U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has joined the list of Republicans who support a review of “birthright citizenship.” The group — which thus far includes GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Tom Coburn, John Kyl and Lindsey Graham — want to look into changing the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to remove automatic citizenship for children born in the United States.
The argument goes that the amendment’s intent was not to grant citizenship to children born in the U.S. whose parents entered the country illegally. Kyle told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, “There is a constitutional provision in the 14th Amendment that has been interpreted to provide that, if you are born in the United States, you are a citizen no matter what. … And so the question is, if both parents are here illegally, should there be a reward for their illegal behavior?”
In an e-mail to The Iowa Independent, Grassley Communications Director Jill Kozeny said Grassley believes the amendment should be reconsidered, especially if the push continues for comprehensive immigration reform. But she stopped short of saying whether he would ultimately support changes.
For the past few years, Sen. Grassley has told constituents he’s concerned about the number of births in the United States by illegal immigrants wanting only to secure citizenship and benefits, and that he’d consider legislation to clarify the 14th amendment, especially if a comprehensive immigration bill is put forward. He’d agree that a hearing with legal experts and other parties of interest would help determine if changes are warranted.
There are several clauses in the 14th Amendment. Here is the text of the “Citizenship Clause,” which is the portion in question:
Section 1. 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.