Birthright citizenship
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Politics and Activism

As A True American, I Don't See Anything Wrong With Trump's Take on Birthright Citizenship

Take a second to evaluate your own opinions before you go fighting his.

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all american
Luke Shin

Birthright citizenship is the American tradition of allowing anyone born on U.S. soil to be considered a U.S. citizen. This is regardless of the citizenship status of the parents of the child. Illegal, legal, immigrant, native, none of this is taken into account when determining the child's citizenship. Because the United States of America was the first thing this child knows, he/she too is now a part of our great nation. This is the way it's always been, but does that mean that it should always be this way?

At the end of the day, it comes down to how you define being a citizen of this country. What does "being American" mean to you? Is it a matter of where you were born? Is it a matter of the color of your skin? Is it a matter of who your parents are or how much money you have or how long your family has been in this country?

Or…is it a matter of your principles? Is it a matter of valuing equality over everything? Is it a matter of placing justice, fairness, and kindness at the top of your values? Is it a matter of accepting Americans as your brothers and sisters and believing that America is your home?

I am not asking these questions to persuade anyone of anything. The idea is to really sit down and understand why we all feel so strongly about things like birthright citizenship when many of us don't even have a true understanding of what being a citizen means to us.

Immigrants have to fill out a billion forms and go through a multi-step process culminating in one test of 10 questions ranging in topic from American history to geography, to laws, and even to governmental departments. Many of these questions even Americans who have lived here all their lives cannot answer. So this then begs the question: why do naturalized Americans have to go through this test? Then, does this formal passing of the test make them more American than a someone who gained their citizenship through birthright?

The 14th Amendment states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Anton, said, "[i]f you are here illegally, if you owe your allegiance to a foreign country, if you're a citizen of a foreign country, that clause does not apply to you." To that, I have this to say: the vast majority of people do not move to a new country with the intention of holding on to every part of the country they came from. That is just not feasible. Culture and memories and traditions come with immigrants, that's true, but that is what makes America so great. We truly are a melting pot of cultures and ideals. If you ask everyone to forget their past at the door, America will lose a lot of what makes it unique. That being said, children born in the United States have no connection to other countries besides that connection made through their parents.

My parents immigrated here from India a couple of years before my brother and I were born. When we were born neither of them were citizens. They have since naturalized, but my brother and I are first-generation Americans. While India is my "motherland" and I love it there, America is my home. I have never known another place. I can't imagine what it would be like to live your whole life here and be suddenly abandoned by your country because of your parents' status at the time of your birth. I am not my parents. Their attachments and loyalties are similar to mine but definitely not the same.

When I think about being American, I think about walking hot soup over to my neighbors when I know they are sick or barbecuing on the Fourth of July, not what year the 12th Amendment was passed. I think about voting and holding politicians and civilians to the same level of accountability. I think about recognizing my countries flaws and doing everything in my power to make this country better for the next generation.

That is what makes me American, not my birthright citizenship.

So Trump can go ahead and try and dispute the 14th Amendment, but it won't help his agenda. True Americans know that citizenship isn't what makes us American. That being said, we aren't going to sit around and let him take away the legal rights of so many first-generation Americans. Election Day is just around the corner, and I'm ready to make my voice heard.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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