Republican Senators David Vitter of Louisiana and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have introduced a measure to change the 14th Amendment of the constitution calling for an to end automatic citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants, unless one parent is a US citizen, a legal immigrant, an active member of the armed forces or a naturalized legal citizen. The proposal, which was used by many Tea Party candidates during the last election, was immediately denounced by Latino and civil rights group.
Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), has condemned the Vitter-Paul bill arguing this action demonstrates the complete disregard for the principles of fairness and equality on which this nation was founded.
“There are few elements of our Constitution more sacrosanct than the Fourteenth Amendment, enacted after great struggle and following the bloody Civil War. Our nation’s extraordinarily accomplished early history is marred by a pattern of legally-sanctioned exclusion and racism. The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment — and its Citizenship Clause in particular — permanently altered this extraordinarily regrettable pattern. This week’s introduction of a proposed constitutional amendment to return this nation to its pre-Civil War infamy will earn a permanent place in the annals of shameful senatorial conduct.” Arizona republicans continue to the fuel the divisive national debate on immigration.
Vitter and Paul argue the 14th Amendment does not automatically confer citizenship “either by its language or intent.
The actions in Washington mirrored efforts on the state level as lawmakers in Arizona on Thursday introduced yet another controversial anti-immigration proposal, which also takes aim at automatic U.S. citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.
Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, Fountain Hills, officially filed a House bill targeting, what those in favor of this bill have termed, “anchor babies” – children born to undocumented immigrants, said to assume a so called “birthright citizenship.”
The bill would challenge the right of these children to be considered citizens, and would only consider them as such, if either parent is a current U.S. citizen or legal immigrant.
Kavanagh tells Fox Nation, “We’re simply going to craft a bill that so defines Arizona citizenship and involves a notation on birth certificates that we believe will be challenged in court. And then we want to go through the federal court process, hopefully, getting to the Supreme Court because it’s about time that the Supreme Court once and for all decided what this phrase means.”
Gov. Jan Brewer, who after signing Arizona’s new SB 1070 anti-immigration law last spring, rose to national notoriety, has yet to take a position on this proposed legislation.
But as Associated Press writer Paul Davenport reports, some legal scholars have predicted that such a proposal would be struck down by the courts. La Plaza has recently covered how the high costs of these legal battles, are severely impacting local economies and damaging deeply rooted ties within the Latino community.