Ending citizenship rights granted to children of illegal immigrants born in the United States of America will be one of the first objectives of the Republican-led House of Representatives, according to a published report.
The 14th Amendment specifies that anyone born in the US is automatically granted citizenship at the time of their birth, regardless of whether their parents are citizens.
The first clause of that amendment, which was 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.”
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has represented Iowa’s 5th congressional district since 2003, is expected to push a bill that would deny birthright citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, according to McClatchy Newspapers.
King, who has been appointed as the next chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, claims the amendment was not meant to confer citizenship on the children of undocumented immigrants because at the time of its ratification there was no immigration law.
“Because the 14th Amendment has been misconstrued, current law inappropriately gives American citizenship to the children of illegal aliens solely because their parents were able to cross our borders illegally and give birth here,” King said in October.
“As a result of this perverse incentive, an entire ‘anchor baby’ industry has developed which exploits a legal loophole caused by a misinterpretation of the Constitution,” he continued. “Many of these illegal aliens are giving birth to children in the United States so that they can have uninhibited access to taxpayer funded benefits and to citizenship for as many family members as possible.”
According to King and others who wish to end birthright citizenship, pregnant foreign women purposefully come to the US to give birth so that their child will be a legal US citizen. These so-called “anchor babies” then make it easier for the parents and other family members to remain in the US.
Two Republican representatives from California, Tom McClintock and Dan Lungren, have also voiced support for a bill that would deny birthright citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.
“If illegal immigration is to be rewarded with birthright citizenship, public benefits and amnesty, it becomes impossible to maintain our immigration laws and the process of assimilation that they assure,” McClintock said.
According to an investigation by ThinkProgress in October, 130 Republicans in Congress have supported ending birthright citizenship.
In a spin on the “anchor babies” issue, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) claimed in June that ending birthright citizenship was a national security issue because terrorists were reportedly sending pregnant women to the United States to raise “terror babies.”
“We’re bringing them over here on tourist visas, some illegally, letting them be born here and saying this is an American citizen,” Gohmert told Fox Business. “So come back in 20, 25 years when you’re ready to blow us up.”
When asked for proof of “terror babies” by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gohmert responded that the “the evidence abounds” but was unable to cite any sources besides an anonymous FBI official.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have attacked the plan to end birthright citizenship as unconstitutional.
In an open letter, DeeDee Blasé, the founder of Somos Republicans, criticized King for planning legislation “that would undermine the 14th amendment of the constitution” which he “swore an oath to uphold.”
“We find both this rhetoric and this un-constitutional conduct reprehensible, insulting and a poor reflection upon Republicans because we don’t want our Party to be viewed as the Party of changing the United States Constitution,” she added.