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Repubicans go after birthright citizenship

By The Associated Press
August 4, 2010

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (AP)

Leading Republicans are joining a push to reconsider the constitutional amendment that grants automatic citizenship to people born in the United States.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday he supports holding hearings on the 14th Amendment right, although he emphasized that Washington’s immigration focus should remain on border security.

His comments came as other Republicans in recent days have questioned or challenged birthright citizenship, embracing a cause that had largely been confined to the far right.

The senators include Arizona’s John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee; Arizona’s Jon Kyl, the Republicans’ second-ranking senator; Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a leading negotiator on immigration legislation.

“I’m not sure exactly what the drafters of the (14th) amendment had in mind, but I doubt it was that somebody could fly in from Brazil and have a child and fly back home with that child, and that child is forever an American citizen,” Sessions said.

Legal experts say repealing the citizenship right can be done only through constitutional amendment, which would require approval by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress and by three-fourths of the states. Legislation to amend the right, introduced previously in the House, has stalled.

The proposals are sure to appeal to conservative voters as immigration so far is playing a central role in November’s elections. They also could carry risks by alienating Hispanic voters and alarming moderates who could view constitutional challenges as extreme. Hispanics have become the largest minority group in the United States, and many are highly driven by the illegal immigrant debate.

McConnell and McCain seemed to recognize the risk by offering guarded statements Tuesday.

McCain, who faces a challenge from the right in his re-election bid, said he supports reviewing citizenship rights. He emphasized, however, that amending the Constitution is a serious matter.

“I believe that the Constitution is a strong, complete and carefully crafted document that has successfully governed our nation for centuries and any proposal to amend the Constitution should receive extensive and thoughtful consideration,” he said.

At a news conference, McConnell refused to endorse Graham’s suggestion that citizenship rights be repealed for children of illegal immigrants. While refusing to take questions, he suggested instead that he would look narrowly into reports of businesses that help immigrants arrange to have babies in the United States in order to win their children U.S. citizenship.

The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868 in the aftermath of the Civil War, granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” including recently freed slaves.

Defenders of the amendment say altering it would weaken a fundamental American value while doing little to deter illegal immigration. They also say it would create bureaucratic hardships for parents giving birth.

Quoting a newspaper columnist, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Republicans were “either taking leave of their senses or their principles” in advocating repeal.

An estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants were living in the U.S. as of January 2009, according to the Homeland Security Department. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that as of 2008, there were 3.8 million illegal immigrants in this country whose children are U.S. citizens.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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14 Responses to Repubicans go after birthright citizenship

  1. paulb6

    August 4, 2010 at 8:33 am

    May they have gods speed and tremendous success, ammend this document which never was meant to help illegals, it was designed to force the states to accept the black freed slaves and there children as citizens. The very liberal supreme court is the one that added there opinion against this, and allows anyone who has a baby on American soil become a citizen. This is the supreme court upsurting the language of the ammendment for pc. Ammend the 14th to clarify that only American citizens children are citizens and specifically exclude the illegal children or any others who are here in violation of our laws.

  2. NC-Tom

    August 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Our politics have now become so vile that we want to now make new born children illegal. They have done nothing wrong. Isn’t it ironic that these same idiots value the “unborn” but will deny them citizenship once they pop out of the vagina. Or do right to life’ers not care about “illegal fetuses” now? What a bunch of hypocrites, no, make that cowardly hypocrites, because anyone that would do something like that is an innocent, helpless, new born baby is a stinking low life scum coward, IMHO. Have you no shame than to pick on new born babies to make political points!

    These cowardly hypocrites apparently cant reason or do simple math either. So say you have an “illegal” man and an “illegal” woman. That makes two “illegal” people. If they have a baby and it is an a citizen you still just have two “illegal” people. If you don’t grant that baby citizenship you will then have 3 “illegal” people. And the more babies they have the more “illegal” aliens you will have. Duuhhh, frigging duhhh!

    So just as always congress will pass another stupid law that will end up doing exactly the opposite of what they say they want to do. Idiots…

    And spare me the idea that not allowing their kids citizenship will stop them from coming. If dying in the desert from heat and dehydration doesn’t stop them this sure as hell wont.

    • Jim0001

      August 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm

      You shouldn’t drink the kool-aid before you start typing. When you sober up read what you wrote…

  3. Almandine

    August 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    The point Tom is that US hospitals all along the Mexican border are overrun with citizens of other countries who cross a day or so before delivery of their babies, so that the parents get a citizenship “anchor” by which to claim the “right” to be here. The costs of providing medical services, alone, to the US citizens of the border states has become unmanageable, not to mention postnatal care, welfare, etc.

    What say we let ‘em get born here, if necessary, and then go home to their own country… you know, the place where the parents are citizens and therefore the place they also have citizenship?

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      August 4, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      “…US hospitals all along the Mexican border are overrun with citizens of other countries who cross a day or so before delivery of their babies, so that the parents get a citizenship ‘anchor’ by which to claim the ‘right’ to be here. The costs of providing medical services, alone, to the US citizens of the border states has become unmanageable, not to mention postnatal care, welfare, etc.”

      I do not believe you can prove any of this to be true. Please cite something other than right-wing opinion websites. Something believable in other words.

      • Almandine

        August 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm

        No… you show it’s not true.

      • Almandine

        August 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm

        Here’s the deal… not only border hospitals, but Dallas.

        http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/parkland.asp

        Surely you get tired of looking so dull.

        • Guardhouse lawyer

          August 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm

          Same old, same old. Nothing like a little ad hominem argument when you run out of facts.

          What you are not picking up on is that most of these newborns are not the children of illegal immigrants, but of people who come across the river to have their babies for free and go right back again. It’s not about the citizenship (though that aspect is not to be totally discounted, of course) so much as it is the absolutely cost-free delivery.

          So this woman comes into the ED dilated 10 cm. with the baby’s head crowning. What are you going to do, shove it back in and call a taxi to take her back across the border? And get your butt sued off? No, you are going to deliver the baby.

          I’ll ask you yet again to stop being personally nasty, but I am not holding my breath. Though I disagree vehemently with many if not most of your statements I confine my remarks to those statements, and make no comment on you personally.

          • Almandine

            August 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm

            Don’t talk facts. I cited facts. You have none. Just your opinion. Ad hominem… ad infinitum. And I wasn’t being nasty, just reflective. Mirror mirror…

      • Jim0001

        August 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm

        I repeat my comment to you as I stated to Tom-NC , You shouldn’t drink the kool-aid before you start typing. When you sober up read what you wrote…

  4. Bogofree

    August 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Birth right? How about Entitlement right.

  5. Mightymo

    August 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    As far as believing that there should be change to this, I do. However, I must admit that going by what I’m told, I’m not so sure the hype about this is actually truthful.
    Last night on ABC news (I know, it’s liberal trash, BS, …….) they reported that the National Center for Health Statistics stated that only around 7500 babies were born to non-citizens. I don’t actually believe that number, but who do you believe.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/birthright-citizenship-14th-amendment-republican-senators-explore-change/story?id=11313973&page=2

    • Mightymo

      August 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      Hmmm, I think I missed the difference between “non-resident” and “illegal”; I shoud have caught that.

      Do the amendment!

  6. Bill

    August 16, 2010 at 5:31 am

    We need to declare war on Mexico. First, that is a war we can win. Second, once we win, we can annex Mexico and make it a part of the United States. We will then be known as the United States of North and Central America. While we are at this, we should take over the rest of Central America and then we might as well take over South America too. We can then scrap the Monroe Doctrine and tell Hu Jintao to keep his Chinese ass out of our country. We will be known as the United States of the Americas, and every child will be required to learn Spanish and English in school, thus ending the controversy as to what language should prevail as the lingo of the land.

    Next we take Cuba and secure a permanent source of Sugar, Cigars, and Rum. We can then smoke and drink ourselves into a permanent Diabetic coma. We can have universal health care and good, cheap physicians who can double as gardeners in a pinch. We can ban immigration from Russia so we can eliminate the Russian Mafia, and allow the true Italian Mafia to retake Vegas and restore the permanent Comp. It will take prostitution off the streets and put it back in the Casino lounges where it belongs. Drugs will be banned and all Nevada can be declared a drug-free zone where anyone who wants to get a buzz on can go to the site of the nuclear bomb tests and camp out for a few days until they get a nice glow going.

    We can ship our cocaine direct to Africa and Europe and the middle east, where people will give up fighting in order to get stoned, and between the coke and the mexican grass we can change the balance of payments to a positive figure and finally stop owing all the world. Used cocoa leaves can be dried after processing and used to feed milk cows, and the product could be marketed as “Mellow Milk from VERY Contented Cows”. People could get a mild buzz from Wheaties and Cream of wheat, and Rice Krispies will give a Snap, Crackle, and Poof.

    The immigration issue will be solved once and for all, but Canadians, who threaten to bastardize our languages by making us say “OOOOt” instead of out. We could divert all resources to the Canadian Border and close it to everyone but commediennes, who could probably spell that word better than I just did and who everyone knows are superior to United States comedians.

    Peace will reign in America and Gingrich and the rest of the grumps can rail about the Canadians. Nobody will care.