Claremont Institute

The 14th Amendment, Immigration and Citizenship

A heated national conversation about birthright citizenship and the 14th Amendment is currently underway, with many politicians, pundits, and scholars on both the Right and Left getting it wrong. Claremont Institute scholars have been thinking and writing about this problem for many years. Below we've collected recent and past writings to provide some guidance on the relation between constitutional principles, citizenship, and immigration policy.

Articles and videos from John Eastman, Founding Director of our Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence:

For a succinct discussion of the problem, read Dr. Eastman's recent article for National Review:
"We Can Apply the 14th Amendment While Also Reforming Birthright Citizenship"

See also his Legal Memorandum, published by the Heritage Foundation in 2006:
"From Feudalism to Consent: Rethinking Birthright Citizenship"

For a more thorough scholarly analysis, see his congressional testimony below:
"Born in the U.S.A.? Rethinking Birthright Citizenship in the Wake of 9/11"

To hear Dr. Eastman discuss the history, politics, and meaning of the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause, watch this 2007 interview:
"Dr. John Eastman on Birthright Citizenship"

 

 

The Federalist Society hosted a debate between John Eastman and John Yoo, Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law and the University of California Berkeley School of Law and Claremont Institute Fellowship instructor, on whether the 14th Amendment mandates birthright citizenship.

Claremont Institute Senior Fellow Edward J. Erler wrote this short summary of the meaning of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment for The Heritage Foundation's Guide to the Constitution.

Frequent Claremont Review of Books contributor and summer fellowship faculty member Richard Samuelson provides some more historical and legal context in his essay for The Federalist: "Birthright For Whom?"

In the Fall 2013 issue of the Claremont Review of Books, we hosted a symposium on Immigration and American Exceptionalism, featuring contributions by former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Labor Linda Chavez, Ethics and Public Policy Center senior fellow Stanley Kurtz, and Claremont Institute Senior Fellows Angelo Codevilla and Edward J. Erler.

Finally, for the broader perspective, including how the Founders thought about the question of immigration and how our understanding has changed, we encourage you to buy a copy of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration: Principles and Challenges in America, featuring the scholarship of Claremont scholars Edward J. Erler, John Marini, and Thomas G. West.

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