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

Bilbray, Moran stake out positions on 14th amendment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" 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. Dale


    Just live by it.

    August 3, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  2. Michael Clark

    The caption on the photo is listing the two Representatives backwards, which could be confusing. Please consider swapping the caption around.

    August 3, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Voice of Reason

    More Republican nonsense. How far will this 'Its MY country not YOUR country' attitude go? May I remind Mr. Bilbray that unless he is of substantial Native American descent, then he, too is a child of immigrants. Otherwise he should leave off the bigotry and quit 'gaming the system' himself.

    August 3, 2010 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    I read that Rep. Brian Bilbray was a moderate Republican (I like that)back in the early 90s. I see above where he has backed off a bit on amending the 14th amendment.(I like that also) That tells me he's not a knee jirk Republican Reactionist. Does he have obstructist tendencies? Does he fit in with the GOP-Tea Party? What does he think about the neo-conservative activist Rus Limbaugh? Will the GOP-Tea Party allow him to stay in or will they want him 'purged' because he's not a true conservative? Would he consider running as an Independent (no party) and/or change to Democrat if things really go south in the GOP?

    August 3, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. jim

    Mr.Moran please tell me sir when anything that done in D.C. not political. !! You seem to have no problem with illegals in this country but there are a lot of people in Virginia that don't share your lack of concern.!!!

    August 3, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. George of the jungle

    I guess the constitution only works when it is in your favor. These wing nut patriots will now argue to change the constitution to suite them. What a bunch vote these jerks out. Some patriots

    August 3, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. maine liberal

    "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."

    how clear can this be. This from the party of strict interpretation of the constitution.

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

    With all due respect, Mr. Moran, in case you haven't noticed we have millions of people in this country who want US taxpayers to pay for their children and use them as a conduit to citizenship in this country.

    Then they refuse to learn and speak the language and march in the streets demanding rights and flying the Mexican flag. The cost of all this is nearly that of our defense budget and it is ruining our schools and hospitals.

    I am in total favor of reviewing and possibly eliminating the 14th Amendment. And I don't think I am alone.

    None of you are meeting the responsibilities of the oaths of office you took to protect and defend the Constitution.

    August 3, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. JES

    I agree we need to make the chage.

    August 3, 2010 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. Booger

    It's amazing how these conservatives want to change the constitution because they think they know what the authors of the XIV ammendment were and were not thinking. But, they are also the ones who say that changing the II ammendment is paramount to treason and can never be changed...once again they know what the authors were thinking even over 200 years ago. Yes, change the constitution because you don't like immigration but don't change it because the authors MUST have known about the invention of assault rifles, fully automatic weopons, etc.

    August 3, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. JonDie

    "Bilbray...told CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin that the law should be clarified."

    First, it is not "the law", it's the U.S. Constitution.

    Second, love it or hate it, there is NOTHING unclear about the 14th Amendment.

    August 3, 2010 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  12. Anna

    Implementing such a change at the hospital and/or county and/or state level would be an utter nightmare. Leave it alone.

    August 3, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. Kijana

    Disingenuous does not begin to describe the hipocrisy; apparently, the 14th Amendment worked just fine in the centuries when Europeans made their way into America in droves. Why don't the Republicans calling for these hearings just come out and call it what it is; a shameful attempt to limit what they see as the inevitable majority of Hispanic voters in the near future? And of course some of the proponents i.e. John McCain conviniently forget that they themselves became citizens by way of an Act of Congress, maybe this Act should be reviewed before an Amendment to the Constitution is. Not surprisingly, these are all a bunch of White GOP politicians, themselves benefactors of the 14th Amendment, gining up the base...shame on you all!

    August 3, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  14. Richard in California

    Why is it that Re-thug-licans scream loudly about protecting the Constitution and wrap themselves in the flag every time they are in front of an open mic, when really they try to destroy anything that remotely interferes with their ultra-conservative agenda, including the actual US Constitution?

    August 3, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  15. Greg

    It's probably just an attempt to remove the Equal Protection Clause. Say hello to the Republican's return to the "good old days" of segregation, everybody.

    August 3, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  16. John Hennessy Black

    Changing the 14th Amendment is long over due; just let us start the process... NOW!

    August 3, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  17. floridian

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

    Name anything the Democratically controlled Congress (and this Administration) has done since 2007 (then 2009) that has not been politically motivated. Not accepting the immediate assistance from foreign nations to help with the Gulf oil spill was not politically (union) motivated? Taking the state of Arizona to court over their Immigration Bill was not politically (Hispanic votes) motivated? Attaching extraneous amendments (unemployment benefits) to critical legistlation (war funding) was not politidcally motivated? The list can go on and on. So, Mr. Moran, stop your hypocrisy, your lies, and your obvious unwillingness to accept the minority party's suggestion to look at something that is financially crippling many states - the costs associated with caring for children born to illegal immigrants.

    August 3, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  18. Ken, AZ

    Moran is absolutely right. Republicans are playing to the right fringes of their party. If they have such great respect for the constitution then why do they want to change it?

    August 3, 2010 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  19. u2canfail

    Gaming the system is exactly what caused the problem. Cheap Americans hiring labor at below current minimum wage rates, off the streets of Mexico.

    If you ever hired an illegal to work at your home, you are the problem.
    Nannies were brought here by the thousands, yard work, projects at your home. Is that you Phoenix?

    August 3, 2010 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  20. Mikey

    Okay, I am against much of AZ 1070 and detest the racial divisiveness being peddled by the right, but I think it is reasonable to consider linking citizenship to the parents citizenship and not a happenstance of geography. The 14th Amendment was conceived in different times to address different circumstances than we now face.

    August 3, 2010 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  21. Aaron

    The 14th Amendment was obviously intended to grant citizenship to freed slaves and their descendants. Illegal immigration was obviously an issue at the time of the amendment's enactment, but nothing on the colossal scale that it is now. The intent of the amendment undoubtedly needs to be clarified to prevent abuses. After much searching, the GOP has finally found an issue that polarizes Americans and will result in large numbers of undecided/traditionally Democratic voters casting ballots for the GOP in Nov. Gay marriage doesn't seem to be working as the catalyst anymore. But the Dems have to take some blame in this also. The party is not following the wishes of a majority of American citizens with its efforts to grant amnesty to illegals, including backdoor solutions to grant legal status for as many as possible without going through constitutional channels. These are Bush-Cheney tactics at best and will potentially cost Dems control of both houses in Nov. since good economic news has been inflated/non-existent since Dems gained control.

    August 3, 2010 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  22. Dean

    Children born in this country of non-citizen parents should not get citizen status.

    August 3, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  23. Paul

    stupid republicans, first they ruin our economy, and now they wanna play politics with a human and civil right. What do they have in their heads, is it flies?, cause their ideas make simply no sense..

    August 3, 2010 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  24. Gary

    Hogwash! It's about Votes and grandstanding.

    August 3, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  25. What is the 14th?

    in earlier posts, it was obvious that most liberals have no clue why the 14th amendment was created (to secure citizenship for freed slaves). We no longer have those issues. Now it is often used to create 'anchor babies' for illegal immigrants.

    If we are planning on immigration reform, this is one necessary step. Other steps include locking down the border, simplifying the legal process, legislation that affects those that hire illegal aliens and deporting those that that are here (obviously starting from the criminal element....).

    August 3, 2010 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
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