One of the politicians behind Arizona’s controversial immigration law has called for children born to non-US citizens to be barred from getting American birth certificates.
Under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution any child born in the country has an automatic right to citizenship regardless of their parents’ legal status.
But Republican State Senator Russell Pearce will introduce a bill later this year to target so-called “anchor babies,” which he says are used by illegal immigrants to stay in the country.
When they become adults the children can sponsor their parents for legal permanent residency.
An estimated four million children became US citizens after being born to illegal immigrant parents on US soil in 2008.
Arizona is already facing a boycott by other US states and cities following its introduction of a law that requires police to determine a person’s immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” they are undocumented.
Senator Pearce, who sponsored that law, said the fact babies born to illegal immigrant parents become US citizens was “the most irrational and self-defeating provision you could have.” He said those who had written the 14th Amendment in 1868 had never anticipated the “deluge” that would come. “I want to bring a little common sense and integrity back,” he said.
“It’s illegal to enter the United States and yet we are going to create the greatest inducement to breaking our law, and entering illegally, and that’s making your baby a citizen.”
Opponents of the proposed bill say it is contrary to the Constitution and the American spirit. The right of Arizona to attempt to deny US citizenship could ultimately end up in the US Supreme Court. The 14th Amendment was drafted in order to secure the citizenship and Constitutional rights of freed slaves and their children.