Everyone who has ever studied Latin (as I did in high school quite a few decades ago) is familiar with the opening words of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars ;

Gallia et omnia divisa in partes tres
("All Gaul is divided into three parts")

In the same way, one can look at Donald Trump's and Stephen Millers' agenda of cutting off non-white immigration in America as consisting of three parts: Part 1 is a campaign of mass incarceration deportation and other forms of state terror against so-called "illegal" immigrants, i.e. those without any authorized status in the United States. Stage 1 was the focus during Trump's first two years as president, and is, of course, still ongoing - with particular cruelty toward legitimate asylum seekers that could well amount to a crime against humanity.

Then came Stage 2, which is also now in progress, even though the media are not paying a great deal of attention to it This stage consists of a broad attack against almost every form of legal immigration, including not only less affluent immigrants whom Trump and Miller are trying to exclude on "Public Charge grounds, but also highly skilled and professional H-1B immigrants, and even the most affluent immigrants of all - EB-5 applicants with at least a million dollars to invest.

Therefore, it is all but inevitable that, if Trump is reelected, he will move on to the third stage of his program of keeping America white, namely trying to abolish the Constitutional guarantee of birthright US citizenship. This is something that Trump has already threatened to do by executive order, since constitutional restraints on his power of any kind are of no more interest to him than they are to any other leaders with dictatorial pretensions.


In this Vanity Fair article, Stephen Miller, the architect and Grand Inquisitor of Trump's immigration agenda, is also quoted as having no love lost for birthright citizenship. In Miller's words birthright citizenship is::

"... an open, worldwide invitation to ignore America's immigration laws and an absolute perversion, misinterpretation, misapplication of the 14th amendment."

IN the above statement, Miller shows that his hatred of nonwhite immigrants is much stronger than his knowledge of the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment is in fact quite explicit about who is entitles to birthright US citizenship - it includes all persons born in the United States and "subject to the jurisdiction thereof".

Almost from the time that this amendment was was adopted after the end of the Civil War, white supremacists and other anti-immigrant zealots have tried to distort the meaning of the word "jurisdiction" to conflate it with "allegiance", an entire;y different term. Based on this false premise they have argued that the US-born children of unauthorized immigrants, or even legal immigrants who are not permanent residents and, in the extreme form of the argument US citizens with dual citizenship, are not US citizens by birth because their parents to no owe "allegiance" to the United States.

But the 14th amendment doesn't say "allegiance". It says "jurisdiction."

is a term with a 2,000 year history, going back to ancient Roman law which still forms the basis of most European law today, including the common law which is loaded with Latin terminology. Literally, this teem consists of two Latin words: iuris (nominative: ius) - "law", and dictus - "saying". It means the authority to say what the law is, i.e. to enforce the law.

As the authors of a September 2009 article by the Immigration Policy Center point out, unauthorized immigrants are unquestionably among those who are subject to to the jurisdiction of US tribunals and administrative agencies; otherwise the immigration laws could not be enforced against them. See: James C. Ho, Esq., Margaret D. Stock Esq. and Eric K. Ward (March 25, 2010):



The fact that birthright citizenship applies to everyone born in the US (except for the children of diplomats who are specifically exempt from the application of US law) was affirmed once and for all in the landmark 1898 Supreme Court case of Wong Kim Ark. In that case, the Court held that the US-born son of Chinese immigrants was a US citizen by birth, even though his parents were barred from ever becoming US citizens according to the vicious Chinese exclusion laws of that period - laws whose openly racist spirit Trump and Miller are now bringing back in their agenda of hatred and discrimination against all Asian, African, Latin American and other non-European immigrants.

I will discuss the Wong Kim Ark case in forthcoming Part 2 of this topic.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law

Harvard Law School LL.B
Harvard College A.B.