Birthright Citizenship and Children Born in the United States to Alien Parents: An Overview of the Legal Debate

Birthright Citizenship and Children Born in the United States to Alien Parents: An Overview of the Legal Debate. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Alexandra M. Wyatt. October 28, 2015.

The first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Citizenship Clause, provides that “[a]ll 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.” This generally has been taken to mean that any person born in the United States automatically gains U.S. citizenship, regardless of the citizenship or immigration status of the person’s parents, with limited exceptions such as children born to recognized foreign diplomats. The current rule is often called “birthright citizenship.”

[PDF format, 25 pages, 723.95 KB].

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