Krauthammer: Dead Wrong on the 14th

-By John Armor

There are parts of Fox News I cannot watch. There is that self-important blowhard. There is that worldwide ambulance chaser. But as often as I can, I watch their news program at 6 p.m. My favorite part of that program is the lightning round, and especially the contributions of Charles Krauthammer.

Charles normally dissects an issue with precision and accuracy. But not today, the 5th of August. He posed the issue whether a Congressman was right to say we need to amend the 14th Amendment to deal with the problem of anchor babies. Krauthammer made the mistake of not reading the Amendment before discussing it. So did all the other participants in the discussion.

Krauthammer correctly stated that “we should not amend the Constitution to deal with such a small problem.” He missed the opportunity to point out that the Congressman, like much of the American press and punditry, are asking the wrong question and therefore getting the wrong answer.

Let’s read the document, and see where that leads. The first sentence of the 14th Amendment says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States….” Who gets to say who are “subject to the jurisdiction”?

Skip to the last sentence of the Amendment. It is a clause that appears in many of the Amendments. “The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

There you have it, in the plain language of the Constitution itself. Congress can define by statute who is “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. It has long since done so with regard to children born to diplomatic personnel. A child born of Japanese diplomatic personal who is born in a D.C. hospital is Japanese at birth, not American. Why is that so? Because Congress wrote a law that says so.

Congress can solve the anchor baby problem immediately by a statute. It simply has to say that a child born of a Mexican citizen who has paid a coyote to get smuggled into the US, and risked death in the deserts of the Southwest to get to an Arizona hospital is not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US. It can further resolve the problem by ending all preferences for all known relatives of a prior anchor baby to come into the US.

Families don’t need to be “united” in the US. They will be just as united back in Mexico, or any other nation from which pregnant women engage in “citizenship tourism.”

Those who favor open borders, where anyone who can sneak into the US is entitled to all privileges of Americans, favor the anchor baby route to make this so. After all, it’s for the children. And they add, we shouldn’t mess with the Constitution.

But the Constitution is in no danger, and both mothers and babies will be in less danger, if Congress simply writes a law to deal with the problem. And the 14th Amendment gives Congress that very power.

Why would able reporters and even college professors write and say in the press that “the Constitution is in danger,” when it isn’t? These false sources are pretending that the Constitution is in danger to keep the people from realizing that statement is false, and the solution depends only on competent Members of Congress reading and following the Constitution.

Having watched and read Charles Krauthammer’s work for decades, I know he is not corrupt, distorting the Constitution to achieve a predetermined result. Instead, Charles just failed to do his homework. But still, he was dead wrong, and contributed to the public misunderstanding of this issue.

The truth is, as that obnoxious commercial says, “It’s so easy, even a caveman could do it.” Well, if a caveman can do it, so can a Congressman (or most of them can). Rewrite the law. Solve this problem, without spending a single dime on it. Now.
John Armor is a graduate of Yale, and Maryland Law School, and has 33 years practice at law in the US Supreme Court. Mr. Armor has authored seven books and over 750 articles. Armor happily lives on a mountaintop in the Blue Ridge. He can be reached at:

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