Texas is one of 14 states where lawmakers will introduce legislation in 2011 aimed at halting birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.
The legislation will be unveiled Jan. 5 at a news conference in Washington, D.C. It’s being spearheaded, in part, by state lawmakers from Arizona.
Aside from Texas and Arizona, legislators in Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Utah plan to introduce similarly worded birthright citizenship bills in 2011.
All of the Arizona-style bills are designed to reverse the longstanding interpretation of the 14th Amendment that grants citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
In an interview with NPR, Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh said: “We believe that the current policy of giving citizenship based on your GPS presence in the U.S. at birth is a bad interpretation of the 14th Amendment.”
The New York Times reported that Kavangh and other lawmakers have decided against the arduous process of amending the Constitution.
“Since the federal government decides who is to be deemed a citizen, the lawmakers are considering instead a move to create two kinds of birth certificates in their states, one for the children of citizens and another for the children of illegal immigrants,” the New York Times said.
A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll in September 2010 showed 48 percent of Texans favor repealing the birthright citizenship portion of the 14th Amendment, while 38 percent oppose it.
In August 2010, the Dallas Morning News reported that 60,000 to 65,000 babies automatically gain U.S. citizenship each year when they’re born to the estimated 1.5 million illegal immigrants who in Texas.
Gabriel Chin, a law professor at the University of Arizona, decried legislators’ pursuit of restricting birth certificates to certain people.
“This is political theater, not a serious effort to create a legal test,” Chin told the New York Times. “It strikes me as unwise, un-American and unconstitutional.”
Among those scheduled to attend the Jan. 5 news conference is Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. He leads a Republican-focused group called State Legislators for Legal Immigration, whose ranks comprise lawmakers from 40 states, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Everyone who is coming to the press conference is supportive of the concept of ending the illegal alien invasion and ending the incentives that attract illegal aliens onto our soil,” Metcalfe told the Atlanta newspaper.