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The Significance of Birthright Citizenship in the APA Community

Jonathan Le is a student at Southern Methodist University and Central South Regional Director.

I recently had the pleasure of reading an article about birthright citizenship by former Texas Solicitor General Jim C. Ho. In his article, Mr. Ho addressed how many opponents of birthright citizenship support state legislation to disqualify children of undocumented immigrants. I strongly agree with Mr. Ho's stance that children born in the U.S. are entitled to American citizenship, regardless of their parents' status
Though I am far from a constitutional scholar, I believe that the opening language of the 14th Amendment is quite clear. The first sentence states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." To me, there are no implied exceptions or exclusions to the guarantee of citizenship to those born in the U.S. I think that a person would be hard pressed to read in any other interpretation.
As future lawyers, I feel that we should be cognizant of this enduring issue. While the debate over birthright citizenship may not be as pressing to APAs as it was 20 or more years ago, it continues to directly impact our community. Even if our legal careers do not take us into the field of immigration law, I think we should make an effort to help immigrant families. Regardless of how long ago their family immigrated here, every person that is born in the U.S. should not be deprived their constitutional right to citizenship.


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