Wednesday, January 5, 2011
With Republicans taking the House of Representatives, the next immigration battle is moving to citizenship rights--specifically, the Us-born children of undocumented immigrants.
SAN DIEGO The 14th Amendment grants citizenship rights to all people born on U.S. soil. But in the latest twist to the immigration debate, more than a dozen states are coming together to cancel birthright citizenship for the U.S. born kids of undocumented immigrants.
Legislators from 14 states, including Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma are meeting in Washington to consider a joint challenge to the constitution.
Bill Ong Hing is a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law. He says many lawmakers are currently arguing that the state of the economy is prompting them to push for new anti-immigrant measures.
"There are times when the economy is not fine, like today, when these kinds of proposals get a wider audience," says Hing. "But economic times have nothing to do with whether or not the 14th Amendment should be interpreted in a different way."
Hing says there is no legal precedent to such a challenge to the Constitution, and predicts the birthright bills won't have a real chance of passing. Furthermore, he says the measures are not likely to get at the root of the issue of undocumented immigration.
"Everything that is proposed - it's all been tried, and yet the problem hasn't subsided," adds Hing. "And so these kinds of proposals; it's just yet another thing that's going to distract us from ultimately solving the real problems."
Representative Duncan Hunter of California has been one of those pushing for Congressional action on the issue of birthright citizenship. Last April, Hunter suggested that children born here should be deported along with their undocumented parents.