Readers React: Birthright citizenship: a reward for breaking immigration law


To the editor: The Times fails to point out the fundamental reason for the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship provision, which was to allow the children of slaves born in America to become citizens. It has nothing to do with illegal immigrants. (“The ‘birthright citizenship’ debate,” Editorial, Oct. 26)

Now we are faced with the dilemma created by our broad interpretation of the 14th Amendment. Separating children from parents, if the children are young, is obviously not a choice. While sending all to the parents’ native country can be difficult for the children, allowing both parents and children to stay rewards the parents for violating immigration law and encourages others to do the same.

The solution is to increase our efforts to protect our borders, stop rewarding the children of illegal immigrants with citizenship and remove those families here illegally as quickly as possible to ease their children’s transition to life in their parents’ native countries.


Don Tonty, Los Angeles


To the editor: Your editorial on birthright citizenship goes off the rails in many directions, including with the weary trope that America is “a nation of immigrants.” Even after four decades of renewed mass immigration, 87% of us are native-born citizens, thus not “immigrants” in any sense.

Surely members of the editorial board know this, so maybe they meant that America was founded by immigrants. But that’s wrong, too: The U.S. was created by settlers (colonists), while immigrants are those who move to a polity that’s already a going concern.

It’s true that America has seen a lot of immigration, but that isn’t central to the country’s attractive character, which is dominated by the Anglo-Protestant culture of those settlers, as Harvard’s Samuel Huntington showed.

Regarding the children of illegal immigrants, Investor’s Business Daily had it right in 2005: “Becoming a U.S. citizen should require more than your mother successfully sneaking past the U.S. Border Patrol.”

Paul Nachman, Bozeman, Mont.



To the editor: The idea of the great American dream is spreading all over the world — and people are surprised that foreigners want to come here? Really?

Immigrants do not come here to just “drop” an anchor baby, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) claimed in 2010. That Graham’s naive statement is even still considered a valid argument upsets me.

The fact that children are now under attack in the immigration battle is pathetic. The solution proposed to further increase border security really disheartens me because it seems only Latinos, once again, are being targeted.

Immigrants come here to pursue prosperity through actual hard work and dedication. Yet there are citizens who can work but sit back and collect welfare — and they too have babies.

Eduardo Vasquez, Los Angeles


To the editor: If the people of the U.S. truly want to repel immigration, then they should tear down the Statue of Liberty, since they do not agree with the poem by Emma Lazarus. The selfish people who want to deny children of any heritage citizenship should remember that child might be the next Einstein, Steve Jobs or Grace Hopper.


Call me disgusted by the citizens against progress.

Sharon Dugan, Laguna Beach

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