Fisking The Fourteenth Amendment

Congressman Steve King wants to go at it with a fine-toothed comb:
[The 14th Amendment] reads: “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.”

King said framers considered exceptions, including certain Indian tribes and babies born to ambassadors or visitors — the reason, he said, for the language “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” the line King thinks opens the door to the change he seeks.

“For example if Alexis de Tocqueville had had a baby while he was here, I don’t think they would have conferred automatic citizenship on that child,” King said, referring to the French politician who famously wrote about America in the 1800s during extensive travels here.

King went on to say that automatic citizenship, which results in what he called “anchor babies” for illegal immigrant parents, is a “habit of the heart so to speak.”

“The framers did not consider the babies of illegals when they framed the 14th amendment because we didn’t have immigration law at the time so they could not have wanted to confer automatic citizenship on the babies of people who were unlawfully in the United States,” King said.

King wants Congress to pass a ban on “anchor babies,” place it in statute, and wait for the other side to challenge the prohibition in the courts. If King and his forces lose, they’ll move for a constitutional amendment to change the practice, he said.

“It’s the right policy, and I think we can do it by statute,” King said.
"They [the framers of the Constitution] could not have wanted to confer automatic citizenship on the babies of people who were unlawfully in the United States." Really? How do you know this Congressman?

I think that King is looking at this purely through the prism of modern times. He cannot begin to understand how the founding fathers would have weighed-in on this topic. None of us can.

At the time of the founding documents of our nation, our republic was in its infancy. None of the men who signed the Constitution could have known that in a mere 220 years, people from other countries would be clamoring to get themselves inside of our borders, by any means necessary.

To presume to know what these men would have thought is above arrogance.

Cartoon: Mike Keefe, The Denver Post via Cagle Cartoons