American Citizenship: Unchanged Since 1787

I walked into the communal bathroom that I share with the two dozen or so other girls that live in the same hall as me here at the University of Richmond’s Lora Robins Court a few months ago and saw this flyer plastered on each stall’s door:

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When I read the orange dialogue bubbles, all I can think is that of course I would still refer to people as illegal aliens if I knew someone who was an ‘undocumented citizen’ because there is no such thing an undocumented citizen. The Constitution’s Citizenship Clause states that “[a]ll 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”.

The definition of citizen has not changed since the Constitution was written in 1787, so any foreigner who wishes to acquire American citizenship must undergo the process of naturalization. The naturalization process involves living in the U.S. as a permanent resident (a.k.a., as someone who holds a green card) for a minimum of five years prior to the date of submission of a Form N-400, and since undocumented immigrants do not have green cards, they do not meet the basic qualifications for citizenship. However, liberals still choose to refer to them as citizens, and were quick to condemn President Trump when the Associated Press (AP) stated that the Trump administration was discussing an eleven-page memo calling for 100,000+ National Guard troops to be mobilized to aid the government in rounding up illegal aliens in eleven states (Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Utah), ignoring these facts:

  1. The memo, which included a provision giving the governors of the aforementioned states the option of employing their troops for the previously-stated purpose, was authored by Gen. John Kelly, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was not written by Trump, and it was rejected soon after it was submitted for consideration.
  2. George W. Bush mobilized several National Guard troops with the goal of enforcing our immigration laws in 2006, as did Barack Obama in 2010.

It’s common for liberals to claim that undocumented (read: illegal) immigrants do not cost the American people anything because ‘without documentation they can’t receive benefits’. While this should be true, it isn’t — and we needn’t look back further than to the case of Larissa Martinez, the college scholarship recipient from Texas who revealed in her valedictory speech that she is an illegal alien, to see the true cost of illegal immigration on the American citizenry. She worked hard while in high school, I’m sure, but whose social security number (SSN) did she use while she was applying to college? She must have used one if she applied as an American citizen, which we can infer she did based on the facts that no one knew about her status until she gave her speech and all school-related records require students’ SSNs and that she received a generous scholarship, as American students are given preferential treatment over foreign students applying to American universities when it comes to grant and scholarship money.

I, personally, am an advocate for the abolition of birthright citizenship, but since that would require an amendment to the Constitution, it is unlikely that we will ever see it abolished — but the idea that deporting an illegal immigrant who just so happens to be a parent (of an anchor baby) is immoral is asinine. If someone commits a crime — and one hundred percent of illegal immigrants have committed a crime by coming here illegally —, s/he should go to jail, regardless of his or her parental status. What is the difference between sending someone’s parent to prison for committing a crime and deporting someone’s parent for coming into this country illegally?

I’m a Hispanic woman of Puerto Rican descent, and I do not see the issue with the stances President Trump has taken on immigration. What is wrong with wanting to enforce laws currently in place and increase efficiency?

Our nation was founded by immigrants, and our First Lady is an immigrant. If nothing else, that illustrates that any natural-born or naturalized citizen can achieve the American dream — and that’s fair! Why should someone who broke our laws and snuck into our country illegally be given a chance to achieve the American dream?

The U.S. is home to courageous leaders, champions of the free world who pride themselves on their assiduousness — and in disregarding the agreed-upon path to citizenship the founding fathers established, illegal immigrants have demonstrated that they do not have the diligence or perseverance that characterizes the American spirit. We should not — and, as the Constitution does not reference a path to citizenship that does not involve naturalization, legally cannot — give someone something they can earn: American citizenship.

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