Valley News -

By Harold Pease Ph D
Special to Anza Valley Outlook 

Birth tourism is not constitutional, end by executive order


Last updated 12/7/2018 at 2:41am

Birth tourism, presently running rampart in the United States, is where foreigners intentionally coordinate their delivery dates with tourism ensuring that the birth happens while in this country. They remain the weeks necessary for the new birth certificate to be used to generate a passport for their newborn. Maternal centers, some sleazy and others high end, created to accommodate the wait, run lucrative businesses costing perhaps $50,000 per birth and encouraging “clients” from China, Russia, Turkey, Taiwan and Mexico primarily. Their “tour” ends with their child having citizenship and a passport with only a few weeks invested in this country. They return to their country with the child raised having dual citizenship.

Why is this process attractive to them? Mart Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, shared four reasons for its popularity. First, if things go bad in one’s country, at least the child with a passport can get out. Second, when the child is an adult, they can sponsor their folks for immigration. For them, it is a “kind of retirement program,” with benefits. Third, it is a way for the child to get cheaper tuition in American colleges as “foreign students have to pay more than U.S. citizens.” Fourth, it is a way for the child to avoid the draft in his home country, he simply goes to America. All these benefits for a little tour in the U.S. while having a baby, according to “The Ingraham Angle,” Oct. 30.

But this practice is specifically forbidden by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution which reads in part: “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.”

Sen. Jacob Merritt Howard, architect of the 14th Amendment, actually structured the Amendment, which is one of two defining the legal status of freed slaves after the Civil War, the other being the 13th which gave them freedom, to prevent that very interpretation. He said, “This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and (already) subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign minister accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

It was Howard who insisted that the qualifying phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” be inserted.

Notice also the exclusion of babies born of ambassadors while here. If diplomats of high honor are specifically exempted from birthright citizenship, mere tourists without any specific distinction certainly would not have it. They not only have jurisdiction or allegiance elsewhere but are specifically identified as ineligible, and thus cannot have birthright citizenship.

On birthright citizenship, President Donald Trump is on solid constitutional ground as expressed by the Founders of the 14th Amendment. Because the Civil War amendment was designed to keep previously rebelling southern states from prohibiting ex-slaves or their children from having citizenship and because of the inclusion of the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” there exists no other interpretation without serious distortion of the amendment. Senate deliberations on the 14th Amendment show no other interpretation. Birthright citizenship cannot be taken from those already citizens or their children.

American Indians were not eligible for citizenship until 1924 because they were not yet clearly, “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States government. One “cannot owe allegiance to anybody else,” argued, Sen. Lyman Trumbull, co-author of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. That would most certainly exclude those proudly carrying their native flags in the recent caravan invasion of our border.

So how should Trump proceed in getting America back to the Constitution as written? First, he must immediately issue an executive order ending the practice of birth tourism based upon his oath of office to defend and preserve the Constitution and by the specific ambassadors exclusionary clause of the authors of the 14th Amendment itself. He can count on the enemies of the republic to sue to block the execution of the order. Such actions normally take many months to process. It allows immigration and the wall to remain lead issues in the election. America demands closure on this issue, and it will re-elect him.

A statute solution through Congress in favor of ending the perversion of the Constitution with respect to birthright citizenship for anyone illegally crossing the border is the much preferred solution. Should the courts rule against a Trump executive order on birth tourism he will know the timing is not yet right for the same on the bigger immigration issue. Should they follow the Constitution as intended, he will, with the birth tourism issue in his favor, immediately pursue the larger issue by executive order as well, more especially if the opposition party, which supports open borders, retains the House or looks to retain the House in 2020. This action also would result in a suit, so if in late 2019 a Republican retake of the House is probable without obstruction from his own party, it might be better to wait for a statute solution through Congress.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and to applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, visit


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