December 6, 2016

The Debate Over Birthright Citizenship, Explained in 90 Seconds

Over the last week, the debate over birthright citizenship has divided the 2016 Republican presidential field and put the spotlight back on immigration.

Birthright citizenship allows children born in the United States to be granted automatic citizenship, including those born to illegal immigrants. So what are some of the issues surrounding birthright citizenship, and how are those opposed looking to end it? The Daily Signal explains.

UPDATE: Several commenters have raised questions about the 1898 Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark. Professor Edward Erler addresses the case in “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution” and Heritage senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky said this about it in a Fox News op-ed:

Even in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, the 1898 case most often cited by “birthright” supporters due to its overbroad language, the Court only held that a child born of lawful, permanent residents was a U.S. citizen. That is a far cry from saying that a child born of individuals who are here illegally must be considered a U.S. citizen.

Melissa Quinn /

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