U.S. Citizenship of Persons Born in the United States to Alien Parents [Updated May 12, 2006] [open pdf - 106KB]
"Over the last decade or so, concern about illegal immigration has sporadically led to a re-examination of a long-established tenet of U.S. citizenship, codified in 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 lineage 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. 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."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33079