Written by Bridget Feldmann:
The 14th Amendment made a promise steeped in the fundamental values of our nation:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.
At a Center for American Progress (CAP) presentation last week, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Wade Henderson, described the 14th Amendment as “the great equalizer of our nation.” The law levels the playing field, giving every citizen the chance to become a successful member of our society, no matter what the circumstances of his or her birth. As a nation that began by breaking its ties with Great Britain in order to pursue its own moral code, this country has, from the start, been a beacon of change and progress, proving that descent should not decide destiny. Some, however, are not of the same opinion.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) want to repeal the 14th amendment. Their goal is to deny citizenship to anyone born in the United States “unless at least one parent is a legal citizen, legal immigrant, active member of the Armed Forces or a naturalized legal citizen.” They claim that the language of the amendment – which, once again, has been established for about 143 years – is ambiguous. According to Talking Points Memo, Paul recently declared:
“Citizenship is a privilege. This legislation makes it necessary that everyone follow the rules, and goes through same process to become a U.S. citizen.”