State-Level Efforts Challenge Automatic Citizenship for Illegals' Kids

Tuesday, 04 Jan 2011 01:54 PM

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At least 14 states are preparing legislation targeting the practice of granting citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States. Arizona legislators plan to introduce legislation designed to force the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the matter, the Arizona Capitol Times reported on its website.

The practice of granting citizenship automatically to anyone born in the United States, or birthright citizenship, stems from the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was adopted after the Civil War in 1868. In addition to citizenship rights, the amendment includes provisions requiring equal protection, due process, and sections dealing with the Confederacy.

The citizenship section was designed primarily to ensure rights to freed slaves, but members of Congress at the time acknowledged its application to the children of legal immigrants, and subsequent court rulings agreed. The question of children of illegal immigrants has not been addressed.

Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce of Arizona plans to unveil his legislation Wednesday, the Capitol Times reported, adding that legislators from 13 states will attend the announcement at the National Press Club in Washington. The other states are Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah, the newspaper reported.

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