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History is a journey; it’s never-ending, always in motion. On July 9th, 1868 the 14th Amendment of the constitution was ratified.
This amendment would officially give citizenship to anyone born in or naturalized within the United States. It stated:
‘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.’
This was a key amendment for former slaves as it not only granted them citizenship, but the equal protection of the laws that come with it.
This amendment was cited as a defense in a case as recent as 2012. This case involved a college student, Wendy Ruiz, who was resigned to pay out-of-state tuition even though she was born and raised in Florida her entire life. The problem was that the school required her parents’ tax documents to prove it, but her parents were undocumented immigrants. Because of the status of her parents, Ruiz couldn’t provide the required documents and as a result had to pay out-of-state tuition.
Two years later, Ruiz and four other students who found themselves in similar situations brought their case to the U.S. District Court in Florida. Ruiz and the students would win their case after U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore found the state’s policy violated the equal protection laws found in the 14th Amendment. Earlier in 2012, a New Jersey state appeals court ruled against state education officials who denied in-state tuition to a U.S. citizen. The U.S. citizen, like Ruiz, was the child of undocumented immigrants.
It is cases like Ruiz’s that prove that no matter how long ago some things occurred, they still find a way to serve some purpose today.
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Great article about an amendment to the constitution that redefined our nation.
Thanks for your comment, Dave!