August 12th, 2010
09:24 AM ET
8 years ago

Huckabee against changing 14th Amendment

Mike Huckabee says he's against repealing parts of the 14th Amendment.

Mike Huckabee says he's against repealing parts of the 14th Amendment.

(CNN) – Mike Huckabee says he's against changing portions of the Constitution that automatically grant citizenship to children of immigrants born in the United States - a position that puts the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate at odds some of his party's most prominent figures.

In an interview that aired on NPR Wednesday, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 White House hopeful said the section of the 14th Amendment currently in question has long been held valid.

"The Supreme Court has decided that, I think, in three different centuries, said Huckabeee. "In every single instance, they have affirmed that if you are born in this country, you are considered to be a citizen. The only option there is to change the constitution."

Asked specifically if he would favor such an effort to change the constitution, Huckabee said flatly, "No."

"Let me tell you what I would favor. I would favor having controlled borders," he said. "But that's where the federal government has miserably and hopelessly failed us."

Huckabee's comments came the same day a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showed Americans are split right down the middle when it comes to the question of whether automatic citizenship should be granted to children of illegal immigrants born within the United States' borders

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll out Wednesday, 49 percent of Americans are in favor of changing that portion of 14th Amendment while 51 percent oppose doing so.
The poll also shows a clear partisan divide on the issue, with 58 percent of Republicans supporting a change while only 39 percent of Democrats do so. Independents are split exactly 50-50.

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.

The Reconstruction-era 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection of law and defines who is a U.S. citizen. Critics of illegal immigration have long accused migrants – particularly those coming from Mexico or Latin American countries – of giving birth to children in the United States in hopes that their babies' citizenship will keep them in the country as well as to avail their children of the more generous benefits of the wealthier United States.

The amendment has been cited as the foundation of U.S. civil rights law in cases ranging from Brown v. Board of Education to last week's decision that struck down a ban on same-sex marriage in California. Changing it would require a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and the approval of three-quarters of state legislatures.

The survey interviewed 1,009 adult Americans between August 6-10 and carries a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: issues • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. NVa Native

    Wow, who would have thought.
    So Huckabee is some one who respects our Constitution? Very few who call them Repubs seem to really care about the Constitution when it doesn't follow their prejudice and fears.

    August 12, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Mark

    Huckabee is dead wrong on this one. If the parents can't speak english the kid should NOT be a US citizen. Period.

    August 12, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. DJ in TX

    This is absolutely crazy. Agree 100% something needs to be done about illegal immagration, but changing the constitution???? The GOP knows there is no way they get two thirds of the congress and three quarters of state legislatures even if there was a GOP everything in Washington. This is just political posturing.

    BTW – I notice the GOP never gives the Obama administration any credit for departing more illegals than anyone before, for putting more troops than anyone before and for funding more border patrol than anyone before. They just keep saying they need more. Also, hasn't this been going on for years? This didn't just start with Obama? What about during the Bush years and Clinton years? Where was all this "immagration" talk then? Hmmmm................Politics...........

    August 12, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Justen in Florida

    I guess he didn't read todays news that 1 in 12 babies in this country are born to Illegal aliens.

    The days of slavery are over, and so is the 14th amendments usefullness.

    August 12, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. guest

    A republican that supports and understands the constitution.

    August 12, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Nana5

    Well, there you have it – Huckabee is added to the IDIOT side of the page. What part of "illegal" is so dang hard to understand. You come to the United States illegally and you and no one with you or future offspring have no rights – none / nada/ 0 – understand??????? Does Huckabee not understand what these people are doing? They are using offspring to get handouts from the US. No votes for him – he is too far out.

    August 12, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. JFS

    I am a strong Obama supporter and I have to say that I couldn't agree more with Huckabee. Guess this will polish off any Presidential aspirations with the GOP in 2012....HUH ????

    August 12, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Jamie

    Thank the Lord someone is keeping their senses!!!

    August 12, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Hendrik

    Everything these people do and everything these people say has to do with politics. There is nothing in it for the people. These people don't care about the people.

    August 12, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. RJ1008

    So the fundemental clauses in the constitution are also subject to polls and voting these days? How about press freedom subject to polling next? How about 1st, 2nd and all other clauses in the consitution also?

    August 12, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. Seth

    Huckabee against what??? Who cares it was never going to happen, the Republicans were just blowing smoke for their gullible followers, who have no idea what it takes to change even a comma in the Constitution.

    It was more live food for fools, to dine on air cake.

    August 12, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. vic

    I appreciate Mike Huckabee against for 14th armament change
    Attacking Obama and democrats is politics

    August 12, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Julia in Eugene, Oregon

    Well, I'll be. I agree with this man on something. Amazing.

    August 12, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Randall in Torrance, CA (Disabled Navy Veteran, Retired) - It is time to put the heels of our Liberal Democratic Boots on the necks of the out-of-control Republicans

    Huckabee is just a Wanabee. He says things that might help him get elected as POTUS. But deep inside he wants to SCREWUS.

    Don't fall for any riight wing nut job ever!

    August 12, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. Derp

    Why would this make waves? It is the Constitution. You do not change it. It exists as the foundation of this country, to rule supreme even if the majority of people feel otherwise. Tyranny of the majority cannot happen in this country because of it.

    August 12, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |

    this interpretation of the constitution is ludicrist. the children of illegal immigrants are NOT U S citizens

    August 12, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. True American

    when will republicans wake up and realize that had they not shipped our american soldiers overseas to fight in Iraq-which had NOTHING to do with 9/11-those soldiers could have been deployed to our borders instead. it would 1) have thwarted the border crossings and protected our borders and 2) we wil not have lost so many Americans lives and would still have strengthened our national security. the GOP-a party of idiots.

    August 12, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Thank you for one sane Republican!

    August 12, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. HappyinVA

    I’m confused – Republicans always want to “uphold the constitution” when they’re bashing Obama… but when it suits their talking points or newly targeted issues, they are interested in rewriting history and changing amendments. Huh?

    August 12, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Billy D Williams Lookin' Mofo

    Thank you, Gov. Huckabee. First non-loony statement on this issue from a Republican politician that I have heard.

    August 12, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. CathyInAZ

    This is first thing Mike Huckabee has ever said that with which I ABSOLUTELY agree. Good for him!

    August 12, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. Robrob

    Good to see someone on the Right who's idea of supporting the Constitution doesn't involve changing the Constitution.

    August 12, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Drew Williams

    Sorry Mike, it's a little too late to try and separate yourself from the panicked nut-dom that is the Republican Party.

    August 12, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. wayne

    If the very definition of conservative implies resistance to change and keeping things the way they are, why are the "conservatives" so determined to change the very foundation of our country?

    August 12, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Mason

    Huckabee is right just enforce our current laws. The 14th Amendment deal is political suicide for the GOP. This is the only way Obama could get another lease on life to win 2012 because he sure can't run on his record.

    August 12, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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