Tim Sandefur has an interesting post about the law of birthright citizenship. He argues that it’s not necessarily the case that birthright citizenship is as firmly established by the Constitution as both supporters and critics assume. I’m not a lawyer so I’ll defer to Sandefur’s expertise on the legal merits. But I think this is orthogonal to the argument I was making. Limiting birthright citizenship is a bad idea regardless of whether it can be done by statute or requires a constitutional amendment.
Meanwhile, Jason Kuznicki chimes in with another strong argument for birthright citizenship:
I don’t imagine that anti-immigration activists are going to be bought off so easily. Instead, a permanent, multi-generational class of non-citizens would just be fuel for the fire. Twenty years on, immigration foes will look at all the second- and third-generation non-citizens we’ve created, and the mass arrests and deportations will really begin in earnest…
The genius of birthright citizenship is that it changes the incentives for everyone involved. It says to all populations: You’ve got roughly twenty years to figure out how to live with one another, as citizens. Now get to work.