AILA: Really? Birthright Citizenship Is the ‘Immigration’ Issue Congress Wants to Take Up?

April 28, 2015

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - Crystal Williams, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), commented on the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Birthright Citizenship: Is it the Right Policy for America?" with the following statement:

"Really? Birthright Citizenship is the 'immigration' issue that Congress feels requires a hearing right now? The fact that this hearing, through its title alone, seeks to challenge a long-standing principle founded in our country's Constitution is frankly ridiculous. The Fourteenth Amendment was intended to put citizenship above the politics and prejudices of any given era and is the bedrock of American civil rights because it ensures due process and equal protection under the law to everyone.

"Birthright Citizenship is as American as apple pie - that each person is born equal with no disadvantage or exalted status arising from the circumstance of their parentage. This is not feudal England and this is not a caste society. Anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live the American dream, regardless of who their parents are, because we are all created equal.

"Congressman Steve King (R-IA) has long espoused the idea of denying this basic right to those born on American soil, and it looks like he'll get his chance to bring sympathetic witnesses. But given everything else going on in the world today, given our country's proud history of liberty and equality, why is this issue the one they focus on? Why not actually try and fix our broken immigration system and give our nation a workable set of laws and policies that reflect our founders' goals and our country's values? I guess that would be too much like hard work.

"Changing one of the foundational principles of our country isn't just a bad idea morally. It would also require that the federal government register each and every child at birth, determining their 'right' to be a citizen as they take their first breath. Do we really want another level of federal bureaucracy, this time in our maternity wards? It's impractical, it's ridiculous, and it's offensive, so of course, it's what Congress is focused on for several hours tomorrow."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15042799.