The newly elected Republican majority in the House of Representatives, promising to focus on the economy and jobs, has instead decided that elimination of nation's tradition of birthright citizenship should be one of its first priorities.
Among the agitators are Reps. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove and Dan Lungren of Gold River.
Yet the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship for all children born in the United States regardless of the status of their parents, was one of the Republican Party's greatest accomplishments after the Civil War.
This is a terribly wrong direction not only for the party's historical legacy – and electoral future – but for the country.
The 14th Amendment, a cornerstone of U.S. citizenship and equality under law for more than 140 years, reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens."
The new Republican assault on birthright citizenship singles out the clause "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," inferring that children of "aliens" born here should not be considered citizens because their parents are not "subject to" U.S. jurisdiction.
That is patent nonsense.
Russian or Nigerian or Argentinian or Japanese or Irish citizens present anywhere in the United States, legally or illegally, are subject to U.S. laws – not to the laws of their own nations.
The "subject to" clause refers to children of foreign diplomats, enemy soldiers in hostile occupation of U.S. territory and American Indians who, in 1866, were immune from U.S. law.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.