In a move that will address a longstanding concern, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has introduced a bill aimed at reevaluating the concept of birthright citizenship in the United States. The proposal comes as a response to the prevailing interpretation that every child born on U.S. soil is automatically granted American citizenship.
END BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP! pic.twitter.com/DsnxTZIesx
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) July 25, 2023
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, often cited in discussions of birthright citizenship, states that “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.”
Additionally, the Immigration and Nationality Act mirrors this sentiment by defining American citizenship for individuals “born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”
Gaetz’s bill aims to provide clarity and precision to the term “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in the Immigration and Nationality Act.
According to the proposed amendment, a person born in the United States would be considered an American citizen only if at least one of their parents falls into specific categories at the time of their birth – “a national of the United States,” “a refugee,” “an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence,” or “an alien performing active service in the armed forces.”
The fundamental goal of this amendment is to curb what Gaetz perceives as the misuse of birthright citizenship over the years.
“Birthright citizenship has been grossly and blatantly misapplied for decades, recently becoming a loophole for illegal aliens to fraudulently abuse our immigration system. My legislation recognizes that American citizenship is a privilege –– not an automatic right to be co-opted by illegal aliens,” he said in a press release.
Presently, the United States stands among a small number of developed nations, primarily in North and South America, that offer birthright citizenship to anyone born within its borders, irrespective of their immigration status. This policy has led to the emergence of what is commonly known as “anchor babies.”
These babies, despite their parents having no legitimate ties to the U.S., are granted birthright citizenship. Eighteen years later, they can secure their family’s presence in the country as adults.
Statistics indicate that approximately 400,000 “anchor babies” are born annually in the U.S., leading to a significant financial burden. The cost, exceeding $150 billion each year, falls on American taxpayers as these babies and their illegal immigrant parents gain access to public resources and services.