Obama exempts thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation.Secretary of State Janet Napolitano announced on June 15 that illegal immigrants "who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria" will be granted a reprieve from deportation. The young people in question must have come to the United States under the age of 16, resided in this country for at least five years, and not be above the age of 30.
President Obama made a Rose Garden announcement later in the day in defense of this new policy, which many have called a "backdoor amnesty" for young illegal immigrants. "They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper?' claimed Obama. He added, "It makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans."
The President may warmly embrace this concept in part because he has been plagued with allegations that he is not a "natural born citizen" as required by Article II of the Constitution. Unfortunately for Obama and for those he has now promised protection from removal from the United States, U.S. citizenship is not defined by how one feels about himself, where he was raised, or even where he was born.
The citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the States wherein they reside." The principal architect of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment was Michigan Senator Jacob Merritt Howard, who crafted much of the language that was eventually ratified as part of the 14th Amendment. During the debates that embroiled the Senate in years following the Civil War, Howard insisted that the qualifying phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof' be inserted. He explained to his colleagues:
This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.
Based on a correct understanding of the citizenship clause, "anchor babies" born in the United States to illegal-immigrant parents are not entitled to U.S. citizenship simply because of where they were born. Yet anchor babies are granted citizenship based on a revisionist view of the 14th Amendment, and now Obama is viewing young illegal immigrants who came here as children as being, "for all intents and purposes Americans" and changing policy accordingly.
The new immigration guidelines announced on June 15 are similar to those set out in the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which has been repeatedly proposed, but never passed and sent to the President, by Congress. Thus the President is now doing by executive fiat what the people's representatives refused to do legislatively. Ironically, in a 2011 speech to a Hispanic advocacy group, President Obama informed the audience that the Constitution prevented him from effecting immigration reform. "I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own," the President said. "That's not how our system works?' Apparently it does now.