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.