I don’t USUALLY do political stuff here, but I read a comment on a thread at azcentral.com that was just so blatently stupid that I had to say something.

The thread started from this article: Feds remind districts that all kids entitled to public education.

One smartass (charlespride) commented:

The U.S. Department of Education is reminding school districts that all students — legal or not — are entitled to a public education. …………….Oh really? Please show me in the U.S. Constitution where it says that. I’m waiting………………………………………..I’m waiting…………………………………….I’m waiting……

To which prompted the following:

(SilverKnight):

To charlespride: check out the 14th amendment. Read the first paragraph VERY carefully. Especially the last 14 words.

(azlefty):

Charlespride: Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S.202 (1982)

(johnstone39):

The 14th amend of the Constitution has no education law within it. Also, it specifically states that those under US jurisdiction are covered, but illegal immigrants are not under US jurisdiction, they are under the jurisdiction of their own country. The federal government is clearly violating it’s own laws seeing that first and foremost, it is illegal to be in the US by not being properly admitted to this country.

Now, my issue is that johnstone39 must not have read the 14th amendment closely, like SilverKnight suggested. The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution states:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

The first paragraph SilverKnight referred to is Section 1, and the last 14 words are: “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Why is this important?

Citizenship is currently a hot-button issue in this country. Most of the Republican or conservation-leaning people I know tend to view Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to say mean “jurisdiction” is “subject to governance”. In other words, illegal immigrants are not covered under the 14th Amendment because they are not subject to US governance but rather the governance of their home country. Obviously the US Supreme Court has taken a different view again and again – “jurisdiction” being defined in this case by the US Supremes as the physical location/boundary. But in any case, johnstone39 missed the key words in the last part of Section 1… “any” and “within”. It does not say that “[no State can] deny to only US citizens subject to its governance the equal protection of the laws,” it says that no state can do that to ANY person WITHIN its jurisdiction. In other words, if you are standing on US soil, this applies to you.

(I guess that interpretation might make me seem liberal, but I tend to be more independent than either conservation or liberal anyway, so labels don’t fit me.)

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