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While the authors of the 14th Amendment may have been primarily concerned with legitimizing the legal status of recently freed slaves, they may also have considered it economically desirable to promote population growth by making it easy for people to become citizens. Arguing that the authors of this amendment never intended it to encourage people to come here just to give birth to citizens assumes either that they did not wish to encourage it or that they did not consider it technologically feasible in large numbers. The latter is certainly possible since the non-existence of air travel and the high cost of ocean transport limited access of that type. The former is more likely, in my view, as these people were in the process of building a great economic power that needed chep labor. As our demand for labor has changed, so too has our commitment to the 14th amendment.
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Oct 19, 2010