The dean of a California law school says the issue of birthright citizenship has been settled law since at least March 28, 1898, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the case of a Chinese American who had been born in 1873 in San Francisco. The Court noted that its interpretation of the meaning of the 14th Amendment depends on the adoption of Anglo-American law dating back to 1608, long before the establishment of the nation. In a nutshell, any person born here is a U.S. citizen, according to the dean.
The Supreme Court case began in 1895, when the then 22-year-old man was denied re-entry to the United States following a trip to China, where much of his family still lived. It was a time of significant anti-Chinese feeling, just nine years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and though the Court recognized the man's rights as a U.S. citizen, he was forced to live and raise his family in China.
Donald Trump has advanced a plan, called Defend the Laws and Constitution of the United States, that would end birthright citizenship. The director of the University of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center said in an op-ed that ending the practice of birthright citizenship would have a severe negative impact on the lives of an estimated 4.5 million current citizens who were born to undocumented parents on U.S. soil.
Though the precedents in some situations are long and well-established, immigration law is challenged and changed frequently. People who have questions about related issues may want to consult an attorney with experience in this area. Citizenship attorneys may be able to assist with the drafting and filing of legal documents or interact with USCIS and other government agencies on the client's behalf.