July 19, 2005

Israel on Birthright Citizenship for Illegal Aliens

John Podhoretz was highly offended when John Derbyshire questioned the reigning interpretation of the 14th Amendment that insists that the children of illegal aliens are automatically born U.S. citizens. I then asked whether Israel offered birthright citizenship to illegal aliens. A reader replies:

No, Israel does not offer birthright citizenship to the offspring of illegal aliens - or even to the offspring of legal resident aliens. Israel's citizenship laws are not dissimilar to those of much of central Europe - Germany, Hungary and other countries with large diaspora populations have citizenship rules that strongly favor members of such populations who choose to "return" to the mother country, and are otherwise quite restrictive.

Germany, for example, lhas ong offered an open door to "Volga Germans" whose ancestors had migrated from Germany to Russia at the invitation of Catherine the Great.

I have an amusing anecdote to relate in regard of Israeli notions of *American* immigration rules. I attended a presentation by an Israeli cabinet minister (from the Labor party) and one of the other attendees asked a question about immigration and residency - to make a long story short, her Israeli father was being cared for by a Filipino alien resident in Israel who, because of the restrictions of Israeli law, could not bring his wife over to join him, and she was questioning the justice of this decision. He replied in part by pointing out that Israeli law is much more generous than American law, as America promptly evicts anyone caught here illegally without so much as a hearing. I went up to him afterwords and asked him how his impression of America could be correct given that there are approximately 10 million aliens illegally resident in America. He simply didn't believe the figure.

I can certainly sympathize with the Israeli minister. If you had never heard the facts about America and illegal immigration, would you believe them when you were first told them?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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