“PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers in 15 states Tuesday announced a nationwide effort to change the way the 14th Amendment is interpreted and stop granting citizenship to babies born in the USA to illegal immigrants.
A national coalition called State Legislators for Legal Immigration is coordinating the effort.
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce said Kansas lawyer Kris Kobach, who helped draft Arizona’s tough immigration law now on appeal in the federal courts, is working with him and Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh to draft a bill that all the states could use as a model on the citizenship issue….”
Here’s the relevant portion of the 14th Amendment:
“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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Opponents of so-called birthright citizenship hang their argument on the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” arguing that children of illegal immigrants do not meet that test. In practice, however, federal courts have read that language very differently, ruling repeatedly that every person in this country is subject to its jurisdiction except for foreign diplomats.
An illegal immigrant, for example, could be prosecuted for a crime here because he or she is subject to U.S. jurisdiction. But foreign diplomats are subject only to the jurisdiction of their home country, not of the United States, which is how the concept of diplomatic immunity is derived.
The 14th Amendment, passed in the wake of the Civil War, very clearly makes the determination of U.S. citizenship a federal rather than a state function. The strategy of the State Legislators for Legal Immigration is apparently to try to subvert the constitutional language by passing state laws that bar issuance of birth certificates to children of parents who cannot prove citizenship.
One of the members of the group is Georgia state Rep. Tim Bearden, R-Villa Rica. In other words, coming soon to a state Legislature near you….