Gerald Walpin, JD, former Inspector General of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in a Feb. 22, 2016 Federalist Society article, “Birthright Citizenship: Two Perspectives,” available at, stated

“Websites in many foreign countries induce pregnant women to come to and pay up to $80,000 to ‘maternity hotels’ in the United States, on the promise of American citizenship to the newly-born child who then returns to the foreign country. Mexican pregnant women cross the border to give birth in near-border U.S. hospitals for the same purpose. Many illegal immigrants in this country have children with the expectation that the child will be a U.S. citizen at birth, and thereby anchor the parents to be able to remain here…

We start with the relevant words of the 14th Amendment ratified on July 9, 1868. It requires that two conditions—not just birth in this country—be present for citizenship to be granted: (i) the baby must be ‘born … in the United States;’ and (ii) when born, the baby must be ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the United States. A cursory glance at the words themselves makes it clear that those who argue that mere birth within the United States results in citizenship fail reasonably to address this second requirement….

Another reason the Birthright Citizenship provision does not give automatic citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal or transient aliens is that there is no evidence that those who voted to adopt the 14th Amendment even considered such a scenario. The purpose of this portion of the 14th Amendment was, as one senator put it during the Senate debate on the 14th Amendment, ‘simply to declare that Negroes shall be citizens of the United States,’ and therefore guaranteed equal citizenship rights in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Furthermore, they could not have intended to grant citizenship to children of illegal aliens because no category of ‘illegal aliens’ then existed. In 1866, when Congress approved the amendment, immigration was essentially unhindered; any immigrant was a legal immigrant, entitled to citizenship after a minimum residence period.”

Feb. 22, 2016