Birthright Citizenship Under the 14th Amendment of Persons Born in the United States to Alien Parents [August 12, 2010]   [open pdf - 241KB]

"Over the last decade or so, concern about illegal immigration has sporadically led to a reexamination of a long-established tenet of U.S. citizenship, codified in the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and §301(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. §1401(a)), that a person who is born in the United States, subject to its jurisdiction, is a citizen of the United States regardless of the race, ethnicity, or alienage of the parents. The war on terror and the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U.S.-Saudi dual national captured in Afghanistan fighting with Taliban forces, further heightened attention and interest in restricting automatic birthright citizenship, after the revelation that Hamdi was a U.S. citizen by birth in Louisiana to parents who were Saudi nationals in the United States on non-immigrant work visas and arguably entitled to rights not available to foreign enemy combatants. More recently, some congressional Members have supported a revision of the Citizenship Clause or at least holding hearings for a serious consideration of it. An Arizona state legislator has voiced support for state legislation that would deny birth certificates to persons born to undocumented aliens. This report traces the history of this principle under U.S. law and discusses some of the legislation in recent Congresses intended to alter it."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33079
Public Domain
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