get rid of for the people. The State of Arizona seeing that they were being sold out could pull his plug. The State, Arizona, has much more ability to defend itself than the voters in the state. There is a Gov. and Legislature and lawyers all in place and paid to defend the State against attack on it's sovereignty and interests. Do you see now why the power brokers wanted the change making the Senate a wild card they can play if they are willing to put forth the cash to get what they want.



My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
Thomas Jefferson



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