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August 10th, 2010
03:50 PM ET

Opinion: Ditch the 14th Amendment? Why stop there?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Roland Martin.

Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

Republicans such as Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Kyl and John Cornyn are tripping over themselves to jump on the latest "Dumb Way to Solve the Illegal Immigration Problem" bus by suggesting Congress examine repealing the 14th Amendment, which deals with one way of becoming a U.S. citizen.

The far right has latched onto the idea that the provision in question - which grants citizenship to children born in the U.S. - is being abused by illegal immigrants who choose to come to America to have their children, thus worsening the illegal immigration problem.

Some are even trying to suggest that how it is being used today is counter to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

Of course, the 14th Amendment was not in the first U.S. Constitution as drawn up by our framers. It was adopted on July 9, 1868, to prevent Southern states from denying citizenship to former slaves and their children, since they didn't choose to come to America. They were brought here for the purpose of the vicious and dehumanizing free-labor plan that helped build the nation - slavery.

It's clear that overall Congress is choosing to apply a Band-Aid to the illegal immigration problem instead of dealing with it head-on.

We have members on both sides of the aisle who care more about protecting their precious jobs and partisan poll numbers instead of actually finding a bipartisan solution. So instead of leadership, we get asinine suggestions like this one, which will do absolutely nothing about the estimated 10 million illegal immigrants in the country.

That's right, nothing.

Keep reading...


Filed under: Immigration • Opinion • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Kurt Thialfad

    How about if you use fraudulent means to get birth citizenship – it is invalid. Deny such citizenship to those who are committing birth tourism. You can be denied citizenship for lying. Just pass a law considering to that birth tourism is a form of fraud that wouldn't be tolerated. It could probably be easily done through executive order.

    Remember the intent of the 14th Amendment as stated is "to prevent Southern states from denying citizenship to former slaves and their children, since they didn't choose to come to America". Anything that varies from the intent of law, should be discarded. Or at least considered as a misinterpretation.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  2. Tommie

    There might be no need to change the law. Just run a test case. Clearly babies of foreign nationals are both subjects and citizens of their home countries. But are the babies also subjects of the US because of some accident of birth? Why should the babies' allegience to their home countries be compromised? It is not fair to the babies to automatically burden them with dual-citizenship that they never asked for. Since they are already citizens of their home countries.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  3. Sam

    "Anchor baby" is a artificially constructed political issue. The real issue is illegal immigration, not people who are already citizens. A would-be "Anchor child" cannot file for a visa for his parents until age 21. Also, the individual must also earn at least 125% of the poverty line. That's not much of an "anchor" by any account.

    The debate around altering the 14th amendment does not address anything about illegal immigration. If anything, this makes the issue worse; by revoking citizenship status from the children of illegal immigrants, you are ultimately contributing to the illegal immigration population. The people we are talking about, the children, are CITIZENS.

    August 9, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  4. Pete Murphy

    I agree: why stop there? The constitution is ambiguous and antiquated. The founding fathers never envisioned that, one day, money would be considered "speech," that multi-national corporations would be considered "the people," and they certainly didn't intend for invading hordes to be accorded citizenship. Further, they couldn't conceive that Congress would stand idly by while broken trade policy bankrupted the country. The constitution needs a serious make-over to address the realities of the 21st century.

    August 9, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  5. Gabrielle

    Please I m asking in the name of Jesus give us a break, we are the most hard workers in America.

    August 9, 2010 at 6:34 am |
  6. Gabrielle

    So many dirty jobs only immigrants do it, and you do not find any native willing to do it,so what's up with it,U.S.A really needs us.

    August 9, 2010 at 6:29 am |
  7. Ted

    I think the 14th ammedment could use a little overhaul. No matter what the intent of the original framers of the 14th ammedment in the late1800's it is only proper that a definition of U.S.citizenship is clearly outlined.

    It is not in the best interest of the country as a whole to let any child born in this country to be a citizen of the United States. The current law causes an increase of illegal immigration by providing an incentive of citezenship, and once born the children place a heavy burden on our schools and social resources.

    While the thought that the children of legal immigrents are U.S.citizens is a good starting point, I feel the 14th should be carried further and state that both parents must become citizens of the United States. This would compel the immigrant parents to furthetr commit to the nation, and through learning our history, bond themselves to the United States.

    August 9, 2010 at 3:39 am |
  8. Ana

    Agree with this article one-hundred percent!

    That would affect a large number of people. Repealing the 14th amendment affects not just immigrants of all nationalities, even those who come here wanting to become citizens (remember you aren't automatically a citizen because your child is born here, only they are....), but also descendants of slaves. The fact that they'd suggest repealing this is just sick, and shows they care nothing about the people they're claiming to represent with all of their "constitution talk". People have DIED for amendments like this.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  9. Gabrielle

    We are on 21st century, illegal immigrants worked hard in this country why America does not learn from France or Canada these countries make it a little faster easier for immigrants to reside in their country,U.S.A must take some clues

    August 9, 2010 at 1:14 am |
  10. Far Right

    Get rid of the anchor baby amendment now!!!

    August 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  11. Joanne

    Are they serious? OMG...the fringe is getting worse. I can hardly wait for Palin to pipe in on this.

    While we are at it, lets just get rid of anyone with a different skin color.
    Acht tun baby.

    August 8, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  12. RachelW

    It is bias because it is a commentary. However, his entire argument fails due to the fact he is assuming our "Founders" were responsible for writing and adopting the 14th Amendment. This is becoming a drumbeat of the left and one that Americans better be quite conscious. The Left, via the media, begin slowly to redefine the very words we use or shall I say used. This is such a case.

    The Founders were those that wrote the Declaration and Constitution of the United States. The intent of the Founders was clear. The new "Founders" now being lauded by the Left seem to be those that 'founded' the nation after the Civil War – a post Founding if you will.

    The original intent of the Constitution is what we must continue to educate our fellow Americans with – not a redefined version that is a constant drumbeat within the Left, the media and our education system.

    Slavery was the issue at this time. Granting equal rights to those who had been slaves was the purpose of the amendment – correcting an omission (purposely – yes) by the Founders.

    But and this is a huge one for us on the Right – the Founders also passed into law many immigration laws from the beginning that today we would consider way too liberal and needing change. Just because a Founder did it, does not necessarily mean they were 'right' or 'wrong' – it is up to us to define it, now.

    August 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  13. Greg

    Ronald stated, "It'll do nothing about the roughly 10 million illegal immigrants in this country", so what's the big deal? Why fight for or against a do nothing resolution on a do nothing law? I beleive Ronald is incorrect, that's why I took the time to post on this blog. But if Ronald is being honest about his assertions, why write the article? Writing for nothing deserves no consideration.

    August 8, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  14. Thom Farley

    The writer opines "It's clear that overall Congress is choosing to apply a Band-Aid to the illegal immigration problem instead of dealing with it head-on." I think it's more clear that the writer prefers that nothing at all be done, if it's not done by Democrats-er "the "far left", that is.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  15. Socialist Worker

    Let's deport the terrorists living in Miami, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada, to Cuba. They were responsible for the downing of a Cuban Civilian Airline Cubana Flight 455. Why should they be allowed to walk free on the streets of Miami? Oh, I forgot George H.W. Bush pardoned Bosch. Posada lied to Immigration about how he recently entered here. So he is being tried on illegal entry. Oh I forgot again if he is deported to Venezuela he could be tortured. Yet special renditions to Egypt and Syria are OK and so is torture elsewhere like Iraq, Afganistan, and Cuba(Guantanamo Naval Base) as long as its done by "Americans". The Cuban government has repeatedly asked for its Guantanamo territory to be returned. Let's move Posada to Guantanamo, abandon the base, and wave goodbye.

    August 7, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  16. Kevin

    Ditch it now!

    August 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  17. TurtleShroom

    This is an extremely biased article.

    They are not seeking to repeal this Amendment, they are seeking to reword it so that when two illegal immigrants have a child, that child is not a citizen. It eliminates the "anchor baby" issue.

    Legal immigrants, those with proper papers (e.g. green card or visa), and normal people will not be affected.

    August 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm |