Is a baby born in the United States of Mexican Parents automatically an American Citizen?
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship at birth to almost all individuals born in the United States or in U.S. jurisdictions, according to the principle of jus soli. Certain individuals born in the United States, such as children of foreign heads of state or children of foreign diplomats, do not obtain U.S. citizenship under jus soli.
The following is from the U.S. Customs and Immigrations website:
Interpretation 301.1 United States citizenship.
(a) Birth in the United States.
(b) Birth abroad.
(a) Birth in the United States .
(1) Statutory development . Prior to 1866, absent any statutory or constitutional provision, it was generally held, under the common-law principle of jus soli (the law of the place), that a person born in the United States acquired citizenship at birth; this principle was incorporated in the Civil Rights Act of April 9, 1866, and, two years later, found expression in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides that all persons born in the United States, and subject to its jurisdiction, are citizens of the United States.
The above constitutional provision has remained in effect ever since, and is restated in this section. 1/
(2) "United States" defined . Prior to January 13, 1941, the term "United States" included the continental mainland, Hawaii after August 11, 1898, 2/ Alaska, upon its formal incorporation into the Union on March 30, 1867, 3/ but not Puerto Rico. 4/ The Philippine Islands have never been deemed to be part of the United States within the purview of the 14th Amendment. 4a/
The territorial limits of the United States were extended on January 13, 1941, to include Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, 5/ and the current statute has added Guam to this definitive grouping 6/
In addition to the land areas mentioned above, ports, harbors, bays, enclosed sea areas, and a three-mile marginal belt, along the coasts thereof, form a part of the territorial limits of the United States. 7/
Notwithstanding the position taken in the second paragraph under INTERP 316.1(b)(2)(i) and in INTERP 329.1(c)(3)(ii) , Midway Islands is not and never has been considered a part of the "United States" in the sense that United States citizenship is or was acquired at birth therein under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, or any of the various statutory provisions which have conferred citizenship upon such basis.
(3) Effect of parents' status . Alienage of a child's parents does not preclude his acquisition of citizenship jus soli nor did their racial ineligibility for naturalization under former laws have such result. 8/
Additionally, acquisition of citizenship is not affected by the fact that the alien parents are only temporarily in the United States at the time of the child's birth.
(4) Children of foreign diplomats .
(i) Foreign diplomatic officers . Children of "foreign sovereigns" or "foreign diplomatic officers" accredited to the United States, who as a matter of international law are not subject to its jurisdiction, do not acquire citizenship in accordance with the jus soli doctrine.
The term "foreign sovereigns" includes any head of a foreign state on an official visit to this country.
The term "foreign diplomatic officers" refers to persons listed in the State Department Blue List, otherwise termed the Diplomatic List, and includes ambassadors, ministers, charges d'affaires, counselors, secretaries of embassies and legations, attaches, 9/ and other employees of embassies or legations; that term also includes persons with comparable diplomatic status and immunity who are accredited to the United Nations.
(ii) Foreign government employees . Foreign government employees with limited or no diplomatic immunity, such as consular officials named on the State Department list entitled "Foreign Consular Officers in the United States" and their staffs are not within the term "foreign diplomatic officers;" therefore, their children are born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
Employees of foreign diplomatic missions whose names appear on the State Department White List, otherwise known as the List of Employees of Diplomatic Missions Not Printed in the Diplomatic List, enjoy certain diplomatic immunities; however, since those immunities do not extend to their families, their children are born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
This last rule also prevails with respect to children whose parents are employees of foreign missions accredited to the United Nations or foreign diplomats accredited to another foreign state.
(5) Birth on foreign public vessels . Persons born on foreign public vessels, such as warships, are not born subject to United States jurisdiction even though born in territorial waters.
(6) Indians . Tribal Indians, born in the United States, originally regarded as members of foreign nations for many purposes, generally considered to be without the jurisdiction of the United States and did not benefit from the constitutional grant of citizenship. 10/
However, certain Indians acquired citizenship by special legislation, 11/ and under the Act of June 2, 1924, the 1940 Act, 12/ and current section 301(a)(2), Indians born in the United States after June 1, 1924, acquired citizenship at birth.
The Act of June 2, 1924, also conferred citizenship, as of such date, upon all noncitizen Indians previously born in the United States.
(7) Foundlings . Under the Nationality Act of 1940, a "child" of unknown parentage , if found within the United States after January 12, 1941, and before December 24, 1952, was presumed to be a native-born citizen until shown to have been born outside the United States. 13/ A "person" whose parentage is similarly unknown, if found in the United States after December 23, 1952, while under 5 years of age, is conclusively presumed to be a native-born citizen, unless such person's birth outside the United States is established before he or she attains majority. 13a/ Prior to Nationality Act of 1940, the statutes contained no provision governing the status of the founding. 14/
(8) Inhabitants of states admitted into the Union .
(i) The 13 original states . Any person who was "one of the people" (a member) of one of the original states when the United States Constitution was adopted became thereby a citizen--a member of the nation created by its adoption. 14a/
(ii) Criteria for determining citizenship in subsequently admitted states . The Constitution of the United States provides that new states may be admitted by Congress into the Union. 14b/ Admission on an equal footing with the original states, in all respects whatever, involves equality of constitutional right and power. 14c/ Such admissions involves the adoption as citizens of the United States of those whom Congress makes members of the political community and who are recognized as such in the formation of the new state with the consent of Congress. 14d/ Therefore, in determining questions of citizenship, it is necessary to consult the organic acts of the territories and the related Congressional enabling acts to determine who are "members of the political community" and recognized as such in the formation of the new state.
(iii) Determinations relating to Texas and California . Prior to the admission of Texas into the Union on December 29, 1845, and California on September 9, 1850, they were sovereign states, independent of the United States. The courts have held that all persons who were citizens of Texas at the time of its admission became citizens of the United States 14e/ and, administratively, it has been determined that the same rule will apply in the case of California.
(iv) Determinations relating to territories. While some inhabitants of territories admitted as states already were United States citizens before such admission, other inhabitants were not. By specifying what qualifications the inhabitants of a territory must possess in order to exercise political rights, the enabling acts passed by Congress usually have offered guidance as to which inhabitants should be regarded as "members of the political community" and, therefore, United States citizens upon admission of the territory to statehood.
Persons who were citizens of the Territory of Orleans, became United States citizens upon the admission of that Territory as the State of Louisiana, 14f/ although one court limited the rule's application to those persons who were inhabitants of the Territory at the time of the cession treaty with France, proclaimed October 21, 1803. 14g/
Cases concerned with the admission to statehood of Montana, 14h/ Nebraska, 14i/ Washington, 14j/ and Wyoming 14k/ have been the subject of decision. The organic acts of these Territories, and the enabling acts relating to them, extended suffrage not only to United States citizens, but also to aliens who had made declarations of intention. Thus, upon the admission of these Territories to statehood, resident declarant aliens became citizens of the United States. 14m/ A discussion of some value concerning the admission of Michigan to statehood also is found in Boyd v. Nebraska. 14n/
The organic law of the Territory of Dakota 14o/ and enabling act providing for the admission of both North and South Dakota to statehood 14p/ described as qualified voters those male persons over twenty-one who were residents of the Territory for prescribed periods, and who either were United States citizens, or persons who had made declarations of intention and taken an oath to support the United States Constitution. Accordingly, it has been held that an alien who was a resident and qualified voter in that part of the Dakota Territory which became the State of South Dakota, at the time of its admission to statehood, thereupon became a citizen o f the United States. 14q/
The organic and enabling 14r/ acts relating to the Territory of Utah conferred suffrage rights upon resident United States citizens, but granted neither citizenship nor voting rights to resident aliens. Absent such a grant, the mere residence of an alien in the Territory at the time it was admitted to statehood, did not invest the alien with United States citizenship, even though he may have previously filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen. 14s/
Under the organic act of the Oklahoma Territory, 14t/ a qualified elector had to be a male citizen of the United States over twenty-one years of age, or a foreign-born male person over such age who had within 12 months prior thereto made a declaration of intention to become a citizen. However, since the enabling act relating to the Territory 14u/ did not provide for the exercise of suffrage by alien declarants, they were not made "members of the political community" and, therefore, did not become United States citizens when Oklahoma was admitted to statehood. 14v/