By Raoul Lowery Contreras
President Trump has declared that he is the “Chosen One.” By God we presume. He says it was a sarcastic joke.
Almost in the same breath, he declared that he will end “birthright citizenship” by executive order. That, he thinks, will sink the Constitution’s 14th Amendment that makes America more than just a country, setting a political/legal standard no other nation in history has ever met.
Specifically, he proposes to delete the first sentence of the amendment, one that even a third grader can understand:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”
The Supreme Court of the United States upheld those words in 1898 in the Wong Kim Ark case. Let’s be clear, the court could not overturn the 14th Amendment even it didn’t like it because it cannot overturn a constitutional amendment or any part of it if that has been processed correctly by Congress and the requisite number of states. A U.S. President can hate an amendment but he can’t change it any more than the court can.
Donald Trump was born in New York, thus he was born a citizen regardless of the fact that his Scottish mother was not born in the United States and would not have qualified to enter the country under Trump’s proposed immigration rules.
My American citizenship comes from my mother, who was born in California. My father was a Mexican citizen. I am a Mexican citizen because I was born in Mexico, not because my father was Mexican. Having citizenship in the two neighboring countries gives me a unique view of the 14th Amendment that Trump does not have.
Never mind that I have read it a thousand times and read every Supreme Court decision on the amendment. Can we presume from his statements that the President has not read the Constitution, much less the court’s earthshaking decision on citizenship for Wong Kim Ark in 1898? Has he ever heard of the Slaughter-House Cases in which the court ruled that any law applies to all not just specific interests? Those 1873 cases undermine arguments by Constitution haters that the 14th Amendment was passed only to grant citizenship to Negro slaves. The court ruled that: “the letter and spirit of those articles must apply to all cases coming within their purview, whether the party concerned be of African descent or not.”
The 14th Amendment is to many historians, legal scholars and political scientists the single greatest political achievement in history, ranking with the British nobility seeding democracy as we know it with the Magna Carta almost a thousand years ago.
The 14th Amendment with its “equal protection” for all, “due process” for all, and citizenship for all born here regardless of who the parents are stands alone as sacred. The 14th is the essence and soul of the United States of America. It is what President Ronald Reagan called the “shining city on the hill.”
It cannot be tampered with; it cannot be destroyed — especially by ignorance.
It would take a massive national demand for change. The President has no such national sentiment to work with, only the support of splinter-sized cohorts of white nationalists, supremacists, racists and other people who “Jews will not replace.” They betray the essence of America that, with the exception of Negro slavery, has ruled since the English colonial days.
Birthright citizenship was defined by English courts in 1608 in the Scottish cases. It was the law in the American colonies for all except Africans and their progeny from the moment the British landed in Virginia.
President Trump’s first Secretary of State called the President an “[expletive] moron.” That was before the President declared that he could junk the Constitution of the United States with a declaration altering the 14th Amendment because he thinks he can as the “chosen one.”
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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