Sunday 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 2016 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.
The whole issue of immigration remains in flux. Right now, children remain separated from parents who had them in tow while attempting to cross the border. There has been no permanent solution found for those who are here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Soon, DACA participants will have children of their own born in this country who will be citizens under the 14th Amendment.
Congress, and the president, must act to fix the immigration mess immediately. As we wrote last year:
“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 those 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.