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Author of 14th Amendment: ‘Removes All Doubt as to What Persons Are or Are Not Citizens’

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | October 31, 2018 | 3:53 PM EDT

Sen. Jacob Howard (R-Michigan) (Source: U.S. Library of Congress)

Today, debate is raging in Congress over whether or not the 14th Amendment grants automatic citizenship to the children of illegal aliens born on U.S. soil – but, the author of the amendment said its intent couldn’t be clearer.

On May 30, 1866, Sen. Jacob Howard (R-Michigan), the author of the amendment's language, gave a speech on the Senate floor explaining its meaning and declaring that that the amendment “settles the great question” and “removes all doubt” about citizenship:

“It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States.”

Sen. Howard even went so far as to say that the amendment’s intent had been so thoroughly discussed that he shouldn’t even have to clarify it:

“I do not propose to say anything on that subject except that the question of citizenship has been so fully discussed in this body as not to need any further elucidation, in my opinion.”

What’s more, the amendment is only articulating what is already established law, Sen. Howard said:

“The first amendment to section one, declaring that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside.’

“This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.”

As for birthright citizenship, Sen. Howard said “foreigners” and “aliens” born on U.S. soil are, “of course,” not citizens:

“This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

And, yet, today, Democrats led by House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fiercely insist the 14th amendment grants citizenship to children of illegal aliens born in the U.S., while President Donald Trump, his Republican supporters and constitutional scholar Mark Levin adamantly argue that it does not.

Further muddling the issue, House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) recently suggested that the 14th amendment does grant birthright citizenship, while retired Democrat icon Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) once argued that “no sane country” would do so.


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