Republican Group Pushes to Limit Citizenship to Babies of Illegal Immigrants Born in U.S.

If the Republican Party is serious about trying to win over more of Hispanic voters then it will face a major rebranding problem in coming months: a GOP group is seeking to stop giving U.S. citizenship to babies of illegal immigrants born in the U.S. One author of the proposed new law: a key author of the controversial Arizona immigration law. The Arizona Republic:

Republican lawmakers in 15 states Tuesday announced a nationwide effort to change the way the 14th Amendment is interpreted and stop granting citizenship to babies born in the USA to illegal immigrants.

A national coalition called State Legislators for Legal Immigration is coordinating the effort.

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce said Kansas lawyer Kris Kobach, who helped draft Arizona’s tough immigration law now on appeal in the federal courts, is working with him and Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh to draft a bill that all the states could use as a model on the citizenship issue.

Pearce said a bill draft is written and will be ready for consideration when the Arizona legislative session starts in January.

He would not say exactly how they will propose denying citizenship but said the legislation would not be retroactive.

That won’t make any difference: if it becomes a big media story that Republicans are trying to remove what as long been perceived as a right, then it will be a major problem for Republicans. It may motivate the base but it’s going to (again) be the perfect motivation for Latino groups and Democrats to be able to get out the vote in 2014 — let alone 2016.

Previous attempts in Arizona have focused on tinkering with state-issued birth certificates.

When asked how the state would prove citizenship in a delivery room, Pearce said delayed birth certificates could be given to allow parents time to gather proof of citizenship.

States issue birth certificates but citizenship is a federal issue.

The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, states that “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.”

The amendment’s primary intent was to guarantee citizenship to African Americans, particularly former slaves. But the question of whether the authors also intended to allow the children of illegal immigrants to become citizens has been a matter of debate.

Some advocates have proposed repealing or changing the 14th Amendment, but both Kavanagh and Pearce said they want the Supreme Court to reconsider its interpretation.

And it’s clear why: the feel there are enough conservatives or conservative leaning judges on the Supreme Court to rule in their favor. The Republican establishment should be praying for this issue not to make it to the court and become a big national one. Republicans could wind up winning a legal battle and losing the electoral war.

28 Comments

  1. Ultimately it won’t matter about the election. They are doing the same things with the Republican lackeys on the Supreme Court just as if they were in office. The real question is…WHY do these stupids want to change the law? Why don’t they want to grant citizenship to children born here in the US? I guess they figure the only ones it will insult are the illegal parents of the children…who can’t vote anyway.
    Granted, it takes forever for many of these immigrants to get citizenship after applying, but they are trying. Do THEY come under the same catagory as a couple who just crossed the border to have a baby? Where do they intend to draw the line? and most horrific of all is the whole attitude of the Republicans to begin with. They have already changed the constitution and the 2nd amendment..and countless others to suit their needs and yet have the audacity to accuse the Dems of trying to take our rights away???!! They already have done that…merely by tampering with the true meaning of the constitution to suit their own wants. Disgusting…hopefully someday we can get a lifetime appointment for Supreme Court Justices reduced to 8 years.

  2. …hopefully someday we can get a lifetime appointment for Supreme Court Justices reduced to 8 years.

    Lifetime appointments are fine when we have honorable and intelligent justices on the bench who respect and understand the USC, but when we end up with people like Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts then term limits start looking pretty good.

    As for the republican approach to immigration reform? My expectations (based on nearly everything else they do and believe) are appropriately low.

  3. Unfortunately the draft has already been written and Kavanaugh and others are only too quick to carry the gauntlet. After all, the Supreme Court doesn’t care that Pearce is gone…there are plenty other Republican Legislators to Kowtow to. Have no fear Steve…this will pass.

  4. I think the only reason this might not make it past the SC is that Roberts is bright enough to see some things through his ideological haze and this just might be one of them.

  5. “The real question is…WHY do these stupids want to change the law? Why don’t they want to grant citizenship to children born here in the US?”

    They want to change the law because 71% of Hispanics just voted for Obama, and they see the future of the party in jeopardy as more and more Hispanics who were born in the US turn 18. GOP lawmakers know that red states like Texas and Arizona are predicted to turn purple or blue as soon as the next generation comes of age.

  6. If they are going to “clean up” the 14th amendment, can we also “clean up” the 2nd? Or is that one off limits?

  7. Boomerang alert.

  8. I agree the right is biased. But isn’t the left as well?

  9. Sure, everyone is biased, some just happen to be more biased in favor of reason.

  10. Doh….how did I not see that one coming! :)

  11. At the risk of being accused of playing the “race card,” I’m gonna play the race card.

    bluebell asked:

    The real question is…WHY do these stupids want to change the law? Why don’t they want to grant citizenship to children born here in the US?

    Truth is they don’t want to grant citizenship to Latino children born here in the US. If some pregnant lady were here on vacation from Sweden and suddenly went into labor, ‘ole Russ wouldn’t get too worked up about her baby being given citizenship. Heck, he might even welcome the little tyke.

    But (and I live not too far from Mesa, AZ) former State Senator Pearce has a hard spot in his heart for children of non-white folks inadvertently born on this side of the border.

    Because if you’re born here, you’re a citizen, and that’s no problem. But if you’re born here, and your skin is a little too brown, you’re a problem.

  12. cjjack, I think this has far more to do with politics than race.

  13. Nothing wrong with the 2nd amendment…. just how the gun nuts interpret it. Either liberal groups or conservative groups would clean up the 2nd. I don’t care to see the outcome if the same conservative groups who are cleaning up the 14th also clean up the 2nd. I’m happy with both amendments as they are written and interpreted. Funny how it’s mostly conservatives who want to make all sorts of changes to laws and rights hundreds of years old. I thought they were against such things.

  14. 2nd Amendment: calls for “A well REGULATED Militia…”

  15. I think this has far more to do with politics than race.

    No, z, it has everything to do with race.

    My great grandparents came to this country from Eastern Europe in the early 20th Century. They were part of the wave of immigrants who contributed to the “melting pot” that was trumpeted as one of the strengths of our society.

    We’re experiencing another wave of immigration now, but instead of millions of Europeans arriving on these shores to contribute to our society, it is millions of brown people.

    The former were welcomed with open arms and a statue in New York. The latter are apparently so repugnant that we’re considering re-writing a Constitutional Amendment in order to push them back over the border.

  16. Well said cjjack.

  17. Bias in favor of reason. Lets hope that concept will be revisted next week. And that somebody here covers the story.

  18. The Great Melting pot also had it’s share of racism. The Irish were everything bad that today’s Latino is accused of. The racist term for Italians WOP is “with out papers”. Olive skinned Italians illegally on American soil…

  19. B-b-b-but cjjack! We live in a post-racial society! Don’tcha know!

    Steve, the gun nuttery is trying hard to forget the “well regulated militia” part.

  20. zusai,

    As you may recall, I generally agree that some commenters are too quick to call out racism as the answer. But, in the case of Russell Pearce and his ilk the shoe fits.

    This is a man who once got called out for emailing a selection from a white supremicist web site to friends and supporters. He worked with former eugenicists to draft SB 1070. One of his principal supporters in his home base of Mesa [there are pictures of them together at anti-immigrant rallies] spent his spare time as a featured speaker at neo-nazi events. That individual has since died but the memories of him being photographed in front of a swastika have not.

    When it come Russell Pearce it’s not a case of both sides do it. This guy has shown his true colors and they are not pretty.

  21. Thanks, Elijah Sweete. I wasn’t familiar with this guy.

    I feel there are impoverished people from all over the world that would be equally hard working looking for an opportunity to come here for a new start, that get crowded out by illegal immigration. It sounds like this guy wouldn’t want that either.

  22. 40% of illegals are here on expired visas and the current system doesn’t catch as many of them as we would like. Congress is great at creating (or trying) new laws and regulations even though the old ones are not working well. To paraphrase a Seinfeld episode about car rental reservations, “you know how to make regulations but you just don’t know how to enforce them”.
    (Same thing with the current gun background check system that catches too few people lying and prosecutes them.)

  23. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If the GOP simply stops crapping on latinos, starts treating them like the Cubans get treated, start treating them like fellow Americans instead of welfare mooches genetically keyed to vote democrat, they will win every election for the forseeable future. Further evidence that the GOP is too stupid to even do what is in its own interest, just because it happens to also be the decent thing to do.

  24. If anyone recalls, the 9/11 bombers were part of the 40%. Ignore enforcing the laws at your own peril and stop whining when a Boston Massacre occurs.

  25. Dd, your suggestion that if the GOP simply stops “crapping on latinos” they “will win every election for the forseeable future” is highly imaginative. You seem to be assuming “latinos” aren’t smart enough to be aware of the wide array of other reasons the GOP is unworthy of their votes. You also seem to be assuming very short memories.

  26. Z, yank slam’s chain not mine. I do not assume.

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