Although other parts of the 14th Amendment are some of the most litigated areas of the constitution, the citizenship clause has not been seriously challenged. It has been always seen as granting the right to an automatic citizenship for all born in the United States. And yet, from time to time politicians, commentators, and a few legal scholars, question the traditional interpretation of the clause when applied to illegal immigrants. The question is whether such challenges are simply prompted by the new anti-immigration rhetoric of presidential primaries or there are good reasons to seriously reexamine the meaning of the citizenship clause. This paper presents a brief legal and historical analysis of the citizenship clause and argues that the traditional reading as granting an automatic citizenship to all who were born here is correct and beyond dispute. Further, the paper suggests that any problem with illegal immigration or abuses of the system should not be dismissed, but must be separated from any legal conclusions. It is clear that illegal immigration is only minimally related to the citizenship clause. Thus, any remedies must come through public policy.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mariusz_ozminkowski/1/