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GOP bill would end birthright citizenship

The Hill logo The Hill 1/16/2015 Cristina Marcos

Immigrant Melida Patricio Castro from Honduras shows a birth certificate for her daughter Maria Celeste, 2, to a U.S. Border Patrol agent near the U.S.-Mexico border on July 24, 2014 near Mission, Texas. Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of them families or unaccompanied minors, have crossed illegally into the United States this year and presented themselves to federal agents, causing a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Rio Grande sector has the highest traffic of illegal immigration, especially of Central Americans, on all the U.S.-Mexico border. © John Moore/Getty Images Immigrant Melida Patricio Castro from Honduras shows a birth certificate for her daughter Maria Celeste, 2, to a U.S. Border Patrol agent near the U.S.-Mexico border on July 24, 2014 near Mission, Texas. Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of them families or unaccompanied minors, have crossed illegally into the United States this year and presented themselves to federal agents, causing a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Rio Grande sector has the highest traffic of illegal immigration, especially of Central Americans, on all the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) re-introduced legislation this week that would end birthright citizenship.

King, one of the biggest immigration hardliners in Congress, cited a need to fight an "anchor baby agenda" of illegal immigrants deliberately giving birth in the United States to ensure their children had American citizenship.

"A century ago it didn't matter very much that a practice began that has now grown into a birthright citizenship, an anchor baby agenda," King said in a statement. 

Anyone born in the United States is automatically given American citizenship due to a clause in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that states, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

King argued the 14th Amendment has been abused to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country.

"When they started granting automatic citizenship on all babies born in the United States they missed the clause in the 14th Amendment that says, 'And subject to the jurisdiction thereof.' So once the practice began, it grew out of proportion and today between 340,000 and 750,000 babies are born in America each year that get automatic citizenship even though both parents are illegal. That has got to stop," King said.

The legislation would only allow people born in the U.S. to have American citizenship if one of their parents is a U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident or is an immigrant serving in the armed forces.

The Iowa Republican introduced virtually identical legislation at the start of the last two sessions of Congress in 2011 and 2013.

King's bill in the last Congress attracted 39 cosponsors, all of whom were Republicans. So far the latest version has seven cosponsors.

 

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