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The Value of Citizenship

Thursday, Jul. 29, 2010 3:44 AM

One of the nitpicks the anti-immigration crowd has is with the 14th Amendment and the conferral of citizenship upon so-called 'anchor babies.'

However, since the 14th Amendment only states that citizenship is granted to those born or naturalized, there is no distinction as to the status of the parent(s). Which either means altering the Amendment to specify 'born to a citizen' means a mother must prove her citizenship at the time of admission or birth, or that a child is not and cannot be a citizen until they reach an age of majority (and, ideally, pass a test similar to that which we require of applicants: fluency in English, basic knowledge of our laws and history).

Which would be a shock, as judging from the occasional 'Can You Pass The Citizenship Test?' article, the American public is woefully ill-informed in this regard.

We should also consider that U.S. citizenship is a testimony to America's core values: freedoms of press, speech, religion, and assembly; the right to petition the government; protections of private property against unreasonable search & seizure; a trial-by-jury system and due process. And let's not forget another basic concept, the idea that hard work brings prosperity, and the opportunity to rise above one's present circumstances.

It's what our parents and grandparents worked to give us, a shot at a better life through education and opportunity. And if you were on the outside looking in, what would you give, what would you risk for that same chance? Oppression doesn't have to be religious tribunals and secret prisons.

In order to be free, we must practice those principles through our national policy. We cannot always pin the hope of democracy and freedom upon the deployment of troops, but must understand that the best method is - as the Preamble to the Constitution states - is to secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. The ideas and qualities that exemplify the best of America can then be exported, not under the protection of armed might, but with the inevitability of a sound idea.

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