Some Republican politicians now say they want to change the Constitution, or challenge the Supreme Court, to begin denying citizenship to children born on American soil to parents who are undocumented immigrants. But they can’t answer the question of how to classify such American-born kids if you don’t count them as citizens. If they’re not citizens, would they count as illegal aliens like their parents? If so, they couldn’t ever gain legal status—since the same hard-liners who want to change birthright citizenship also ardently oppose any path to earned legal residency.
This means hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of kids growing up in the U.S. would be blocked from ever becoming Americans. Why is it sensible, or patriotic, to stop native-born kids who have lived here all their lives from Americanizing? These children would be punished forever for something their parents did before they were born—a notion that’s cruel in personal terms, and idiotic as policy.