In the United States and other nations, children who are born within that country’s borders automatically give that child rights and privileges that non-citizens do not receive. This rights can even be extended to the rest of the family. With birthright citizenship, a child must be born in that country and at least one parent must be a citizen of that country. This type of requirement has certain pros and cons that must be evaluated.
The Pros of Birthright Citizenship
1. It saves taxpayers a tremendous amount of money.
Expectant mothers can fly into a nation on a tourist visa, give birth so their child has citizenship, and then return home with their child. Without this ability, fewer health care costs would be absorbed by taxpayers and ultimately save money for everyone.
2. Social programs would be reserved more for local needs.
Children with citizenship rights also have certain benefits they are eligible to receive even if their parents came to the country illegally just to give birth. Birthright citizenship limits those rights and the costs which are associated with them, allowing social programs to be used as they were intended.
3. It enhances the safety of a nation.
In an era when people are becoming highly radicalized and terrorist threats seem to be everywhere, birthright citizenship provides an extra layer of safety. It won’t necessarily stop home-grown threats, but it limits the ability for households to give a child citizenship and then teach them personally how to harm others in that nation.
The Cons of Birthright Citizenship
1. It punishes the children who are born.
Children don’t have any control over where they are born. By requiring birthright citizenship, it isn’t the parents who are penalized. It is the children. Their citizenship would revert to their parent’s home nation and that may limit their ability to succeed later on in life.
2. Most nations are founded by immigrants in the first place.
Especially in the United States, the “we were here first” argument doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. Colonists came to the New World that was already settled by tribes. Requiring birthright citizenship violates the spirit that many nations were founded under.
3. It could violate the law.
In the US, the 14th Amendment guarantees that people born on US soil have the right to become a citizen. This Amendment may have passed as a way to limit slavery at the time, but that doesn’t mean people can just ignore the law because they disagree with it.
Birthright citizenship has some advantages from a monetary standpoint, but disadvantages from an ethics standpoint. Both sides make valid points. This means it is up to each person to decide what their stance on this issue should be.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.