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Illegal Immigration Foes Focus on 14th Amendment 'Citizenship Clause'

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A fourth senior Republican senator has called for a review of the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause as it pertains to children born to illegal immigrants in the United States.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday said he supports Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who announced last week that he is considering introducing an amendment that would deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

"We should change our Constitution and say that if you come here illegally and have a child, that child is automatically not a citizen," Graham said on Greta Van Susteren's show on Fox. "People come here to have babies. It's called drop and leave. To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, they have a child and that child is automatically an American citizen. That shouldn't be the case."

Coburn echoed those sentiments Tuesday, saying that the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868 to prevent the disenfranchisement of recently freed slaves, and it was not meant to guarantee citizenship to unlawful immigrants.

"There was never an intent by our founders that just because you were here and you had a child born here and you were here not as a resident that your child would become a citizen," Coburn said. "I think we need to look at it."

He added that the author of the Citizenship Clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, said that the clause was not meant for illegal immigrants and "will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens . . . "

Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have also called for hearings to look into the clause.

"The 14th Amendment [has been] interpreted to provide that if you are born in the United States, you are a citizen no matter what," Kyl said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"So the question is, if both parents are here illegally," Kyl said, "should there be a reward for their illegal behavior?"

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, in his daily briefing Tuesday, accused McConnell of political posturing. Recently, McConnell made the same accusation of political posturing against President Barack Obama for challenging the Arizona immigration law.

"I don't know if that was based on 2010 or 2012 [elections]," Gibbs said. "But my hunch is it is based purely on politics."

Lizette J. Olmos, communications director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, said immigration reform is needed, but not at the expense of the 14th Amendment.

"We definitely don't agree" with the GOP senators, Olmos said. "Calling for reform is not solving the problem. We don't support breaking the law, but we need to address the situation of millions of people."

Coburn acknowledged that while hearings to look into the issue are necessary, actually amending the Constitution is a whole other matter.

"The founders made it very difficult to change the Constitution, and I think if we solve some of these other problems that's not a big issue," Coburn said. "If in fact you have your borders controlled, then it's not an issue. So it all goes back to the federal government's responsibility to control the borders."

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199 Comments

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dlturp

To modify the 14th adm. to make it clear that only legal citizens who have children in the U.S. will their children be considered a citzen is perfectly understandable to me. What I don't understand is why anyone would be against this modification if it clarified the law to stop anchor babies from cheating the suystem. I vote change the 14th amendment to clarify the law.

August 08 2010 at 8:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
punnster

When they wrote that in the constitution, they should have been more clear and said that all children born in the United states by citizens are automatically citizens.

August 07 2010 at 11:50 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rv9412

One more comment. We have the technology today to produce an un-forgable I.D. card. You may have heard of the "Real I.D." implementing this system would do away with forged documents and stolen social security numbers and identification. Mandate it federally and start prosecuting sanctuary cities.

August 07 2010 at 10:13 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rv9412

Finally some common sense is being shown. Sen Graham has hit the nail on the head. I have worked in a border hospital and what he contends is true. It goes further however when you consider these illegals can earn more on U.S, food stamps W.I.C. and welfare than they can earn by working in their country, of course they are going to come. It' free candy to them. The claim that this move is racist is nonsense. We are talking about several millions of peoiple ******* our social safety net for asll it is worth. Sooner or later it has to have an impact...think cutting social security benefits, child health insurance for U.S.citizens, and the medical and social needs of our own citizens. The answer isn't more new taxes on those of us who do work, nor should it be the loss of one American job to any illegal because they'll work for cheaper than will an American. Does anyone truly believe that should we cull these illegals from our society more jobs wouldn't be made available to U.S. citizens? It is time to act and denying U.S. Citizenship to the offspring of those here illegally is an inspired start. God Bless Lindsey Graham.

August 07 2010 at 10:06 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
stheel4

Anyone catch the ICE agents vote against this administration and there ICE Bosses policy. It was 259-0 with every single agent against what they say is the focus on amnesty instead of depoertation.

August 05 2010 at 1:55 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

Secure the border and this problem becomes moot....

August 05 2010 at 12:33 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rob & Kathy's comment
wolfsonnydiane

No put in place strict laws for those who hireillegals create a fool proof ss card then put all who hire illegals in jail for a minium of 6 months .There then would be no need to increase border security . Just a reminder the vast majoeity come for jobs no jobs no money tthell leave on their own

August 05 2010 at 1:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
JOY MARIE

ilegal means against the law, so follow the law,, send them all home together

August 04 2010 at 11:13 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
mrrickache

It is only common sence, let us support the people that come into this country the legal way, period.
Make laws if there is a new born(no automatic citizenship) or medical situations that the bills are paid by the host country or the party's involved.
Business peaple who hire illegal should see the inside of the jail.
Identification at the poling boths.
Just try to pulling some of the above in other country's.
In second thought Ill take Mexico's more stricker laws.

August 04 2010 at 10:25 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
Bonnie Roberts

Not only should "illegal immigrants" be prevented from drop and leave, but people on visitor's visas who schedule their children's births here (and often become hospital charity cases) should be prevented from having those children automatically become U.S. citizens.
A baby should have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

August 04 2010 at 6:59 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
rogelmontel

I agree with blazerofice if this passes its not going to stop. This country is built on immigration, the pilgrims didnt come in and ask the indians what the procedures were to be a part of their tribes or this land we call america, they just took it by force with violence, murder and plunder, history does repeate it self and it seems that there is a new wave of immigrants coming and taking over with violence, murder and plunder. No law, person, or wall can stop destiny.

August 04 2010 at 6:27 PM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply

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