Here’s something you don’t hear very often: a prominent Republican’s policy position is too conservative for Alan Keyes. Speaking at a Tea Party Express-sponsored event in Washington this morning, Keyes said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is being irresponsible by suggesting, as he did recently, that the 14th Amendment may have been a bad idea.
Graham told Fox News that he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would remove automatic birthright citizenship for all babies born in the United States, even if their parents are here illegally. Graham and other Republicans have been whipping up opposition to the 14th Amendment, which they say encourages illegal immigrants to come to America with the plan to have babies who will automatically become U.S. citizens.
Keyes suggested that he shared the concern over so-called “anchor babies” with Graham and his allies, but he said that “the 14th Amendment is not the problem.” Rather, he seemed to suggest, it’s a mistaken interpretation of the amendment that’s at fault. Changing the wording of the amendment would be a mistake, Keyes said — and talk like Graham’s is downright dangerous.
“The 14th Amendment is not something one should play with lightly,” Keyes said in response to a question from ThinkProgress at the Tea Party Express press event today. “Lindsay Graham used the term — as people have carelessly done over the years — referring to the 14th Amendment as something that has to do with ‘birthright citizenship’ and we ought to get rid of ‘birthright citizenship.'”
“Well, let me see,” Keyes added sarcastically, “If citizenship is not a birthright then it must be a grant of the government. And if it is a grant of the government, it could curtail that grant in all the ways that fascists and totalitarians always want to.”