Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the staunch opponent of illegal immigration who is set to become the chairman of a key subcommittee on immigration, is setting his sights on the right-wing cause of ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants — which many experts say would be unconstitutional.
And, as King told the local paper Cityview, his plan is to pass a statute anyway, and if it gets overruled in the courts, to then step up the effort to a constitutional amendment:
“The framers did not consider the babies of illegals when they framed the 14th amendment because we didn’t have immigration law at the time so they could not have wanted to confer automatic citizenship on the babies of people who were unlawfully in the United States,” King said.
King wants Congress to pass a ban on “anchor babies,” place it in statute, and wait for the other side to challenge the prohibition in the courts. If King and his forces lose, they’ll move for a constitutional amendment to change the practice, he said.
“It’s the right policy, and I think we can do it by statute,” King said.
Birthright citizenship, a right outlined in the 14th Amendment, was intended at least in part to guarantee citizenship for freed slaves and otherwise secure legal equality: “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.” Without the concept of birthright citizenship, it’s possible for someone to be born without having citizenship in any country at all.
Some Republicans, however, have argued that it should not be construed so as to apply to the children of illegal immigrants, and have proposed various solutions ranging from a legislative workaround — which would probably be ruled unconstitutional — to a full-fledged constitutional amendment. Examples have included Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and the peculiar conspiracy theories from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) about babies being raised abroad as terrorists.
(Via Iowa Independent.)
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