June 15th, 2010
07:32 AM ET
13 years ago

Arizona bill would deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants


 A fence separates Mexico (left) from the United States (right) along part of a 226-mile stretch of the border known as the ‘Tucson Sector.’ (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

(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.

Under federal law, children born in the United States are automatically granted citizenship, regardless of their parents' residency status.

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Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Ben in Texas

    Kavanagh is playing his xenophobic constituency. He knows damned well that state law cannot trump federal law, and only the federal government can legislate on citizenship. Kavanagh is grandstanding for the party faithful.

    The trick for Repugnants to pull off this year is to keep their rabid supporters whipped into a frenzy, and they pull out all the old hot button issues to accomplish that. Sometimes its abortion, sometimes immigration (i.e., racism), sometimes gay marriage.

    Then, when they get into power, they never make a move on any of these issues, because they would rather keep that hot button hot for the next race than actually do what they espouse.

    June 15, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. Paul from Phoenix

    This is an incredibly important step that needs to be taken. At this point, illegals are coming over the border to have their children, who immediately become legal citizens. However, then if something happens, the family is split up because the child is allowed to stay but the parents aren't.

    This law is not necessary in today's time, and getting rid of it would be a huge first step. At this point, the law should read that at least 1 parent must be a legal US citizen, and the child must be born on US soil (or embassies, military grounds, etc).

    I find it hard to believe in today's time that either side would oppose this updated rule.

    June 15, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. Henry Miller, Libertarian


    It's not "federal law" that grants citizenship to people born on US soil, it's the third word of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution–and that little bit of poor phrasing in the fourteenth amendment needs to be changed.

    Failing that, as is routinely done with the ninth and tenth amendments, that phrasing could be easily ignored if the Supreme Court chooses to ignore it. They can do that by any of several means, the most likely of which is refusing to hear cases brought against Arizona that invoke that amendment–that's what I suspect will happen.

    June 15, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. gt

    pass the bill and let the supreme court decide the out come..

    June 15, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. gerry angus on. canada

    on the oil spill crisis, why don't you use a machine that separates water from oil like a cream separator they use to use in the old days. the heavy cream shot out one pipe and the lighter milk shot out another by using centrifical force . I'm sure that todays tecnology can make this machine to work either underwater or above it . one pipe would be used for the heavier oil to go to a tanker while theother pipe runs off the water back to the ocean.

    June 15, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  6. Peter E

    In no other country in the entire world are immigration laws so loosely enforced, and in no other country in the world do these 'anchor babies' become citizens. Even Mexico has tougher laws and much better enforcement than we do. It's time to reciprocate their 'hospitality.'

    June 15, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Bryan

    This makes a lot of sense. We could better screen out the criminal aliens and allow the responsible immigrants to become citizens using this method.

    June 15, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Jayne

    That is not only outrageous and racist but UNCONSTITUTIONAL

    June 15, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. lol

    The U.S. is a country of laws. If you don't follow the legal path to citizenship, than you are breaking the law. The illegals are a drain on our already dire economy. The "anchor babies" should be deported, with their law breaking parents. There are many immigrants who follow the rules and legally become citizens.

    June 15, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. James in Columbia

    Wow, this proposed bill violates both federal law and the constitution in one fell swoop! Well done! Seriously, when is the Arizona Nazi party going to realize they're part of a larger country, and can't just make up their own laws?

    A child born in the United States of America is an American citizen. Period.

    June 15, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. Marie MD

    As long as it's not used as an excuse for the illegal parents (I don't care from which country or continent) to stay in the US you can't take that right from the child.
    The parents are in charge. If they don't belong in the US then they all need to leave.
    Anchor babies shouldn't be the link between breaking the law and having the papers needed to work and live here.

    June 15, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. Jane

    States are going bankrupt providing services to illegals and their children. If you are here illegally, your children should still be ILLEGAL, and NO free sevices should be provided to your family. We have given away our country to people who come here to benefit without cost to them. Doesn't matter what nationality you are...what color you are....what religion you are. No free services (including health care) unless you are LEGAL.

    June 15, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  13. Jilli

    Wow, the folks that claim to want to live by the constitution certainly have no problems spitting on it in this way. Their selective adherence to the constitution is laughable.

    June 15, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. What Goes Around

    "If you go back to the original intent of the drafters ... it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens," said Kavanagh...

    Right, and if you go back to the "original intent of the drafters" with respect to the Second Amendment, it is clear that it was not meant to confer the right of individuals to keep AK-47s in their house, but to ensure the nation's right to maintain a well-armed militia.

    A lot of people interpret the Constitution the same way they interpret the Bible: selectively, and in a way that serves their own narrow agenda.

    June 15, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. Linda

    Good! It is about time someone did something about stopping
    this abuse of our country.

    The illegal immigrants who come to our country to give birth are
    pathetic, and an insult to American citizens.

    June 15, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. JP

    Why is it that only Arizona, the EU, and Mexico get it right with regard to illegals and the other 49 states just don't get it. Other countries don't open their social welfare programs to the children of illegal noncitizens.

    June 15, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    Go AZ! If we need a constitutional amendment, to make this go for the country, so be it!

    June 15, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. billybob 'n NC

    These "Constitutional" purist have a peculiar way of rewriting it in order to meet their prejudices.

    June 15, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Sniffit

    HAHAHAHAHA. Where does it end with these morons? Sure, we can argue all day about whether 1070 is pre-empted...a few somewhat clever ideologues have come up with passing arguments for why it might not be, altho they are most likely losing arguments in the end anyway...but you simply CAN'T argue that this is not pre-empted. There's not even remotely a reasonable argument that this legislation would come within a mile of legal. No state can determine US citizenship. Period. Case precedent is far too clear, as is the language of the 14th Amendment. This is nothing more than a political ploy...ideological mid-term election year gamesmanship of the highest order...and an ENORMOUS waste of AZ taxpayer money.

    June 15, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  20. Ron in California.

    This law needs to be changed. The US is only one of a few country's with a law like this. Times have changed and it time to change the law. I'm sure when the law was enacted it purpose was good. But today people sneak across the border to have a child to get the benefits our country offers. Thats not right.

    June 15, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. Sniffit

    The best part is definitely going to be watching Scalia, Captain "Strict-Constructionist," squirm and snake and finegle his way into supporting this law despite the absolutely crystal clear language of the 14th Amendment and case precedent.

    June 15, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Yes, it is time. If the parents aren't citizens then neither are the children, born here or not. If the parents become citizens, thru the current process then the children will be quailfied for citizenship.

    That is the only way the illegal will become a citizen as the American People aren't going to grant Amensty to illegals.

    June 15, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. seebofubar

    HOORAY FOR ARIZONA !!! Thank God that there are some Americans that haven't had their backbone removed by the politically correct whimps in Washington. Maybe there's hope for this country after all.

    June 15, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Mikey

    I would say that in this day and age, considering the advances in travel and the proximity of both Mexicans and Canadians to our borders compared to 200 years ago, it is probably time to change this law. However, that law is enshrined in our constitution and requires a constitutional amendment to change.

    And I am still very much opposed to AZ 1070, and yes, I have read it. Reasonable suspicion upon ANY legal contact is too broad and no fines or jail time for employing illegals, even for repeat offenders, but $1,000 fine for providing any humanitarian assistance is perverse.

    June 15, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Anthony Beasley

    I hate when people circumvent their understanding of the constitution for what they think the drafters of the Constitution meant. It's up to the Supreme Court to determine what the legal standards of citizenship are! All of these states rights tea party folks don't get it! Citizenship of the United States is not up for your interpretation. He said this to get populist anger on his side so when he goes to the Supreme Court and it's legally beaten, then he can say I tried. The Pilgrims arrived on American soil without an invitation and took land! I want an illegal immigration policy that makes sense! This doesn't make any sense! Because it is not up to a state to determine immigration status.

    June 15, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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