August 8th, 2010
02:59 PM ET
8 years ago

Boehner: Changing 14th Amendment 'worth considering'

'A lot of them came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens,' House Minority Leader John Boehner said of undocumented immigrants in a television interview Sunday.

'A lot of them came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens,' House Minority Leader John Boehner said of undocumented immigrants in a television interview Sunday.

Washington (CNN) - Changing the Constitution's guarantee of U.S. citizenship for anyone born in the United States is "worth considering" if it helps reduce illegal immigration, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives said Sunday.

"It's a serious problem that affects our country, and in certain parts of our country clearly our schools, our hospitals are being overrun by illegal immigrants. A lot of them came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens.

They should do it the legal way," House Minority Leader John Boehner told NBC's "Meet the Press."

The Ohio congressman, who could become speaker of the House if Republicans win back control of the chamber in November, is the latest GOP leader to float the idea of changing the 14th Amendment. Several leading GOP senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, have said they would support holding hearings into the matter as part of the heated debate over immigration.

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Filed under: GOP • Immigration • issues • John Boehner • Popular Posts
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Have politicains learned nothing from the past? Everytime they mess with the Constiution, they cause more problems. The document is supposed to be idealistic and give us a sense of hope.
    Conservatives that normally hate change an t this to be a restrictive, exclusive document designed to preserve their status quo.
    Sorry guys, too late- you're out numbered by minorities and sane people,

    August 8, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. triletter

    “A lot of them came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens.” And Mr. Boehner, just what constitutes A LOT? As usual, politicians throw out words with no data to back them up. Let’s see, Boehner sounds like a German name, so PROVE that he is here “legally”!

    August 8, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Proud member of Global Zero

    Why is it that whenever a republican screams about the constitution, they seem to be the only ones that protect it. Really? They want to change it. There is nothing expect the second and tenth amendment to them. They keep calling the Democats Socialists. Republicans are Fascists.

    They do not want any one to have the rights provided to us in the constitution. There is someone running for office in the Republican party that wants to take the elections away from the people of their state and just have them appointed by the state government.

    Wake up people! Vote

    August 8, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. TS37

    I did not think the Republicans could dig any deeper into the dark underbelly of America. They are already mining the prejudice, fear, and hatred of many by their tacit support of the Tea Party crowd. But no....there are even lower depths: because a part of the U.S. Constitution does not give them the result they would like ("keep those foreigners away from us and from our government's resources") they are not talking up repeal of the 14th amendment. I should have realized that any party that would give us 8 years of George Bush and Dick Cheney really has no shame. Now it's clear: there is absolutely NO DIRTY DARK DEPTH that Mitch McConnel and John Boehner will not embrace!

    August 8, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. TX

    Well, in the grand scope of things, this topic is irrelevant. Most of the immigration issues stems from the passing of NAFTA. NAFTA allowed the free flow of immigration to the US because companies wanted cheap labor. White people got educated went to college and decided to raise their kids the educated way. Immigrants from Latin America filled the vacuum of agricultural jobs and have this fringe group complaining that immigrants are destroying the US? And of course, we can't forget the white folks aren't reproducing enough which is another reason the US needs to import immigrants because they reproduce at a higher rate and ensure that our birth and death rate balances out over time. At the end of the day, there's nothing than anyone can do, because there's always a need for cheap labor and that is why we need immigration.

    August 8, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Pierce

    Mr. B says: "There is a problem ro provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be U.S. citizens does, in fact, draw more people to our country."

    Yeah, as long your kind git into the door before we slam it shut, huh?

    As someone who has mostly American Indian blood, I am not sure that I welcomed your family's progeny, either. But we had to submit to your armed force and forced marches and reservations.

    Now you want this country to remain your version of 1950s Leave it to Beaver lifestyle.
    Times change. Demographics change.
    It looks like the GOP, with big talkers like you, are positioning itself to be the minority party of the future. Democrats, Independents and then Republicans a poor third. Why? Well, you mocked and tried to intimidate the second-biggest segment of the population, that being Hispanics.

    Bye-bye, Mr. Boehner. And take your party in decline with you back to the 1950s.

    August 8, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Emily

    The 14th amendment grants citizenship by birth on US soil. But there were no immigration laws at the time the 14th amendment was written, so there was no distinction of legal versus illegal status for any immigrant. Now that we do have immigration laws determining legal status of a woman giving birth, the 14th amendment should be modified to impart citizenship by birth from any woman who is legally in the US. Without reconciling the 14th amendment with existing US immigration laws, birthright citizenship makes no sense since it is the birth mother who controls the geography of the birth (not the unborn child) and it is she who bears responsibility and benefit to be in the US legally in order to impart US citizenship to her child. Legal status for birth mothers could be ANY and ALL basis including student or work visa, travel etc... Legal status could be interpreted very broadly to provide the greatest opportunity for citizenship, while still disallowing birthright citizenship to children of mothers without legal status.

    August 8, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Robert Wooller

    I'm no expert, but remember reading what Ron Paul said and he said that the Constitution cannot be changed. So Boehner, remember the Constitution is nkt a business contract that can be wripped up and rewritten.

    August 8, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. MRB

    Hope they don't try to make this retroactive or a lot of people aren't going to be citizens anymore, probably including some members of congress.

    August 8, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Chris

    The Republicans are always going on about how they "love the Constitution" – but they are also the first to try to change or abandon its law the moment they become inconvenient.

    August 8, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. The reality is...

    Boehner is correct this issue. Anyone who disagrees should consider this: suppose a Muslim terrorist came to the country illegally and had a baby (or babies) solely for the purpose of raising the child to use it's rights as a citizen to sabotage our country. Far fetched? I don't think so.

    August 8, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. CTYank

    Unfortunately, all those quoted seem to be far more interested in gamesmanship than governing. You might say dividing rather than uniting. Fond of personal facts.
    By many statistical measures, their alarm over aliens is peaking way later than the problem peaked.
    Do they understand why the 14th Amendment exists?
    Why not enter honest discussions re immigration reform? Really.

    August 8, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. klarg

    So these alleged "conservative" pols do not have the slightest compunction toward messing around with the constitution (especially when it could give them a bump in the polls). Crass hacks and phonies!

    August 8, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. NancyG

    For starters, how about securing our borders and going after the employers who hire illegals in the first place. I'm sure the unemployed in our country would love to have a job!!! This guy is a bonehead!

    August 8, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. maria

    And what else are you Republicans going to change?

    August 8, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |

    Typical GOP. These hypocrites who wrap themselves in the Constitution until it slaps their false" values" lie in the face and then they want to change their beloved Constitution. HYPOCRITES AND LIARS, it's as simple as that. They simply do not understand the great Constitution that our founders gave us. It protects the individual's rights, it does NOT provide for majority rules, plain and simple. This is the basis our our great country and the GOP just can't handle that fact. Rights can not be voted on, that's why they are called rights. The GOP is sadly acting just like the Nazi's in 1938, take away rights, one at a time so no one notices at first, pick groups to blame problems on, chip away at the rights of people, one small step at a time until there are no rights. That's exactly what our great Constitution does, it protects individuals from the mob mentality that the GOP is whipping up.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO. Don't be fooled!

    August 8, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Hannah

    Republicans have been at the forefront of allowing illegals to come into this country for years to do the cheap farm labor in the SW and elsewhere. It was President Reagan then that signed an amnesty law in 1986 and Bush SR. another one in 1990. There was no move to fix immigration during the last 8 years and now the Repugs are screeming. But do they have a solution? No as usual.

    August 8, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. The Big J

    Fine & dandy! Let's first see what planet an ORANGE colored anchor baby comes from! The GOP is beyond being silly when it comes to rational thought! They haven't proposed an idea worth a damn since Nixon was in office!

    August 8, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. PT

    Sounds to me like this guy is another cowardly Republican out to destroy our constitution. Yes, this includes the 2nd amendment.

    August 8, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Lynn

    The one and only idea he has I agree with. My State of Arkansas is a santuary state for pregnant illegal's, so much so that a clinic has been set up for them through The Blue & You Foundation and U. of A. The Blue&You is a subsidiary of Blue Cross-Blue Shield, our premiums being misspent to aid the illegal's having babies.

    August 8, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Karl at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

    It's funny how the repugs always act as strict constitutionalists until they find something that will scare thier supporters. Welll, OK, let's change the 14th admendment; just as soon as we change the 2nd admendment and also get rid of the one the gives religious entities tax free status.

    August 8, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. GJVT

    Just to be clear, changing the 14th Amendment does NOTHING to deal with the current crisis, it only prevents future offspring of illegal aliens from voting (democratic they assume). This is pure politics and not a solution at all.

    August 8, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |

    Tidal wave protectors after the flood? Naw, just a towel to dry off with should do. You marvelously ineffective slobs. Is this a diversion so we become led to believe that the imported cheap labor you let flood the US for generations doesn't depress middle class wages? How much has the aristocracy of this land contributed to its demise by profiteering at the nation's expense, and the expense of the public citizenry?

    August 8, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Proud American

    The GOP seems to be fast becoming a breeding ground for xenophobes. This goes against the essence and spirit of America.

    August 8, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. L

    It's time to get very practical about immigration. If someone has marketable skills legalize them no matter how they got in. Any foreigner here on a student visa who graduates in the sciences or engineering should be immediately offered permanent residency and a path to citizenship. Many of our top scientists, engineers and business leaders have always been recent immigrants.

    When all the anti-immigration politics begins to discourage the top talent from coming to America we risk creating a reverse brain drain that only strengthens the international competition.

    As you go after the "wet backs", be careful you don't also get rid of the talented experts.

    August 8, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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