Arizona’s Latest Xenophobia

Ken AshfordConstitution, Immigration and XenophobiaLeave a Comment


(CNN) – A proposed Arizona law would deny birth certificates to children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents.

The bill comes on the heels of Arizona passing the nation's toughest immigration law.

John Kavanagh, a Republican state representative from Arizona who supports the proposed law aimed at so-called "anchor babies," said that the concept does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

"If you go back to the original intent of the drafters … it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens," said Kavanagh, who also supported Senate Bill 1070 – the law that gave Arizona authorities expanded immigration enforcement powers.

Unfortunately for Kavanagh, he is wrong.  The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1868 after the Civil War, states the following concerning citizenship: 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.

It makes no distinction at all between aliens (legal or illegal) or anything else.  If you were born in the United States, you are a citzen of it.

What's more, to the extent there is any doubt, the United States Supreme Court settled this matter in 1898, specifically saying that children born in the United States are automatically granted citizenship, regardless of their parents' residency status.  The only exception is children of foreign diplomats, and children born to enemy forces engaged in a hostile occupation of the United States.

But people like Kavanagh don't care about the law or the Constitution.  They're Republicans.