Gaetz bill would tackle birthright citizenship issue

News & Politics

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has put forward a bill to push back against the idea that any child born on U.S. soil is automatically an American citizen.

“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,” Gaetz said, according to a press release.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution 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.”

The Immigration and Nationality Act likewise stipulates that “a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” qualifies as an American citizen.

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Gaetz’s measure would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by stipulating that “the term ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ means, with respect to a person born in the United States, that the person was born to a parent who is, at the time of the person’s birth,” any of the following: “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.”

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the two top GOP presidential primary frontrunners, have each indicated that as president they would push back against the concept of automatic birthright citizenship for children born to illegal aliens.

“We will take action to end the idea that the children of illegal aliens are entitled to birthright citizenship if they are born in the United States,” DeSantis’ website states. “Dangling the prize of citizenship to the future offspring of illegal immigrants is a major driver of illegal migration. It is also inconsistent with the original understanding of 14th Amendment, and we will force the courts and Congress to finally address this failed policy.”

Trump has said he would sign an executive order informing “federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law … the future children of illegal aliens will not receive automatic U.S. citizenship.”

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