Levin: 'Completely False' That Children Born to Illegals Have Constitutional Right to Citizenship

Michael Morris
By Michael Morris | August 19, 2015 | 2:02 PM EDT


Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, TV host, author and American lawyer Mark Levin (Screenshot)

Nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin explained on Tuesday why children born in the United States to illegal alien parents do not have a constitutional right to U.S. citizenship.

“I had to watch on TV, while I was in California, some so-called experts tell us--and former Bush appointees, and a former superior court judge in New Jersey tell us--that the Constitution embraces birthright citizenship, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it," said Levin. "Well that, of course, is completely false.”

Here is a transcript of what Mark Levin had to say:

“Birthright citizenship: I have discussed this a few times in my radio career – I think 2009. Maybe it was 2010. I think once or twice since then. And unfortunately, I had to watch on TV, while I was in California, some so-called experts tell us – and former Bush appointees, and a former superior court judge in New Jersey tell us – that the Constitution embraces birthright citizenship, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. Well that, of course, is completely false.

“And I don’t know why people who call themselves Constitutionalists swerve back and forth, lurched from the Constitution to Supreme Court decisions, and back and forth. First, let’s figure out what the Constitution says.

“And I see our senior legal analyst friend – and he is a friend of mine, Napolitano – is all over the place. And he’s wrong, as are many other so-called experts.

“I’ve actually spent my life on the Constitution. I wasn’t a superior court judge in New Jersey. I wasn’t a professor for doughnuts and coffee at Shmegegge University or what have you. And this is one of the areas I have poured over, over the decades.

“And yet nobody did a better job at explaining this than Professor Edward Erler, who I’ve talked about over the years. And he’s a professor at California State University. He is also at The Claremont Institute, a senior fellow there. But more than that, he happens to be right. And he testified before a subcommittee of Congress many years ago, almost 20 years ago. And he set forth the case.

“Now, he’s not the only one: Professor Thomas West has; Lino Graglia has, professor at University of Texas School of Law School. But even more than them, the framers of the Constitution set forth the basic law. And then we have, after the Civil War, three amendments to the Constitution – the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth – called the Civil War Amendments. And we know pretty much what occurred.

“Professor Erler was testifying. He said, ‘It’s my considered opinion, Congress has the authority, under Section Five of the Fourth Amendment, to define the jurisdiction of the United States [of the Fourteenth Amendment, of course]. Indeed, it is my contention that Congress has exercised that power on many occasions, most recently in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and I would say they also exercised it with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.”

“He points out, ‘Senator Jacob Howard … .’ You are now going to know more than anybody else, ladies and gentlemen. You know, one of the things I find when I sign books, and it’s good to do it because I get to talk to so many of you, people say, ‘Mark, your show is different because you really get into the substance.’ Now, we have fun. Don’t get me wrong. We do our thing too. But we do get into the substance. It’s one thing to say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Obviously the Constitution doesn’t provide that.’ That’s not enough. That’s not enough. So when you’re in a debate format or a political format or a classroom format or this format, you need to back it up, and that’s what we do here. We back it up.

“Senator Jacob Howard, the author of the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment – he spoke – he told us what he meant. He defined who would fall within the ‘jurisdiction of the United States.’ Ready?

“‘Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, [meaning the states – their jurisdiction] is, by virtue of natural law and national law, a citizen of the United States. 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. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great issue in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.’

“Mr. Call Screener, Mr. Producer, you understand that, right? Is it not plain English? Is he not as clear as can be, that it does not include aliens, it does not include foreigners, it does not include families or with ambassadors or foreign ministers?

“So, the author of the citizenship clause intended to count foreigners, aliens and those born to ambassadors, foreign ministers, as outside the jurisdiction of the United States. That’s Senator Jacob Howard. He knew, as his reference to natural law indicates that the republican basis for citizenship is consent – consent of the country.

“You can’t self-immigrate. You can’t claim jurisdiction because you happen to walk into the United States.

“Senator Lyman Trumbull, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a powerful supporter of the Fourteenth Amendment, remarked on May 30, 1866, that the jurisdiction clause includes those ‘not owing allegiance to anybody else … It’s only those persons who come completely within our jurisdiction, who are subject to our laws, that we think of making citizens; and there can be no objection to the proposition that such persons should be citizens.’ Now this was familiar language.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1866 defined citizens of the United States as ‘all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed.’ ‘Not subject to any foreign power.’

“It is universally agreed that the immediate impulse of the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment was to constitutionalize (constitutionalize) the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was an attempt to put the question of citizenship and matter of federal civil rights beyond the reach of simple congressional majorities. Thus, it was clear, the idea of allegiance, ‘not subject to any foreign power,’ was central to understanding the jurisdiction clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

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