August 5, 2010
This afternoon on Fox News, Senator Robert Menendez(D) from New Jersey, was discussing the issue of the 14th Amendment in regards to illegal immigration in which he stated that children born in the US are citizens of the United States and that we should not change that.
He is quoting the portion of the 14th Amendment which states, in part, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States…” What he, and nearly every liberal (including Supreme Court Justices) have failed to recognize is the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”
But before we get into the particulars of the current debate, dealing with illegal immigrants, let’s discuss why the 14th Amendment was brought into existence in the first place.
Up until the time of the reconstruction amendments, after the Civil War, many of the states did not recognize blacks as persons who could become citizens. Even with the passing of the 13th Amendment (abolishing slavery), the Federal Government had no power within the states to effect the necessary changes to force the issue. In the case of Blair v. Ridgely, 97 D. 218,249, S.P. the Supreme Court held "Prior to the adoption of the federal Constitution, states possessed unlimited and unrestricted sovereignty and retained the same ever afterward. Upon entering the Union, they retained all their original power and sovereignty..." The Federal Government, therefore, could not force the states to do all that was required on the issue without granting this additional power.
One very important case of the time was Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856), which required the 14th Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision. The Dred Scott case was specifically about the rights of slaves, property owners, and the separation between federal and state jurisdiction. The case was brought by Dred Scott, a black man, who by Missouri law, could not be a citizen of that state and, therefore, could not bring suit. The court found in favor of Sandford, the defendant, due to the lack of jurisdiction. I would recommend everyone to read the Dred Scott case for a truly insightful look at a piece of American History.
Now that the separatist confederacy was stopped; the government still did not have power to change the individual state constitutions. In order to do this the federal government had to change the playing field. In fact, after the 13th Amendment was ratified, some states enacted what became to be known as “Jim Crow” laws, which disallowed blacks from owning property, guns, and certain jobs. Blacks also could not vote or hold public office, and there were many other restrictions which were in direct opposition to the new amendments and reconstruction acts.
In 1866 the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress. It was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, but the veto was overridden by Congress. This act was the forerunner to the 14th Amendment. This act made all persons born in the United States, citizens of the United States without regard to their previous legal condition, and it made those who denied blacks these rights guilty of a misdemeanor. Problems began when state legislators and organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan (and others) ignored the act and defied the federal government. During this time, separatist and Klan groups did everything in their power to defeat attempts to integrate the blacks into the citizenry. These actions included murder, burning of homes, beatings and many other atrocious acts.
From 1870 to 1871, the Enforcement acts were put into place by congress to give further weight to the previous acts and to give criminal codes to violations of federal intent of the reconstruction amendments (13, 14, and 15). They also allow for federal prosecution under those codes.
Prior to the 14th Amendment the federal government had little or no jurisdiction over the citizens of the many states of the union. After the 14th Amendment the federal government became directly involved with the citizens, to the detriment of our entire society and the constitutional republican form of government. Not for the intended purpose of the Amendment but for the unintended consequences when used by power hungry bureaucrats.
The 14th Amendment was not written for those who were already citizens, it only affected non-citizens. This is an important point to remember; obviously you would not be granting citizenship to someone who was already a citizen. The government created a federal citizen who had all the protections and privileges due such a citizen. This was a means of overcoming the Jim Crow laws of the south and to give protection to the blacks throughout the country. The federal government already had citizens. Remember, people who lived in Washington D.C., the territories, and all federal enclaves were part of the Federal government; but they did not have state citizenship. They could not vote, and they had no constitutional rights as guaranteed by the states of the union.
It is important to point out that no member of Congress or the Supreme Court has ever equated a “citizen of the United States”, as used in the 14th Amendment, with a native born Citizen of a state of the Union. It is also interesting to point out that there were people who fell into a grey area of citizenship, such as those that were born and or lived in Washington D.C. Because Washington D.C. is an enclave, not a state, they were not considered citizens and could not vote. It wasn’t until the 14th Amendment that these people became federal citizens, -- separate and distinct from a state citizen.
If the 14th Amendment did not apply to everyone, then whom does this amendment apply? Are there any citizens alive today who can claim direct citizenship from pre 14th Amendment time? Remember from the preamble, which guaranteed this citizenship “to us and our posterity”. Since that time the citizenry and standards of citizenry changed. Everyone could hold citizenship.
Historically we know that there were Citizens identified prior to the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment could not change the original writers meaning of the term “Citizen” when the Constitution was drafted. Therefore, there were now two classes of citizens, -- pre 14th Amendment Citizens, and post 14th Amendment citizens. This cannot change. The meaning of the Constitution remains the same as it did at the time it was written, period. All persons not falling into the pre-14th Amendment description are identified as 14th Amendment citizens. This is what the federal government presumes as well.
Obviously the definition of “Citizen of the U.S.” used in the opening of the Constitution, refers to one class of citizen while the “citizen” of the United States as written in the 14th Amendment, refers to a different class of citizen. As the Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott decision, the term “Citizen of the United States” could never be used to mean people of African decent (or their posterity) brought here for the purpose of slavery.
For the first time, the federal government was in a position to dictate to the states how to deal with the federal citizens residing within each state. For the states’ own Citizens, nothing really changed. For the federal citizens, however, the federal government could dictate to the states how they would be treated and also dictated what rights those citizens would have. The Citizen, pre-14th, had unalienable rights from their creator, now found themselves living among citizens, post-14th Amendment, who had rights, and privileges granted by their creator -- the federal government. This sheds a whole different light on the subject.
Suddenly the lines between Federal and State jurisdiction were blurred beyond recognition. What was designed to protect the rights of freed black slaves opened the door to federal encroachment, something the Founding Fathers had never intended.
With the ratification “scheme” completed, and the new citizenship order established, there were now two classes of citizens, but only one presumptive federal class that ruled everyone. The result of this, to the unsuspecting or unlearned, is a change from being a sovereign citizen of the State to a federal subject that resides (resident alien) in a state of the union.
It seems, however, that the federal government seems to pick and choose to whom this law applies. As an example; we have had thousands of babies born in the United States to foreign government representatives and their staff. None of these babies have been assigned US Citizenship. Likewise we have had thousands of foreign nationals, visiting the United States that has given birth, but those children were not granted US citizenship.
Why? Because those children fall “under the jurisdiction” of the countries from which their parents have allegiance, there home countries. This does not change solely because the parent(s) have chosen to break our laws and enter the country illegally. The nationality of the parents is what determines, ultimately, the citizenship status (in most cases) of the newborn child.
As a further example; my son was born in Dunoon Scotland. Because I was there on official US business and both his parents were US Citizens he is, and always has been, a US Citizen. During the past presidential election presidential hopeful John McCain was challenged that he was not a natural born citizen because he was born in Panama. The follow-on investigation pointed out that his parents were US citizens, they were on official assignment, and (at the time) Panama was a US Territory and therefore he was a natural born citizen.
We must all remember; there are two hurdles to the 14th Amendment citizenship grant. First – they must be born here and second- they must be under the jurisdiction thereof. When a foreign person is arrested in the United States the arrested individual is authorized to contact his embassy because that is the jurisdiction under which that individual ultimately belongs. As with Americans overseas, if criminal acts are conducted they must answer for those crimes within the country where the crime was committed (lacking diplomatic immunity).
In the Slaughter House cases as well as the 1884 Elk V. Wilkins case, the Supreme Court appropriately confirmed this restricted interpretation of citizenship. The Wilkins case clearly stated that the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was interpreted to exclude “children of ministers, consuls, and citizens of foreign states born within the United States.” I would certainly agree that illegal aliens would be included as citizens of foreign states.
The current “practice” of granting “citizenship status” to, so called, anchor babies is abhorrent to the Constitution and the practice flies in the face of rational common sense. I have come to believe that our leaders, at all levels of government, practice selective support for the Constitution. What I mean by this is that they will use the Constitution when it is advantageous to their position, and use some other “compelling need” when it does not.
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Each time the government skirts the Constitution and sticks another needle into the voodoo doll called citizens rights; the more the people will start to resist. At some inevitable point the people will rise up in opposition to this repression to retake what is rightfully theirs. The question is what will it take for Americans to say enough is enough?
© 2010 Michael LeMieux - All Rights Reserved
LeMieux was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1956 and graduated from
Weber State University in Utah with a degree in Computer Science. He served
in both the US Navy and US Army (Active duty and National Guard) and trained
in multiple intelligence disciplines and was a qualified paratrooper.
He served with the 19th Special Forces Group, while in the National Guard,
as a Special Forces tactical intelligence team member. He served tours
to Kuwait and Afghanistan where he received the Purple Heart for injuries
received in combat.
Mr. LeMieux left military duty at the end of 2005 after being medically discharged with over 19 years of combined military experience. He currently works as an intelligence contractor to the US government.
Michael is a strict constitutionalist who believes in interpreting the constitution by the original intent of the founding fathers. His research has led him to the conclusion that the republic founded by the Constitution is no longer honored by our government. That those who rule America today are doing so with the interest of the federal government in mind and not the Citizens. Michael believes that all three branches of government have strayed far from the checks and balances built into the Constitution and they have failed the American people. A clear example is the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court and the founders have all said was an individual right and could not be "infringed" upon, now has more than 20,000 state and federal laws regulating every aspect of the individuals right, a definite infringement. He has traveled around the world living in 14 States of the Union including Hawaii, and visited (for various lengths of time) in Spain, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea, Scotland, Pakistan, Mauritius, Somalia, Diego Garcia, Australia, Philippines, England, Italy, Germany, and Puerto Rico.
Michael now lives in Nebraska with his wife, two of his three children, Mother-in-Law and grandchild. His hobbies include shooting, wood-working, writing, amateur inventor and scuba diving when he can find the time.
Contact Michael through his Website: www.constitutiondenied.com