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U.S. born Zury Vizguerra, 5 months, gazes at her mother Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented Mexican immigrant on July 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Vizguerra has four children, three of whom were born in the U.S. as American citizens. If Vizguerra is deported, her husband and children will stay on in the United States.
Birthright citizenship and immigration remain some of the most controversial fights in today’s public policy debates.
In the past week, we’ve seen several quasi “Dream Act” proposals as the competition mounts for Latino votes, most recently the still-not-unveiled plan that Marco Rubio has been talking about; President Obama has unveiled a new set of rules outlining better care for immigrants and asylum-seekers detained while waiting for their deportation hearings; and those who want to deny citizenship to American-born children of undocumented immigrants still want to amend the U.S. Constitution to end birthright citizenship altogether.
What if we left behind the contentious argument and, instead, contemplated taking the policy even further? What if no one was granted automatic U.S. citizenship, regardless of the nationality of his or her parents? What if everyone had to do something to earn it? That is the premise of a thought experiment by Eric Liu. He joins David to talk about it.
Is citizenship a birthright?
Eric Liu, author, former Clinton speechwriter and policy advisor