All Americans can agree that ending illegal immigration and fixing our broken immigration system is of paramount national importance. But we should also be able to agree that taking aim at one of the Constitution’s most fundamental provisions—the citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment—is an unwieldy, counterproductive, and potentially dangerous way to address those concerns.
Opponents of birthright citizenship cloak their arguments in legal revisionism, but those arguments fail to hide the extremism inherent in this assault on the 14th Amendment. Their opening line of attack is that the amendment’s framers didn’t mean what they said and that Congress can therefore restrict who is entitled to citizenship at birth. To reach that conclusion requires a radical reinterpretation of firmly settled constitutional law, not to mention judicial activism of the highest order.This article was originally published in U.S. News and World Report.