WASHINGTON - The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, called on the Senate to reject a misguided proposal that would fundamentally undercut the rights of all Americans enshrined in the Constitution.
Senators David Vitter (R-La.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a joint resolution last week seeking to amend the Constitution and end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship.
“Adopted to secure the rights of all Americans in the wake of the Civil War, the 14th Amendment and its guarantee of citizenship to all children born here has played a critical role in the special character of this country,” said Karen K. Narasaki, AAJC president and executive director. “This proposed amendment is contrary to our American values of fairness and inclusion.”
The 14th Amendment has played a particularly critical role in Asian American history. More than 100 years ago in the case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark the Supreme Court, at a time when racism and xenophobia against Chinese immigrants was rampant, held that the 14th Amendment conferred citizenship on all children born in the U.S., even if their parents were not citizens or eligible to become citizens.
“The constitutional right of citizenship to all U.S.-born children allowed Asian immigrant families to put down roots and begin the fight for inclusion in American society,” Narasaki said. “The proposed amendment aims to return us to an era when minorities were not considered equal to whites nor worthy of citizenship. Congress should work toward comprehensive immigration reform that unites all Americans, rather than creating needless divisions over matters settled during the 19th Century.”
# # #
The Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, works closely with its sister organizations – the Asian American Institute in Chicago, the Asian Law in San Francisco and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles – to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.
AAJC turns 20 next year. Help us celebrate by attending the 15th annual American Courage Awards in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 6, 2011. Details will follow.