August 3rd, 2010
09:04 PM ET
4 years ago

Bilbray, Moran stake out positions on 14th amendment

 Rep. James Moran and Rep. Brian Bilbray sparred over calls by some Republicans for a review of the 14th Amendment.
Rep. James Moran and Rep. Brian Bilbray sparred over calls by some Republicans for a review of the 14th Amendment.

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-California, joined a growing crowd of Republican lawmakers calling for a review of the 14th Amendment Tuesday.

Bilbray stopped short of calling for a constitutional amendment that would change the provision, which grants 'birthright' citizenship to anyone born in the Unites States, but told CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin that the law should be clarified.

"We should clarify the fact that those who are tourists do not fall under the category because they cannot be tried for treason," Bilbray said on CNN's John King USA during a panel discussion. "Rich tourists shouldn't be able to come in and buy citizenship. That's what it's really about."

But Rep. James Moran, D-Virginia, argued that the Republican lawmaker's motives are purely political.

"I have to speak up for Brian [Bilbray]. He's normally not this disingenuous when he's among us and he's back in Washington. It's only when he's on the campaign trail," Moran said. "This is not about rich diplomats and everyone knows that, including Brian."

Bilbray's comments come after several top Republican lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, expressed interest in holding hearings to examine the amendment more closely.

"I'm sure they want to hold hearings, and they want to make sure they're televised, because this is about getting votes. This is about the upcoming election. It's not about changing the law," Moran said.

The 14th Amendment states in part that "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."

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, told Fox News last week that he is considering introducing a constitutional amendment that would change the birthright provision of the 14th Amendment. Such an amendment would require two-thirds of both houses of Congress, and three-fourths of state legislatures to pass.

"We can't get two-thirds of Congress to agree on what day it is," Moran said. "This is purely about getting votes in the next election … It is about appealing to the bias against immigrants."

But Bilbray insisted that his experiences from living and working in a border state have convinced him that the law needs to be looked at.

"In San Diego…You had individuals with border crossing cards that would come over from Tijuana, and they do it today. They deliver at the hospitals as an emergency delivery. They qualify as an automatic citizenship, even though they even live out of the country, but because they're there temporarily, they claim to get the citizenship, and they qualify for the benefits," he said.

"Those of us on the border, we see this everyday. It's not just about illegal immigrants. It's about people gaming the system."


Filed under: 2010 • Immigration • issues • JKUSA • John King USA
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Charlie

    People that are born here of legal residents should be citizens. People born here of parents of illegal aliens (aka Tourists) should not be citizens.

    August 4, 2010 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  2. shame

    The constitution was written by the founding fathers of the nation and why mess around with it. the Republicans are really getting to be a party of destruction, and now they want to tackle 14th Amendment purely on the grounds it touches the sore subject of immigration. Shame on the states especially Arizona starting from its governor, the senator and the sheriff who are out of touch with human dignity, this countries rich history of helping people and think Arizona should take the lead in implementing a state wide immigration law to protect their boarder. Lets go back to political 101 Arizona is a state within the country and not the country. So let's leave the 14th amendment intact and work on a bipartisan way and come up with a national immigration law. If Arizona thinks it can stop the flow of illegal immigration they are wrong. All the Republicans that are in favor of challenging the 14th amendment are all about getting votes, stir up the voters and create animosity. If you think changing the 14th amendment will change the flow of immigrants you are fooling yourself.

    August 4, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  3. John

    The GOP wants to review the 14th admendment? Right.....Sure....

    Remember back when the GOP cause celebre was "states' rights?" The Republicans were all for states' rights! Er, at least until some of those states started passing laws promoting gay rights or doctor assisted suicide or gun control. Then Republican enthusiasm for states' rights mysteriously diminished.

    So, we'll see how long the GOP keeps pandering to immigration bigots about the 14th amendment.

    August 4, 2010 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  4. Brian Dodge

    With 50,000 intentional, 20,000 "accidental" non fatal gunshot injuries, and 10,000 homicides from handguns, one might expect the "pro-life" right wing to be more concerned about reviewing the Second Amendment instead of the Fourteenth – but money trumps people every time in setting the Republican agenda.

    August 4, 2010 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  5. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    These folks would like to see ten years voting the straight Republican ticket as a requirement for citizenship.

    Any time I see a group wanting to limit the rights of another group, it seems to be Republicans wanting to cut the rights of some group that is a strong Democratic base. Latinos, blacks, Asians, gays, any non-Protestant religious group

    These are the same people who fought long and hard against giving voting rights to women, blacks and non-property owners.

    Now it is the Latinos turn to feel the deep and abiding love the Republicans have for them. Just remember them this fall.

    August 4, 2010 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  6. bobden

    So Bilbray would like to get to gether with some of his idiot friends and re-write the constitution. The way that it should have been done to begin with? No thanks.

    August 4, 2010 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  7. jules sand-perkins

    Just enforce the immigration laws.
    We'll have to dump Obama to do that.

    August 4, 2010 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    Times change. Let's adapt.

    August 4, 2010 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  9. La Piovra

    "Subject to the jurisdiction of" means "bound to obey the laws." That is why the children of diplomats, those born on foreign ships of war in our harbors, and those born on planes in transit without landing are the only ones who do not get citizenship through birth within our territorial boundaries. Do you want to give every alien diplomatic immunity? And are you aware that a citizen child can neither determine its own residence nor apply for a parent's residence until it turns eighteen? Lastly, do you want to make of our nation a glassy-eyed, spittle-mouthed mob, howling for the blood of babies? May we recover our good sense and decency!

    August 4, 2010 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
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