Amendment’s anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On July 28, 1868, the amendment became part of the Constitution when it was ratified by three-quarters of the states. Congress had passed it in 1866.*

The original purpose of the amendment was to clarify the citizenship status of former slaves, particularly those born in this country.

Section One of the amendment reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The 14th Amendment garnered a lot of attention during the presidential campaign because of candidate Donald Trump’s stand that illegal immigrants — and their children who were born in the United States — should be deported. Except deporting their children would violate the 14th Amendment.

Trump at one point even suggested to Bill O’Reilly that he thought birthright citizenship violated the Constitution.

Obviously, Trump’s stance has softened considerably. His administration announced that, for now, even small children that came here at a young age — not born here — will be allowed to stay. The Washington Post reported last month the Department of Homeland Security stated in a press release that “the June 15, 2012, memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect.” Those “Dreamers” will be allowed to stay.

The change in attitude should be commended. As we wrote when the harsher view prevailed:

“Stripping children of citizenship is not a solution for the immigration crisis. Neither is mass deportation. Tightening the border and finding a path to legality for the millions already here are much more sensible — and humane — solutions.”

We still believe those assertions.

(*Source: “Today in History”)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.