The 14th Amendment is quite clear: Anybody born in the United States is a citizen. You can argue about its wisdom or unintended consequences, but you cannot seriously argue about its language:
““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.”
There is no equivocation, no qualification. Under that provision, even children born in this country to illegal immigrants become U.S. citizens, period. If that bothers you, if you want to change that reality, you have to change the Constitution, which contains provisions by which it can be amended.
However, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal proposes to alter the Constitution with a simple law, in effect pretending the Constitution doesn’t exist. As the Associated Press puts it:
“Under Deal’s proposal, babies born in the U.S. would automatically have citizenship only if at least one of their parents is a U.S. citizen or national, a legal permanent resident of the U.S., or actively serving in the U.S. military.”
The fact that Deal’s solution would clearly be unconstitutional doesn’t faze him. To the contrary, he suggests that the main obstacle to his proposal is political:
“I think the current makeup of the Congress is such that this will never get a hearing and will never be an issue that we get a chance to vote on. But I think it’s important to keep the issues that are part of the immigration problem alive.”
Translation from politispeak: “I’m running for governor in a crowded Republican field, and to draw attention to myself and appeal to conservative voters, I’m more than willing to propose legislation that violates the U.S. Constitution.”