What determines citizenship?

I was born lucky. I didn’t have to fill out paperwork or take a test or hurdle red tape to become an American. I was just born on American soil. Should being born in this country guarantee you citizenship?I always thought so. The Constitution makes mention of a “natural born Citizen” and says that you have to be one to run for the office of president or vice president.

The Fourteenth Amendment, to ensure that former slaves received citizenship, clarified “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.”

Considering how muddied the waters of Constitutional law can be sometimes, this one seems pretty clear cut. But the recent conversations on illegal immigration and “anchor babies” has made us take a second look at what seemed to be a simple right.

The millions of illegal immigrants in the United States produce hundreds of thousands of American-born children each year. These children qualify for benefit programs, including welfare, Medicaid and education. And upon turning 21, they can sponsor the rest of their family to become American citizens. It’s surely a burden on the taxpayers created by illegal actions.

That is why some feel that children of illegal immigrants should not receive automatic citizenship. Only those born here legally or those who go through the legal channels should receive the benefits of being an American. After all, many countries don’t have birthright citizenship. Many in Europe require at least one parent to be a citizen as well.

A bill introduced to the house in 2009 is calling for birthright citizenship to only be granted if one or both of the child’s parents are legal immigrants or citizens. It currently has 92 co-sponsors.

By taking away the citizenship of the child, the government would prevent many illegal immigrants from having a sponsor for citizenship down the road.

But America has birthright citizenship for a reason. It was created to ensure that everyone received the rights laid out in the Constitution.

If everyone in America had to take the citizenship test to become a citizen.well, let’s just say I have doubts about how many of us would pass the test.

Is illegal immigration wrong? Absolutely. That’s why it’s called illegal. Is it a problem? Absolutely. But taking away citizenship of children born on American soil does not solve the problem. A child should not pay for the sins of the parents.

Illegal immigrants should be prosecuted for breaking the law. And perhaps more importantly, business owners who employ illegals should be prosecuted.

Numbers indicate that immigration to the United States remained the same this year as last year. This made headlines because for years, the number of immigrants sharply increased every year.

People will always come to America to seek freedom and amnesty, but most come for the opportunity for a better life. The recession has made America less attractive. Without people hiring illegals, there would be virtually no illegal immigration. It is not “anchor babies” who keep illegals here, but jobs.

Once we take citizenship away from children with illegal parents, we set a precedent of denying citizenship to others who aren’t ideal. And how many generations does this affect? My ancestors travelled here when American Indians ruled the land. I doubt we filed the proper paperwork, so I guess I’m an illegal by proxy as well.

Taking away an American’s citizenship is taking away his rights and freedoms. What about taking away your right to vote if one of your parents commits a felony? How about not being able to get a passport, get a federal job, or receive any financial aid?

Children born on U.S. soil deserve birthright citizenship. It’s not completely fair. It creates problems and costs taxpayer money. But it is a clear-cut American right.