by Amanda Frost

Washington College of Law

October 9, 2019

Establishing U.S. citizenship is supposed to be easy. In 1868, the first sentence of the newly ratified Fourteenth Amendment declared: “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.” In light of those words, either a birth certificate or a naturalization certificate is all that is needed to prove U.S. citizenship and to gain all the rights that come along with it—to vote, to hold public office, and to enter and remain in the United States.

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