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Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | Fox News | GOP2016 | Immigration | Jeb Bush | rick santorum

Rick Santorum: 'Congress Has Right to Define Citizenship'

Rick Santorum: 'Congress Has Right to Define Citizenship'
(Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 21 August 2015 01:23 PM

It's "entirely proper" for Congress to decide who should be defined as citizens of the United States, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Friday, and lawmakers have the right to interpret the provisions in the Constitution about birthright citizenship.

"A lot of legal scholars would say Congress has the right to define what citizenship is and a right to look at the 14th Amendment and interpret it and pass a law [so that] children born in this country to illegal immigrants are not legal citizens," the former Pennsylvania Republican senator told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."

"I think it's absolutely proper for Congress to do so; I think it's within their right to do that."

Story continues below video.

People who enter the United States illegally, Santorum said, should not be considered "under the laws of this country if you are breaking the law to be here in the first place."

Santorum said he agrees with stances on immigration taken both by front-runner Donald Trump, who has been railing about illegal immigrants and the criminal element, and by former Florida Gov. Jeb. Bush, who stated this week that the United States is a "diverse country" and has said his children are blessed to have the heritage brought to them by their mother, who is Mexican-American.

"We have to remove criminals in this country who are here illegally," Santorum said, pointing out that the Obama administration has allowed "at least 30,000 criminals who are illegal immigrants back into society."

President Barack Obama has authority in place to stop such activities, including suspending visas for citizens of countries that won't allow criminal immigrants to be returned to their homeland.

"It's a legitimate issue to say we need a president to get illegals out of this country who are criminals," said Santorum, but he also stressed that he believes in diversity, as he is the son of immigrants.

Still, he questioned the need for the growing immigration numbers, saying immigrants are impacting labor markets and working families.

"If you look at the last 25 years, wage earners have seen an increase of 4 cents a year in their pay," said Santorum. "We have more immigrants in this country percentage-wise than in 105 years. This is an issue."

But meanwhile, there are candidates, like Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who Santorum says want to "double the number of legal immigrants that come into this country."

"I would make the argument that what we have to look at is how does it affect American workers," he said. "If you look at the fact there are so many people, lower-skilled workers, youth, minorities who have record high rates of unemployment, this is a serious issue ... it's an issue that I think has gotten the American people's attention.

"Donald Trump and I are really the only two to say we have to work in the best interests of American workers."

However, Trump has been getting the lion's share of attention on the issue, which Santorum has championed for some time, and the former senator said that's because Trump "cuts a very different profile than I do, and I give him credit for raising this issue."

But the election is still far away, said Santorum, and he plans to remain focused on having "solid politics behind the rhetoric."

"Four years ago, I was at 2 percent in the national polls two weeks before the Iowa caucus and I won the caucus," said Santorum. "On caucus day I was at 4 percent. I don't pay attention to the polls. I pay attention to the voters who matter.

"I'll be heading back to Iowa and we'll be knocking out our 99 counties."

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It's "entirely proper" for Congress to decide who should be defined as citizens of the United States, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Friday, and lawmakers have the right to interpret the provisions in the Constitution about birthright citizenship.
rick santorum, gop, illegals, citizenship, 14th amendment
621
2015-23-21
Friday, 21 August 2015 01:23 PM
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