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

Huckabee against changing 14th Amendment

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

    Ok don't take out the right to being a natural born citizen, but it should be then that any illegal immigrants who have children born in the U.S.
    are not automatically citizens of this country. Anyone who comes to the country legally and has children then no problem. But I can't see using my tax money to let some one come into this country illegally just to have a child to say he/she is an American and then allow the parents to stay because their child is automatically a citizen of the United States. What about those who come to this country and apply to stay going through channels and then sending them home where is the Justice.

    August 12, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. oklahoma

    Finally a smart responce from the people can see the hidden agenda behind this this has nothing to do with the constitution if not why do the rep.only want to change the 14th amendment

    August 12, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Rob in MO

    WOW!!! A Republican with integrity.

    August 12, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Pat in IL

    I don't often agree with Mr. Huckabee's policies, but on this one, I do.

    August 12, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. Don

    Thank you Mike. Finally a sensible Republican.

    August 12, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. JC

    Leave the constitution alone.....fix the imigration laws.

    August 12, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Mason

    Hes Right of course, Like it or Not the 14th Amendment is here to stay.
    mess with or change the constitution and your opening up
    a can of worms, lots of trouble, it was good for over 200 years,
    leave well enough alone.

    August 12, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Donald

    i am a dem but atleast huckabee has a brain and can think for his self

    August 12, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. mike kendall

    Mike Huckabee has always been soft on illegal immigrants, so what is new???

    August 12, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. MikeSP

    Huchabee just lost any support I may have provided him.

    August 12, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. Liberal4Obama

    Good for him, at least he looked like he has read the US Constitution unlike Lindsay Graham, McCain, Coburn, McConnell and Kyl whose only intention are to use it as a political issue for short term political gain.

    August 12, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Dale

    No amnesty. We are rewarding law breakers.
    I'm sick of this BS and will not vote for anyone that supports it. I have learned to HATE all politicians and 99% of the lying media

    August 12, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. phyllis sanders

    For once i agree with Mike Huckabee, any one borned in this Country, the United States of America, should be a citizen.

    peace out...

    August 12, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Jennifer Reglien

    I believe changing the constitution to address illegals giving birth to babies in the Unites States is a wonderful idea. If a person is here illegally, their child should not be eligible for citizenship. This is just another loop hole for getting into the country. At the same time, parents need to have a birth certificate in order to enroll their children in an American school. It might help weed out illegals, though like drivers licenses and addresses and even social security numbers, the certificate can be falsified. So, lets put people back to work checking for falsified paper work.

    August 12, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. cocitizen

    Tom Tancredo, Mr. illegal alien has said the same thing. Every now and then a few of the right wingnuts uses some common sense. That is clearly what Huckabee and Tancredo are doing here. The whole 14th amendment thing is a joke the right wing is feeding to their craziest followers.

    August 12, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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