The issue of birthright citizenship, becoming a U.S. citizen because you were born in the United States, is back in the news. But that has not always been the case: African-Americans, for example, were historically excluded from birthright citizenship until passage of the 14th Amendment after the Civil War.
First read the article “Wong Kim Ark.” You will find it on our classes’ Blackboard site under “Additional Readings.”
Wong Kim Ark was born in San Francisco in 1873. The 14th Amendment was already law when he was born. But he was not considered a U.S. citizen–why? How did that create legal trouble for him? What were the arguments in court, pro and con, for granting him citizenship? How was he able to prove his case?
Finally, do you think birthright citizenship is a good thing or a bad thing for this country? Why?