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GOP's McConnell on Birthright Citizenship: No One Wants to Alter 14th Amendment

3 years ago
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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is playing down his party's new scrutiny of the 14th Amendment, which among other things confers U.S. citizenship on anyone born in the United States. McConnell on Thursday portrayed calls for hearings on the amendment as simply an attempt to examine what he calls the "unseemly" business of foreigners showing up just in time to have their babies, then going back home.

"I'm not aware of anybody who's come out for altering the 14th Amendment," McConnell said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. He said the push for hearings stems from a Washington Post story about foreign businesses that supply visas to expectant mothers. "This is the kind of thing that irritates Americans quite a lot," he said. "I don't think having hearings on an obvious unseemly business is a threat to the 14th Amendment. What's wrong with looking into this? The Post did."

McConnell added that "the remedy for it is not yet clear. But I am not advocating revisiting the 14th Amendment and I don't think any others have. I think the view is, why don't we take a look at this?" Click play below to watch a video of McConnell's comments:


The Hill interviewed McConnell earlier this week and reported that he favored hearings into possible changes to the amendment's citizenship clause in light of the country's immigration problems -- a broader rationale than the one he offered Thursday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has floated the idea of amending the Constitution so that newborns of illegal immigrants are not given citizenship, a proposal that presumably would not affect women who arrive with valid visas and have their babies on U.S. soil. McConnell declined to comment on Graham's proposal, which is also supported by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
Some Republicans are treading gingerly around the issue. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement the other day that hearings are always warranted when a member of Congress suggests amending the Constitution. But he also called the Constitution "a strong, complete and carefully crafted document that has successfully governed our nation for centuries" and said better border enforcement would "assist in addressing concerns associated with this issue."

The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection and due process to all citizens, and defines citizens as "all persons born or naturalized in the United States." It was passed by Republicans on a party-line vote in 1866, with the original purpose of protecting newly freed slaves. It is touted on the Republican National Committee website as one of the party's major accomplishments.

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15 Comments

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Mjames

McConnell shpuld b e voted out, Napolitano should b e fired. The 14th has no place in todays America. This is old crap. Most of the people in Washington shpuld be voted out.

August 13 2010 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

My neice had a baby in Okinawa which was shown as a Japanese citizen. Was born on a Navy base (husband was Army) and they had a hard time changing citizenship to American. That was about 17 years ago, so we aren't the only ones you had thier version on the 145h amendment. To the person who said about the second amendment and the "comma" in it, there are 3 commas in it, however, I did hear BBC America state there was only one. Check the Patriot Act for getting rid of our rights.

August 11 2010 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Trisha

Senator McConnell is wrong. Many people are advocating amending the 14th amendment to require that children have at least one American citizen as a parent. We are sick and tired of pregnant women crossing the border so that they can have their baby on American ground and leave the taxpayers to pay for it.

August 11 2010 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aocbill

A lot of talk is about those who are illegal immigrants delivering a child while in the United States, then the child having citizenship. Now where does the child then bestow citizenship on the parents. If one parent is a natural born citizen of the United States and the other isn't, the child is a citizen. No where does the Constitution state that the parents have to be married; just that one should be a citizen. No argument. Right? How about all the illegitimate children produced by all of our servicemen overseas? Don't those children also have a Constitutional Right to come to the United States and avail themselves of their rights as a citizen?

August 05 2010 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bubba1zfg

There is not reason for him distance himself from his comments. The majority of people want legal immigrants to take advantage of all that comes with being a citizen of the U.S. It should not be the other way around.

August 05 2010 at 9:49 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
eyeforeye42

I think the American Indians would be satisfied to send him back across the sea as the child of immigrants somewhere down the line, most likely not approved of by the natives

August 05 2010 at 8:34 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
pete

Few, if any, countries in the world grant citizenship simply by being born within there borders.

In 1857 the US was still in "Manifest Destiny" and needed people to populate the country although the 14th amendment was passed to deal with the issue of slavery.
Many from all over the world travel to the US to have babies and gain US citizenship for their children. Will these children now be covered by Obamacare??? Katie bar the door cause here they come.

Why not use "international law" as inspiration to "clarify" the 14th amendment to protect US sovereignty and most importantly, the US taxpayer, since most who travel here to have their baby and gain US citizenship, do so for the "benefits".

August 05 2010 at 7:03 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
ernestvalerius

Based on this half-stepping answer, one must wonder how Palin would describe McConnell's cojones.

August 05 2010 at 6:23 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
caddopecan

If they would build a fence to keep the illegals out, this issue would go away. Meanwhile, the government could simply declare one delivery room in each hospital as being non-American property and have the kid born there. Just the opposite of having an embassy in a foreign country being declared property of that foreign country. Then the kid would not have been born in the US, would not be a citizen. The point being is that a lot of people are getting sick and tired of this game. That we are supposed to shut up and pay while everyone else takes advantage of us.

August 05 2010 at 5:32 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply
vobox3343

He made no mistake. He's speaking for his constituents. They just don't like to be called the "R" word. And it gets harder and harder each day for them to run from the association. God bless America, even those who know not what they do.

August 05 2010 at 5:02 PM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply

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