There’s more to the 14th Amendment than meets the eye. The media isn’t accurately reporting on the birthright citizenship issue. Instead, they constantly jump to conclusions without discussing the facts. The Heritage Foundation is here to fix that.

Heritage Founder Ed Feulner wrote a brief overview explaining that the original interpretation of the 14th Amendment isn’t being applied properly. Dr. Feulner refuted the notion that limiting birthright citizenship is unconstitutional.

Heritage Senior Legal Fellow Hans Von Spakovsky has written on this subject for years. He argues that a president does have the power to direct the executive branch on how to interpret the Constitution, meaning that an executive order is appropriate. In the Daily Signal, Von Spakovsky and the Meese Center’s Amy Swearer distilled their comprehensive legal and historical analysis into bullet points that conclude: current law isn’t applying the Constitution, and the president has the right to execute the original intent of the 14th Amendment.

Because of your support, Heritage can cut through the media hype and bring you the truth. Thank you for standing with us in defense of the Constitution and support of sensible immigration policies.

What is the best option to clarify the 14th Amendment on birthright citizenship: an executive order, legislation, or a court ruling?

Comments (36)

Jill Cortada - November 9, 2018

This must be a Supreme Court ruling or it will be challenged anyway — the ninth circuit must not have the final say!

Dale Broach - November 9, 2018

An executive order based on the language of the 14th. amendment, if a lower court rules against it can appealed to supreme court for clarification and final ruling I would assume.

Wes Stewart - November 9, 2018

The 4th Amendment, Section 1:
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…..
Illegal aliens hide in the shadows. They are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Thus, their descendants have no claim of birthright citizenship.

Mike Wammack - November 9, 2018


james p. niedermeyer - November 9, 2018

The founders and the authors of the 14th amendment could not have logically intended to bestow citizenship on a child born in the U.S. of aliens seeking to avoid or evade our laws (including our immigration laws). An executive order is the way to eliminate the misbegotten notion of “birthright” citizenship.

William A Coates - November 9, 2018

Legislation is the only thing that would stick. That’s a lost cause for the next 2 years unless done by January.

Leslie Porter - November 9, 2018

Legislation. Otherwise if Democrats win the Oval Office in the future they can simply set aside the Executive Order. I hope and pray the Republicans realize the narrow timeframe within which to act!

Daryl Spilde - November 9, 2018

I think ideally it would be by legislation, but good luck with that. Second choice would be a court ruling; I do not like executive orders, no matter who the president is.

Jerry McAvoy - November 9, 2018

The law was intended to clarify the status of the freed slaves after the civil war There are no more freed slaves to protect. Legislative action to reword the law to state only children of American citizens are born citizens.

Keith - November 9, 2018

Consistent with founding principles, this needs to be handled by legislation. But, as a initiating action, an Executive Order is needed. Congress has demonstrated that they do not comprehend the need for a sense of urgency.

ROBERT TAYLOR - November 9, 2018

No more anchor babies!

Ann Patterson - November 9, 2018

I believe a court ruling, based on our
Constitution is the best way to determine

Janet van Houten - November 9, 2018

I would prefer legislation, but find our Congress very slow to act. So perhaps judicial ruling would be the most effective.

Gary Burnett - November 9, 2018

Initially Executive order, which will begin the legal process leading to a decision by the Supreme Court. After a decision by the court I would assume legislation would be required to implement their decision

Randall Carney - November 9, 2018

Birthright citizenship as currently applied leads to uncontrolled chain migration of relatives. This needs to be fixed first by legislation, and then confirmed and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Patricia Ancowitz - November 9, 2018

An executive order will be challenged in the courts and that is all to the good. It will ultimately be ruled on at the Supreme Court. The 14th amendment needs to be properly interpreted so as not to reward those who would break our laws.

James L Justice, MD - November 9, 2018

A judge will issue a restraining order within 24 hours of an Executive Order. They did with the travel ban. Hopefully the Supreme Court will consider the issue on an expedited schedule. If it stands, you implement. If not , legislate.

Kenneth Kissell - November 9, 2018

“Under the jurisdiction of “ has significant.meaning in this discussion. Seems like the mainstream media is ignoring this.

Richard Riley - November 9, 2018

The video states that a foreign visitor to the
United States could be persecuted for violation of our laws. This is incorrect.
The correct word is prosecuted.

Helen - November 9, 2018

Legislation, but good luck with that.

Bret Barrett - November 9, 2018

It will have to go through the Supreme Court. If we could pass legislation, it would be challenged by lower courts, as would executive action.
We must have a case before the highest court to reaffirm the original intent.

Robert S Gianino - November 9, 2018

Ultimately, SC review will determine proper interpretation of 145th amendment. Executive order will force the issue. Legislation will not happen in light of election results.

Robert S Gianino - November 9, 2018

Ultimately, SC review will determine proper interpretation of 14th amendment. Executive order will force the issue. Legislation will not happen in light of election results.

Thomas R Hart - November 10, 2018

A court ruling is the only way to get the language in the 14th amendment clarified. An executive order will be sued by the ACLU and therefore go thru the courts anyhow.
On a second point, why does the ACLU have any standing or right to protect illegal immigrants. Doesn’t the A stand for American? If so, illegal immigrants are not, and therefore any lawsuit filed by ACLU that does not pertain to Americans should be immediately thrown out of court

Bill King - November 10, 2018

YES WE CAN restore our Constitution “that glorious Liberty document” !
Let’s ” Hang it-Celebrate it & Teach it”
To restore our Republic. I look forward to visiting the White House in the future and seeing a copy of the Constitution Hanging on the wall in the Oval Office and celebrating its birthday every SEPT 17th and All schools teaching Civics and the Golden rule to restore civility to our government run schools. YES-Action will define YOU. Let’s get a good old debate-discussion going in America!
I have a simple Question:
Why is their NO copy of the Constitution
Hanging on the wall in the Oval Office???
President Trump please restore our Constitution and get taught Civics & the Golden rule taught in ALL schools too!
REAGAN did not do it but TRUMP can!

Let freedom ring-enforce our laws and the rule of law to restore our Republic the United States of America!

Colin Gallagher - November 10, 2018

No, an executive order is not sufficient.
There could be a Congressional bill, but it would never pass the House if it originated in today’s Senate, and vice versa. So no bill.
That leaves the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide.

James J. Fuscaldo - November 10, 2018

Advocates for granting automatic citizenship to children born to illegal aliens or temporary nonresident aliens (guest workers) living in the United States always focus on the first requirement of birth.They allege birth on United States soil alone guarantees United States citizenship. These advocates also argue that the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction” simply means being susceptible to police authority (i.e. being required to follow American laws, pay fines for violations and be subject to the police powers of the
Federal and State Courts). This form of “subject to the jurisdiction” refers to civil jurisdiction, not political jurisdiction. This interpretation creates a redundancy in the Fourteenth Amendment. Why? All people born in the United States are subject to the laws of the United States or “civil jurisdiction”. Accepting the argument that the phrase, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, simply means subject to the police power and civil laws of the U.S. turns a critical and carefully written Citizenship Clause of the Constitution into a redundancy. It also gives the Clause an interpretation that is contrary to the recorded Congressional debate prior to the adoption of the Citizenship Clause. It is clear from the debate that this phrase means “political jursidiction”, or political allegiance to the United States and to no other foreign power. According to the principles of legislative construction and interpretation and confirmed by Supreme Court decisions constitutional and statutory interpretation requires one to view each clause as a distinct and separate requirement. A jurist would not read a redundancy into a statute or constitutional provision. Courts give effect to every clause and word and avoid any construction which implies that the legislature was ignorant of the meaning of the language and words it employed. Statutes and constitutional provisions are construed to avoid rendering superfluous or redundant statutory or constitutional meaning. “Courts will avoid adopting a statutory or constitutional construction when doing so would render the statute or constitutional provision superfluous, or create an interpretation contrary to the expressed intent of the legislators set forth in the legislative or congressional debates.” (Public Citizen v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 492 U.S. 440 (1989); United States v. Cook, 594 F3d 883 (D.C. Circuit 2010. Even the majority opinion in Wong Kim Ark recognized the distinction between “civil jurisdiction” and “political jurisdiction”.

Daine Jones - November 10, 2018

Even the Democrats in NJ said that the 14th Amend didn’t mean that anyone coming in here and being born after arriving doesn’t guarantee citizenship.
Most of the Major countries have changed this now to read if born to one US parent then the baby becomes a citizen. That sounds right. It also goes the other way if they live elsewhere; if one parent is a citizen of that country; This law was not set up for every single baby coming in to be a citizen. It must be done correctly by law. It would be an amendment to the 14th in explanation of it. Clarifying what the 14th is then add the one parent being a citizen.

H J Raehn - November 10, 2018

The 14th Amendment states in part “all persons born or naturalized in the US and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the US and of the state wherein they reside.” Legislation should pass which states only children of natural-born Americans and those children whose parents have been naturalized are to be considered American citizens. Then I believe an interested party should initiate a case that will make its way to the Supreme Court which should ratify the case based on the Constitution and complementary legislation.

Dale Clinbeard - November 10, 2018

Legislation. An executive order can be blocked by a court ruling. A Supreme Court ruling can be ignored by a lower court.

Royce Lynn - November 10, 2018

Because of the way the 14th Amendment has been interpreted for decades it is going to be difficult to change. President Trump could try an executive order but it will be challenged in court and likely be struck down. The Supreme Court would probably uphold the order but legislation will be required for a permanent solution to this problem.

Terry Whitlow - November 11, 2018

Legislation is best but parties seem to be from different countries.
file the lawsuit and take it to the Supreme Court.

For all the good ideas and plans Trump has and done, executive orders are short term.

Mark Northup - November 11, 2018

Since an executive order can be cancelled at the whim of any future president, this type of action is only good for short-term issues, where congress MUST be willing to followup with precise & clear legislation having the support necessary to .get the bill passed.

Doug Cullinan - November 11, 2018

Executive order followed by a bill introduced in House in November, then Senate when House passes it. POTUS must ignore any unconstitutional judicial decision. Meanwhile, U.S. Dept of Education should fund numerous 30 sec TV educational spots that teach in a simple way why birthright citizenship has always been unconstitutional and has become harmful to earnings and security of U.S. citizens.

Dr. Fred Anderson - November 12, 2018

Court ruling!! -Supreme Court!! Final answer there.
Republicans need to be convincing to the public that they will not stand for manipulation, corruption, intimidation, and lawlessness on either side – establish credibility by accountability. IMO – Trump is exactly what we needed at this time.

Joe Splavec - November 12, 2018

Birthright citizenship should be stopped immediately by exective order. The Facts that explain that this is technically correct should be wideley spread via newspapers and TV.

To prevent future Presidents from changing this common sense move, legislation should be processed after the exective order is in operation.

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