Mr. Hay to Mr. Leishman.
Washington, October 24, 1899.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 170, of the 8th instant, in regard to the case of Elise and Emma Bernot, aged 7 and 5 years, respectively, who, according to certificates issued by the board of health of Hoboken, N. J., were born in the United States of alien parents. You inquire whether protection can be afforded the children during their minority.
In reply I have to say that no principle is better settled than that birth in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the parents, confers American citizenship. Upon the facts stated, therefore, these girls are citizens of the United States, and as such are entitled to passports and the protection of this Government.
I am, etc.,