The Pew Hispanic Center released a study last week revealing around eight percent of the babies born in the United States in 2008 were in families that had at least one parent here as an undocumented immigrant. The study showed of 4.3 million newborns, 340,000 fit this description.
In 1868, the US Constitution granted children born in this country citizenship through the 14th Amendment, Section 1, Clause 1 which states, “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.” The amendment overturned the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, and made it possible for Africans imported as slaves and their descendants to be citizens.
The Pew study fueled a conservative call to repeal the 14th Amendment, and revealed conflicting political views from Utah’s US Senate candidates democrat Sam Granato and republican Mike Lee.
Lee originally said he would support barring citizenship for the children of parents here illegally, but seems to have backed off. He now says the study shows how serious the problem is, but concedes “there are many different questions that need to be answered” when it comes to comprehensive reform. However, his campaign web site states we need to “clarify the original clause through legislation specifying that children born to illegal-alien parents in the United States are not entitled to automatic citizenship.”
Sam Granato feels Lee’s early statements show a “very extreme point of view” and thinks repealing the amendment is not the answer. Granato was not surprised by the study because “we have 12 million undocumented or illegal immigrants” living in the US. He is against “carelessly repealing important portions of our Constitution” and thinks “insufficient border security, a legal immigration process strangled by red tape, and the complicated task of resolving the legal status of those already here” needs to be done at the federal level.
The study also said undocumented immigrants make up less than four percent of the adult population of the US, but many are younger, at an age when people raise families, giving the group a larger percentage of overall births.
A survey by the Pew Center last June revealed 56% of the people oppose repealing the amendment while 41% support ending birthright citizenship.
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Source: Salt Lake Tribune, Granato Campaign, Lee Campaign, US Constitution