I find it mind-bogglingly puzzling that one could even interpret the 14th amendment as granting birthright citizenship to those born here from parents who are here illegally.
The 14th Amendment
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 where they reside.”
Paul Ryan came out and said he adhered to a plain text reading, but "plain-text" reading does not mean you abandon grammatical sensibility and historical records...
The notion that the 14th amendment affords universal birthright citizenship, is itself debunked as asinine in the amendment itself. Why? If the purpose was to grant that, "subject to the jursisdiction thereof" would be superfluous/ asininely redundant. One need not even look at the Congressional Globe, transcripts of Congressional floor proceedings between 1833-73 to see reading birthright citizenship into the 14th amendment is wishful thinking at best, asinine at worst.
But what about Historical Records of Congressional floor proceedings regarding the 14th amendment? What did the drafters of the 14th amendment say regarding the meaning of the amendment itself?
This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.” - Senator Jacob Howard (R)
As one can see this definitively excludes foreign ambassadors and ministers along with their families. But is that all it excludes?
Of course not
"Indians born within the limits of the United States and who maintain their tribal relations, are not, in the sense of this amendment, born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States" - Senator Jacob Howard
This not only establishes a further exclusion, but this was explicitly to maintain the sovereignty of Indian Tribes. To grant citizenship to Native Tribe members born on US soil would itself be an insult that undermines that sovereignty, as the US would be forcing jurisdiction, forcing allegiance to the US onto native tribes which still maintain their own sovereignty.
The provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens. That means, “subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.”(emphasis added in transcripts)- Senator Lyman Trumbull (R)
“What do we mean by subject to the jurisdiction of the United States? Not owing allegiance to anybody else.” - Senator Lyman Trumbull
Here we clearly see that the 14th amendment actually established a 2 prong litmus test for being granted birthright citizenship. One being that you were born in the US, the other being that you not be subject to the jurisdiction, owe allegiance to, anybody else but the U.S.
It is perfectly clear that the mere fact that a man is born in the country has not heretofore entitled him to the right to exercise political power.” - Senator Edgar Cowan
Just in case one needs it plainly and explicitly stated that being born in the US does not in itself entitle oneself to the right to excercise political power(be a citizen) in the U.S.
Now, all that this amendment provides is, that all persons born in the United States and not subject to some foreign Power for that, no doubt, is the meaning of the committee who have brought the matter before us, shall be considered as citizens of the United States.” - Senator Reverdy Johnson
Again, more reinforcement of this point, regarding the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof clause".
History of the 14th Amendment and the "Reconstruction Amendments
Clearly, as illustrared, the 14th amendment does not afford universal birthright citizenship. It clearly extends beyond just the scope of foreign ambassadors and ministers. But why was the amendment made?
Consider the time it was ratified, 1868. Post Civil-War. This amendment to the Constitution was made in the face of Southern Democrats("Dixiecrats", that gave the US such stellar presidents like Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk /s) refusing to grant citizenship to newly freed slaves and their children in the states they governed.
This was the middle amendment of three amendments that were focally about ending slavery and universally prohibiting it in the US(amendment 13) and addressing pardon my language, total dick moves made by the Dixiecrat South post Civil-War to totally disenfranchise freed slaves(Amendment 14 and 15).
Amendment 14 was in response to the refusal to grant citizenship
Amendment 15 was in response to the freed and minted citizens being denied the ability to vote in elections.
These three amendments are known as the "Reconstruction Amendments".