#14thAmendment: Bill O’Reilly is Wrong about Birthright Citizenship

#14thAmendment: Bill O’Reilly is Wrong about Birthright Citizenship

#14thAmendment: Bill O’Reilly is Wrong about Birthright Citizenship

I’m quite surprised to be admitting this, but I actually agree with Donald Trump on one thing: that ending birthright citizenship can and should be done.


That doesn’t mean I support him for President. I wince when I think of a man who has until recently supported Planned Parenthood and single payer health care being a Republican candidate for President. I would not want a president who said he would “scare the Pope” through threats of ISIS into accepting capitalism.

But he is correct about the 14th amendment and birthright citizenship, despite the hammering by Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday night’s O’Reilly Factor.


O’Reilly continued the argument that anchor baby laws could not be overturned without a Constitutional amendment on Wednesday night’s broadcast, this time with Andrea Tantaros, who had dared to challenge the ever-pompous O’Reilly’s assertion on an earlier program Fox program, Outnumbered. He claimed the correctness of his position by citing a 1985 Supreme Court ruling, INS v. Rios-Pineda, which he claims held that children born in the United States to illegal aliens are granted citizenship.

O’Reilly is wrong, both on INS v. Rios-Pineda and the 14th Amendment automatically conferring citizenship upon anchor babies.

INS v. Rios-Pineda dealt with the alleged hardships that would have been faced by an illegal immigrant couple and their American-born children should they be deported. The court found for the couple to remain, yet the law still allows the Attorney General the right to refuse to suspend deportation.

Perhaps Bill O’Reilly should regard these words from Chief Justice John Marshall in Cohens v. Virginia (1821):

“It is a maxim not to be disregarded that general expressions in every opinion are to be taken in connection with the case in which those expressions are used. If they go beyond the case, they may be respected, but ought not to control the judgment in a subsequent suit when the very point is presented for decision.”

More importantly, the framers of the 14th Amendment (1868) never intended for it to be used to confer citizenship on the children of non-citizens. Edward Erler, Professor of Political Science at California State University, writes that Amendment 14 was intended to settle the citizenship question of newly freed black slaves.

Here is the part of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment in question: 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. Professor Erler notes that the founders did not intend for “jurisdiction” to mean merely where an individual is born:

“. . .”jurisdiction” did not mean simply subject to the laws of the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of its courts. Rather, “jurisdiction” meant exclusive “allegiance” to the United States. Not all who were subject to the laws owed allegiance to the United States.”

Radio host and Constitutional law attorney Mark Levin appeared on Hannity Wednesday night to explain the original intent of the 14th Amendment, and why it does not confer citizenship on anchor babies.

Personally, I would love to see Levin debate Bill O’Reilly. In fact, on his Thursday radio show, Levin explained why O’Reilly was wrong, and invited him and candidates who believe in birthright citizenship to have a civil debate on the topic. You can hear Levin’s audio invitation here.  But it won’t happen. It wouldn’t take much thought to figure out why.

So even though I still don’t support Trump for President, I’ll agree with him that birthright citizenship must be eliminated. And Bill O’Reilly? This one’s for you:


I don’t expect O’Reilly to ever admit that, however.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Appalled By The World says:

    It seems like the main problem with the 14th amendment is that it wasn’t worded very well. Had Section 1 specifically mentioned ex-slaves the whole anchor baby insanity could have been avoided. Of course in the 19th century the writers of the amendment assumed that future generations would know this amendment pertained to freed slaves and that politicians would always do what was in the nation’s best interest. Unfortunately they assumed too much because in the 21st century we have no longer have common sense and we have treasonous politicians misusing this amendment to basically destroy the nation. In any event the anchor baby nonsense MUST be ended and the only way it’ll happen is with another amendment. If another amendment is drafted one would hope it will be worded clearly so that there will be no need for assumptions on anyone’s part in the future.

    Provided we have enough politicians left with the spine to get this done and to make sure it can’t be vetoed by the Emperor Penguin that is.

  • DaveJ says:

    Even if the final result were to confirm citizenship for babies born to illegal aliens within the US, a revision of the ’65 version of our Immigration policies, which favored “family unification”, could remove the “anchor” from “anchor babies”.

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