ADL Adopts Resolution to Oppose Lawmakers' Efforts to Deny 14th Amendment Citizenship Rights

New York, NY, February 14, 2011 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has adopted a resolution to oppose federal and state efforts to eliminate the right to automatic citizenship for anyone born in theUnited States, as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

In a resolution passed unanimously during its annual National Executive Committee meeting in Palm Beach,Florida, ADL's highest policymaking body resolved to "oppose state and federal efforts to amend or interpret the Fourteenth Amendment to eliminate the right to birthright citizenship."

The League said efforts by some legislators to reinterpret or redefine the amendment are "mean-spirited and highly divisive," and "a distraction that moves the country away from fixing the real problems with our broken immigration system."

The text of the ADL Resolution follows: 

WHEREAS, it is has been a long held policy and principle of our nation, enshrined in our Constitution, that if you are born in the U.S., you are a U.S.citizen;

WHEREAS, there is a movement in the U.S. to reinterpret the U.S. Constitution so as to eliminate birthright citizenship, despite the clear text of the 14th Amendment and long-settled U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence interpreting it as guaranteeing this right;

WHEREAS, this assault on the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship attacks our fundamental understanding of who is an American;

WHEREAS, eliminating birthright citizenship would undermine our commitment to equality under law by creating a two-tiered society in our country, in which some babies that are born in the U.S. will have fundamental rights and other babies will not;

WHEREAS, eliminating birthright citizenship is an impractical proposition and would impose significant burdens on Americans, both practically and financially, as all parents would need to prove citizenship for their children, and the U.S. government would have to assess citizenship for every child born in the U.S.;

WHEREAS, such a two-tiered system of birth categories would add a tremendous financial and administrative burden to the government;

WHEREAS, legislative proposals to eliminate birthright citizenship are mean-spirited and highly divisive. These efforts foster fear and distrust, and will have a devastating effect in our communities;

WHEREAS, we, as a community, understand that when a society begins to demonize a group as less deserving of rights, discrimination, exploitation, and worse follows; and that sitting silent in the face of efforts to eliminate birthright citizenship conflicts with ADL's long tradition of fighting bias, prejudice, bigotry and hate;

WHEREAS, the ADL adopted policy in February, 2006, in support comprehensive immigration reform and proposals to eliminate birthright citizenship are a distraction that moves the country away from fixing the real problems with our broken immigration system; 

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Anti-Defamation League opposes state and federal efforts to amend or interpret the Fourteenth Amendment to eliminate the right to birthright citizenship.

February 12, 2011

National Executive Committee