LOS ANGELES (Aug. 25, 2015) — In response to the intense public and media interest in recent days over the issue of birthright citizenship and “anchor babies”, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) issues the following statement to clarify this issue:
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” This cherished concept of “birthright citizenship” is at the heart of what makes our nation unique and diverse.
Adopted after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was rooted in ensuring full U.S. citizenship for the children of freed slaves. In the 1898 case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that this right extended to the children of immigrants as well. As an organization rooted in both civil rights and immigrant rights advocacy, we believe Wong Kim Ark and its legacy of granting citizenship to the children of non-citizens to be a cornerstone of what makes our nation great.
“By giving root to countless immigrant families of all races and ethnicities and providing an opportunity to integrate and become part of the American story, birthright citizenship has helped to create a diverse and inclusive society unlike anywhere else in the world,” said Karin Wang, Vice-President of Programs and Communications at Advancing Justice – LA. “With the projected demographic shift towards a majority U.S. population that is immigrant and largely from Asia, Africa and Latin America, we urge lawmakers to advance policies that integrate and welcome immigrant communities, instead of being side-tracked by attacks on long-standing Constitutional principles.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.