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Radical shift in US Policy

Trump’s radical policy ‘America for Americans’ has received a new thrust. In one more step against illegal immigration, the US President has expressed the desire to end the right to citizenship for the children of non-citizens and unauthorised immigrants born on US soil. He has sent troops to stop an immigrant caravan from Mexico. He can do nothing against African Americans who have been integrated into US society for nearly 200 years. His campaign seems to be against the borrowing off of Americans. He proposes to strike at the root of US citizenship – the principle of Jus soli. Jus soli is a Latin term that means law of the soil. According to this principle, citizenship of a person is determined by the place where a person was born. which is almost globally accepted. So far the US was in league with all great democracies. A child born on US soil automatically became an American citizen. The colour of its skin had nothing to do with its birth.

The law of birthright citizenship in the US came in 1868 in response to the Dred Scott v. Sandford case in which Scott, a black slave, claimed that he and his wife should be granted their freedom because they had lived in the state of Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory for four years, where slavery was illegal. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was enacted to guarantee the right to citizenship for all persons born within the United States and subject to its jurisdiction. India may have shown the way to Donald Trump by opposing mass emigration from Bangladesh and the recent hassle over the National Register of Citizens in Assam.
In the US the 14th Amendment is the constitutional guarantee of American citizenship. The place of birth is the determinant. Even legal documents are not strictly necessary. Trump was wrong in claiming that the US is the only country that grants birthright citizenship. While most countries, including India, do not offer such citizenship, more than 30 countries do. Trump will of course face legal challenges. But the maverick US president does not seem to care having fallen foul of the US Supreme Court a number of times during his short term. His new move will disenfranchise millions of citizens as it would have retrospective effect. Many of them may have distinguished themselves in various fields, academic, scientific, corporate and even political. Is Trump afraid of a multi- racial constituency?

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