T Nation

End of Birthright Citizenship


in New Zealand, that is. Effective at the start of this year, NZ has instituted rules that at least one parent must also be a citizen of NZ for the child to be a citizen.

I wonder what everyone thinks of this? I think the U.S. should strongly consider following suit.


Citizenship changes take effect

1/01/2006 5:01:02

From today on, not every baby born in this country will automatically be a New Zealand citizen.

Changes to the Citizenship Act mean there are tighter rules on children acquiring citizenship at birth.

It will only happen now if at least one of their parents is a New Zealand citizen or is entitled to be in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue indefinitely.

The changes have been brought in to recognise the value of citizenship.

Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Brian Clarke, says very few babies born in New Zealand will be affected by the changes.

The Department of Internal Affairs says the changes have been brought in to ensure the benefits of citizenship only go to those with a genuine and ongoing link to the country.

Meanwhile there has been a call to speed up the process of acquiring the right to live in New Zealand permanently.

Dr Nagalingham Rasalingham of the Refugee Council says the new rule delays the citizenship process for asylum seekers, which can be a very stressful time.

He says he will be writing to the Immigration Service to get some pace to the process.


The government has adopted this measure because there were a significant number of women coming over from other countries to deliberately give birth in NZ. Once the child was born, NZ was obliged to let them remain in NZ, as the alternative would be detrimental to the welfare of the child.

I think this is a good measure, for a number of reasons:
- NZ tax payers had to meet the hopsital costs of these women giving birth
- allowing the mother and child to stay in the country takes the place of 2 people who are trying to move to NZ on genuine grounds
- people who deliberately try to cheat the system should not be rewarded


That is pretty much the same problem that is occurring on the southern border of the U.S.


I would 100% agree that this needs to end. A child born on US soil, who does not have at least one parent that is a US citizen, should not be granted citizenship. Why is this concept so hard to grasp?


I disagree. They should be given citizenship, but their parents are illegal aliens and must be forced to leave. The parents have the choice of taking their child and going or turning it over to the state.

Child can then declare citizenship at 18. If he/she was foreign born.

However, I think an English First Amendment is more pressing.


Just to be clear, I'm not sure if this was your point, but what you wrote above IS the law. Children born of two illegals does not become a citizen until age 18 if they chose to declare it. Granted, at THAT time they could keep/bring their parents here under current law which allows citizens to bring their parents into the US with permanent residency, and apply for citizenship after 5 years.
There ARE also laws that prevent everyone born in the US from being or becoming a citizen, although I can't personally recall which have been upheld by the courts. I remember a friend who brough a relative to visit from Europe and that they had to sign a waiver stating that if they had a child during the visit they would not have a claim to citizenship. Also there was some law at least proposed that if a child was born in the US and his/her mother had been convicted of a crime as being illegal, that child would not gain citizenship rights as a result. Also, many children born of illegal aliens in the US are not put into any legal records (the hospitals just refuse to list the birth and its actually illegal for them to knowingly assist an illegal alien in any way, although I bet they could be sued for not helping), unless they have time to get a lawyer. As a result, when the child becomes 18 and applies for citizenship, they have no proof.


I, as a New Zealnder, welcome the law.

Geek boy


Im not saying that its a good or bad policy but thats its what we have currently. Of course the parents wont leave until caught by INS or anybody else capable of sending them to the INS


Note: it doesn't just apply to children of parent(s) who hold Citizenship but also, as BB originally noted, those parent(s) who hold permanent residence.

The point is not to deny children rightful claims to citizenship but to disuade people (relatives with no claim to citizenship/ residence)from taking advantage of such a claim.

People are still entitled to immigrate to NZ and apply for permanent residence through the usual channels.


True. But illegal aliens are not currently forced to leave. They are allowed to stay and raise their kids in America.


I disagree to a point. The child should be given legal resident status, not citizenship and then the Parents should be told they can take the baby with or not, but they're leaving the US.

Of course a few years back there was a big story about a family who came over to the US. The Mother had a baby and the baby was very sickly. There were some major medical problems. Anyway, the Parents Visa ran out and was not renewed, so they had to leave and the Hospital refused to release the child because it would've died. I don't remember the outcome or anything else... But it was interesting.

Well, they're not ALLOWED to stay, but cops aren't allowed ask if they're illegal immigrants (even if they've been arrested). Sad, sad, sad.


I think we are in danger of creating children that have no citizenship. That will not be a good outcome.

Perhaps, countries should work on not allowing the situation to occur so frequently that it is a significant problem.

Let's say all countries do this, and we have hundreds of thousands of people who no government will claim as their own?

What shall they do? If no government will accept them as citizens, and give them the rights and privileges thereof, I can't imagine they will end up feeling any allegiances to the state.


What's this "we" bullshit? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? The nationality of the child id the same as that of the parents. which side of the border the little shit pops out should be irrelevant if the parents are across the border illegally.

What objective fact am I missing here?


Having the child be the same nationality as the parents makes sense. Much as I may favor a law limiting birthright citizenship, I am not willing to throw out the Constitution. The 14th Amendment says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

So, the only way to do this would be by a Constitutional Amendment.


?Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!?

If the US had the same immigration laws 100 to 200 years ago, how many of us that are taking part in this debate would be US citizens?

Personally, I think the US is the best and strongest country in the world and should not be turning it's back on those in need.

This country was built on the backs of the less fortunate who came here hoping for a better life.

I hope we get back to being that country once again.


Amending the Constitution by the actual amendment process (as opposed to by 9 old people finding novel meanings amongst its "penumbras") to fix that issue wouldn't be a bad idea.

As long as we're amending, perhaps we can repeal direct senatorial election (17th Amendment) and presidential term limits, and then do something about gerrymandering...


Well I had to be naturalized after I moved here, and that took 13 years, but it finally went through. So I guess i'd at least be a citizen. =D

And I agree that we shouldn't turn our backs on those in need and that the less fortunate did indeed help shape the US. They came here looking for a new life and started working on it as soon as they got here.

Long days and nights, week after week, working and working to provide for themselves and their families.

Now people depend on the government for aid and if the government won't give it they try to sue.

Did you know that Arizona was forced to put water fountains in the middle of a desert area along the Arizona-Mexico border?

Someone died because he was trying to illegaly cross into the United States and he didn't have any water. His parents sued and Arizona was forced to put water fountains out there. Anyway, i'm rambling. Sorry. =D


I don't know how much impact, in functional terms, of implementing such reform in the US would actually be. Legally, in most jurisdictions, emergency treatment is required to be provided to ill persons, regardless of citizenship, thats a public goods failure in the event that such service is provided to a non-citizen. Any cost to the citizenry in this form would not be negated by such reform.

Similarly, statistics bear out that the more costly social programs are not taken advantage/opportunity of by the first generations of immigrants, the rate rather increases with the number of generations one is removed from immigration. Inductively then, this would not really be as significant a concern.

The necessity for such legislative action in NZ may come from the fact that public expendature to beneift citizens exceedes that of the US on a per capita basis.

Further, much policy aimed at benefting the citizenry of the US is codified in the incentive structures inhernet to business and other tax codes (writeoffs for employer and employee spending on retirement funds, healthcare, insurence and other such programs that have a positive impact upon the average standard of living).

The vocations of individuals who would not be considered citizens, were such legislation implemented in the states, are rarely connected to such things as retirement funds, healthcare and insurence. As there is an inherent trade-off between the provision of tax incentives and the revenue that the governement could collect in the absence of the incentivising tax breaks, in the event that these incentives are not often taken advantage of by the employers of the abovementioned individuals there would be no taxable expendatures that could be factored into the equation, making the 'cost' less.

There is also an efficiency argument to be made with regard to the availability of inexpensive labor in the form of immigrants and the successive generations which are not far removed from immigration themselves.

One significant question remains: What would happen to the status of the children of an individual if that individual were to gain citizenship after having resided in a country for a term of time, their children having been born there and not afforded citizenship as a function of the regulations in place?

Quite frankly, I personally could care less weather or not such reform is implemented in the US, just thought I'd get into the structural implications a little bit as argumentation based in economic issues is always soon to follow from immigration/naturalization-based discourse.

sorry to ramble on.


Not necessarily. If those born here to illegals were covered in a treaty between two countries it would not be the case (as is true for diplomats). They would have to be under the jurisdiction of the country of their parents origin, or a special court set up by the treaty.


Legally in Arizona emergency personnel (Police, EMT's, etc...) are required to ensure the person they're going to assist is of legal residence prior to assisting them. If they are not, then no help is allowed be given.

Don't know if it actually happens all the time or not, but legally, that's what's supposed to happen.