Could Birthright Citizenship Really Be Revoked?

One would think they had learned their lesson with Arizona Senate Bill 1070. The same geniuses who brought us the “Show-me-your-papers!” legislation are at it again, thinking up new ways to say “I hate you” to millions of undocumented immigrants in Arizona and around the country. According to the Arizona Republic, Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, the man behind S.B. 1070, now plans to sponsor a bill to deny birth certificates to children born in the United States to non-citizen parents. (See Pearce: ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ Not Enough, by E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic, 03.Jun.2010.)

Never mind that, as the Arizona Republic points out, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution already provides that “all persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” How do they plan to get around this? By arguing that children of non-citizens and illegal immigrants are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” the Arizona Republic reports. Nonsense, say other sources cited in the article, noting that border crossers are routinely prosecuted and thereby subjected to U.S. jurisdiction. In short, Senator Pearce appears to be courting a showdown with the Supreme Court.

Speaking of courting: forget flowers and chocolates and big-ticket pork-barrel projects. Rand Paul is using this same issue – abolition of “birthright citizenship” – to woo voters in the Kentucky Senate race this fall. According to the Los Angeles Times, Rand Paul told an English-language TV station in Russia that he would like to stop children – babies – born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants, from getting U.S. citizenship. (See Rand Paul Rejects U.S. Citizenship for Babies Born to Illegal Immigrants, Associated Press dispatch in the Los Angeles Times, 28.May.2010.) Given his recent pronouncements on racial prejudice, one wonders what else Rand Paul might object to in the 14th Amendment. Bidden or not, Mr. Paul seems certain to tell us, any day now, and that may be a good thing. Better to find out about these views before the election.

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