American Renaissance

Supreme Court to Hear Birthright Citizenship Case

Project USA, Feb. 17

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, the captured Taliban fighter who was originally incarcerated with other captured enemy fighters at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but who was moved to the naval brig at Norfolk when, after it was discovered he has an American birth certificate, he was declared an American citizen.

Since the discovery of his birth in Louisiana (to Saudi nationals in the United States on temporary work permits), Hamdi has been at the center of a major legal battle.

On one side, Hamdi’s public defender argues that, as an American citizen, Hamdi has certain civil rights.

On the other side, the government argues that, as an American “enemy combatant,” Hamdi loses some of those rights.

Both sides, however, are essentially arguing an imaginary point, since Hamdi is not an American citizen in spite of his birth in Louisiana. There is nothing in the Constitution, in Federal law, or in case law anywhere that mandates U.S. citizenship by virtue of being born on U.S. soil.

The custom of granting of automatic birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born offspring of temporary workers, tourists, and illegal aliens is nothing more than that: a custom, and the pervasive myth that the U.S. Constitution grants birthright citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil is simply that: a myth.

In the Hamdi case, the Supreme Court will be wrestling with some important questions concerning the civil liberties guaranteed to the citizens of a free republic. Such questions should not be decided in a case in which the plaintiff is not even a citizen — a case in which the premises are founded in myth and habit.

Since Yaser Esam Hamdi is not an American — either by virtue of the law or by virtue of common sense — a prior question of fact in his case is fundamentally flawed, and deciding weighty citizenship issues based on this case is like deciding important international trade issues based on a case involving the toys Santa Claus brings.

Unfortunately, the baseless American habit of granting birthright citizenship to anyone whose mother happens to be in the United States at the time of his or her birth is not just some harmless and quaint American tradition like singing the national anthem before baseball games. The birthright citizenship custom, which accounts for an estimated 250,000 new “anchor baby” citizens every year, is one of the primary magnets luring to our shores foreigners who want to increase their consumption levels.

This custom is responsible for the spectacle of women in labor dragging themselves through the Arizona desert in order to give birth to their very own tickets into the American social services network. It accounts for the burgeoning industry in Asia known as “birth tourism,” which arranges U.S. tourist visas for pregnant Asian women to coincide with their delivery dates so that they may give birth to their very own American “anchors” in the United States for themselves and, eventually, their entire extended families.

However, birthright citizenship is not a law of nature, it is not a commandment from God, and it is not a cultural imperative. It is nothing more than a destructive and unsustainable custom, and it is time we put a stop to this assault on the very meaning of citizenship.

In the Hamdi case, the Supreme Court has a historic opportunity to do away with this wrong-headed practice and make explicit, after nearly a century and a half, the very limited intentions of the authors of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Let’s hope the Justices rise to the occasion.