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Op-ed: The 14th Amendment Did Not Include Birthright Citizenship



Fake News Is Panicking About the Potential End to Birthright Citizenship

President Trump’s announcement that he will end “birthright citizenship” has the fake news in a frenzy. On CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News, among numerous print articles in major publications, the “rumor” is that President Trump will use an Executive Order to “take away a birthright from some people.” They also claim that the President is “defying the Constitution.” These two statements are false, and I am here to set the record straight, unambiguously.

Birthright citizenship as described in the 14th Amendment was designed in the post-Civil War era to solve the problem of some questioning whether or not former slaves freed by the recent 13th Amendment are U.S. Citizens and subject to all the rights and protections thereof.

The text of the relevant part of the 14th Amendment is as follows: “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.”

The point of the argument is what is meant by “...and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The mainstream news media is clearly siding with the supporters of allowing citizenship for people whose foreign mother just happened to physically be on U.S. soil at the time of birth. Supporters say that the fact that newborns of illegal aliens are within the border makes them subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. law.

The Debate About the 14th Amendment

Are they correct, and what does this mean for President Trump’s upcoming Executive Order that no longer allows it? This would also open up a new series of debates. For example, even if you believe that the Executive Order is unconstitutional, should it lead to an amendment that fixes what is essentially a problem unforeseen by the authors of the 14th Amendment?

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It turns out the mainstream news media has it wrong. It turns out that the authors of the 14th Amendment wrote about what they personally meant when they made it a requirement to be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the USA.

Thanks to a little digging by real news journalist, Jack Posobiec, we now can read in black and white precisely what the authors of the 14th Amendment meant and to whom it applies. As it turns out, the Congressional Record of 1866 has a portion written by Michigan Senator Jacob M. Howard which makes clear what is meant by “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

Senator Howard was a member of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which drafted the 14th Amendment, but it was Howard himself who argued to add the phrase, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” So what did Senator Howard mean by that phrase? It turns out he actually wrote exactly what he meant by it:

“[The 14th amendment] will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of person.”

This quote, made by Senator Howard, the very man who successfully argued to have that very phrase added to the 14th Amendment of our Constitution, can be researched for yourself. It can be found in the official U.S. Congressional documents.

How Does This Affect President Trump’s Executive Order?

So what does this mean for President Trump’s Executive Order? The president is simply asserting to his subordinates in the Executive Branch to execute existing immigration law and birthright citizenship properly. One cannot take away a supposed birthright that never existed in the first place. As was originally intended, no child of a foreign alien born on U.S. soil is a citizen, period.

So that is it. This should be the end of the debate, but unfortunately, the Democrats will fight this all the way to the Supreme Court. It will be up to the SCOTUS to determine whether the words in the 14th Amendment should be applied as they are defined by a majority of people today, or as they were clearly meant to be defined by the author who wrote them. This will be a major landmark case in which failure would represent a major derailment of civilization. That may sound like hyperbole but consider the ramifications of allowing the evolution of the definitions of the very words of our language to alter the meaning of our laws. No longer would progressives need to change laws to enact change, but rather change definitions in order to change laws as written!

We Have Heard This Story Before

This is not a new tactic. Remember the landmark case and attempt at ending the 2nd Amendment, DC vs. Heller. In that case, the government wanted to end the 2nd Amendment protection of our right to bear arms by changing the definition of the word “militia.” In case you did not know, a militia is defined as a collection of civilian soldiers. The government wanted it to be redefined to mean government officials such as military and law enforcement. If that attempt succeeded, no citizen would ever have the right to bear arms ever again. The Second Amendment was saved by a razor-thin Supreme Court majority of 5-4. Had there been a vacancy, it could have meant a 4-4 tie which would have been a victory for the lower court which ruled in favor of the government. This was not a century ago, DC vs. Heller was decided in 2008. Only 8 years later, while we had a Democrat POTUS, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.

We were that close to tyranny, and the threat continually looms. We must reject the attempt to change the original intent of the framers of all that is written in our Constitution. We must reject reporting from fake news outlets who seem to either be too lazy and incompetent to learn the truth about our Constitution or are intentionally gaslighting us into accepting their new interpretation of it.



Kerry Smyth / Guest Contributor
Kerry Smyth is a USMC vet and co-host with USAF vet Brian Smyth on SmythRadio every Sunday night at 5pm ET.
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