The overwhelming majority of the world’s nations don’t grant citizenship to everyone born within their borders, but the United States automatically grants birthright citizenship to the 300,000 to 400,000 infants born annually here to illegal and temporary immigrants, reported the Center for Immigration Studies
The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside.” That statement has been interpreted as providing “automatic birthright citizenship for all children born to illegal and temporary aliens,” according to the CIS.
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Still, both political parties have at different times sought to limit or do away with birthright citizenship, while The Wall Street Journal reported
several 2016 Republican presidential candidates have expressed support for ending the practice. Here are six times federal lawmakers sought unsuccessfully to end or significantly change limits regarding birthright citizenship.
In 1993, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) introduced unsuccessful legislation that would have limited birthright citizenship to the children of U.S. citizens and legally resident aliens, according to the CIS. Reid now opposes ending birthright citizenship, according to the Washington Examiner
Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Georgia) in 2005 introduced the unsuccessful “Citizenship Reform Act of 2005” seeking “to deny citizenship at birth to children born in the United States of parents who are not citizens or permanent resident aliens,” according to GovTrack
Deal in 2007 introduced the unsuccessfully “Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007,” according to GovTrack.
Deal in 2009 introduced the unsuccessful “Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009,” according to GovTrack.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky co-sponsored an unsuccessful 2011 Senate resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that would have limited the practice of allowing birthright citizenship, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in 2013 sponsored the unsuccessful “Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013,” according to the Federation for American Immigrant Reform
A similar measure — the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2015, introduced by King and Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.) — is before Congress but unlikely to pass, reported The Wall Street Journal. That publication indicated the act would deny citizenship to children born in the United States unless at least one of their parents was a citizen, permanent lawful resident or noncitizen serving in the armed forces.
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