Thursday, March 17, 2011
Birthright Citizenship: Debating the Interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment
Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment provides:
"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."
For some, this provision is ambiguous, especially when it is applied to persons born in the United States of non-citizen parents who are not authorized to be within the nation's borders.
A fascinating discussion - - - styled as a debate - - - between John Eastman, of Chapman School of Law, and Ediberto Román, (pictured left) of Florida International University, illuminates the interpretations of this provision with reference to constitutional history and current controversies.
Eastman is the author of the paper Born in the USA: Rethinking Birthright Citizenship in the Wake of 9/11, based on his Congressional testimony contending that section one of the Fourteenth Amendment has been misconstrued as mandating birthright citizenship and that the clause was merely a"codification" of the 1866 Civil Rights Act.
Román is the author of the book Citizenship and its Exclusions: A Classical, Constitutional, and Critical Race Critique, which we discussed here.
The video and audio of the proceedings, part of a conference at FIU on Citizenship can be accessed over at Nuestras Voces Latinas here.