Recently, a group of Republican lawmakers and officials have publicly floated the notion of repealing the 14th Amendment as a way of combatting illegal immigration. Of course, it will never happen. A repeal would require a tectonic, ideological shift in Congress, and no matter what happens during this fall’s elections, it is impossible to envision any scenario in which a repeal would be supported by 2/3rds of Congress.

In simple terms, the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to anyone naturally born in the United States. The lawmakers who support its repeal believe that this fundamental right is being abused and exploited by illegal immigrants who sneak into the United States in order to give birth to so-called “anchor babies.”

Louisiana junior Senator David Vitter, who supports applying the 14th Amendment to “pre-born fetuses,” previously introduced a bill that would have required “at least one parent to be a legal resident in order for their child to be granted U.S. citizenship.”

It remains to be seen what Mr. Vitter thinks about the latest push by some Republicans to repeal the 14th Amendment, but I think it’s a question worth asking.

Why?

Because Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the most popular Republican in the State, was a direct beneficiary of the 14th Amendment. His parents, who were citizens of India, immigrated to the United States when his mother was six months pregnant, and when he was born in Baton Rouge, Bobby Jindal immediately became recognized as a natural-born citizen of the United States (which means, by the way, that he can run for President of the United States).

Proponents of the repeal have suggested that any child born to parents here on temporary, work, or student visas should be subject to deportation. Governor Jindal’s parents, at the time of his birth, carried student visas.

The question to Senator Vitter shouldn’t be if he believes Governor Jindal can run for President, if he so chooses; the question is: Does Senator Vitter believe Governor Jindal should be able to run for President?

Based on Vitter’s previous bill, I assume the answer is no.

15 thoughts

  1. Sigh So much misinformation. For the politics of this see my post yesterday

    “Immigration Reform Supporters Missing Opportunity On Birthright Citizenship”
    http://opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com/2010/08/immigration-reform-supporters-missing.html

    First if we are going to have a honest debate over this instead of the usual soundbite fest can we get the facts straight. The people talking about this are not wanting to repeal the entire 14 th Amendment!! Can we at least agree on that. The 14th has a lot in it and needless to say I think Republicans that are very pro-2 nd Amendment would not want to repeal the 14th

    So if we are going to have a honest discussion we have to get these facts straight. They want to amend part of the 14th not repeal the whole thing.

    Further we are not talking about depriving people of Citizenship of cheaping their citizenship if their parents were not American born. This is forward only.

    1. How disingenuous.

      They don’t want to repeal the 14th Amendment… they just want to repeal the part of the 14th Amendment that grants birthright citizenship to people born here?

      What about the Vitter proposal? Should we simply ignore that? The legal residency requirement.

      Please, provide an example of “a portion” of a Constitutional Amendment being “repealed” or “rewritten” that doesn’t involve the repeal of the entire Amendment.

      I understand this proposal is “forward only” and not retroactive, but I think it’s instructive to consider how this could be applied retroactively– what our country would look like if we already had such a requirement.

  2. “How disingenuous.

    They don’t want to repeal the 14th Amendment… they just want to repeal the part of the 14th Amendment that grants birthright citizenship to people born here?”

    How is it disingeunous? Again there is a lot in the 14th. There is a lot packed into the 14th amendment and who are Citizens is just a part of it. I can’t imagine that Republicans that have fought tooth and nail to have the 2nd amendment to apply to the States after getting a victory will destroy that by getting rid of the 14th amendment.

    The proposed amendment could just add language that Citizenship is based on X factors (Which in the unlikely event this happen would be based on one parent being American I suppose)

    In fact you really would not technically have to change the wording I don’t think. A simple additional amendment would supercede the 14 th in that regard. Notice the stuff about slaves has not deleted from the Const but the Civil War amendments nullified that language

    As to what our Country would have looked like well this is a different time to say the least. I am not saying I would in the end support the changing of the amendment but having a discussion that might lead to actual facts (exactly how many “anchor babies” are being born here) might be productive.

    Regardless no one is talking about repealing the 14th and as one liberal ad I saw wanting to bring back Dred Scott.

    1. No one is talking about repealing the 14th Amendment? I suggest that you Google “Repeal 14th Amendment.”

      By the way, I think you’re right: The proper procedure would be to pass a new Amendment. Congress can’t just redact portions of the 14th.

      Either way, the questions still remain.

      1. “Either way, the questions still remain.”

        Ok let me go after those.

        First I understand the political theatre involved in this. The chances of this amendment passing is about the same me being elected Pope next time there is a opening

        However I do understand the symbolism especially when the voices are coming from people that are open to immigration reform and Pathway to Citizenship. To be honest if I could snap my fingers and amend the Const in order to give pathway to people that deserved it I might take it.

        I also understand that such a move MIGHT and I say MIGHT prevent a problem we vast amount of illegal aliens in 20 years. We are in a new age of the global economy and migration. Of course that would only be part of the fix

        That being said I suspect the “anchor baby” problem is way overblown but at least we could have the fact finding to get the truth

        As to Jindal yep a future Jindal might not be allowed to run for President unless other things were changed.

        As to the pro-life issue that is a interesting point. In reality in some world where Vitter’s amendment would pass it could just protect Citizen babies or both . It depends on the wording and boy you can bet Pro-life groups would be watching that.

        In the end this is going nowhere we all know that. However in a sense by appearing to the public of at least seeing their concerns it might lower the temperature on other issues

          1. Well sort of. I think a Citizenship amendment could be worded not to infringe on his Pro Life bill

            Now to be fair and I will bring this up because though I support Vitter I told him on the Census matter he is wrong and I suspect he knows he is wrong. That is his postion of lets not count illegals. Well as I told him fine change the Const then!!

            Vitter is a smart guy and I suspect he knows this however he can use this to throw some red meat to the base to the base

            If you are looking for a place Vitter is being inconsistent look there. As I understand his argument he says the founders just wanted to count Citizens. However that is the not the wording they used, they used persons!! Not Citizens.

            Now if you asked Vitter if a American Child cannot be aborted but a child of foreign people In the USA can be aborted under his proposed law he would try to crawfish out of that. But he cannot because Persons apply to everyone!! If he accepts the meaning of person for the Pro-life bill he has to accept the provision of Persons for the Census

            As to Jindal that is a interesting question. Again in many ways we are dealing with new ways of economics and migration that might merit a change. It is not a issue I lose sleep over because I recognize that the chances of ever amending the law is about nil. However I understand the PR value if it can be used to show YES WE ARE CONCERNED about illegal immigration and listening to you thus opening up a small window to get comprehensive immigration reform

  3. JH’s most recent response was poorly formatted by WordPress. It deserves a fair treatment.

    Quoting:

    Well sort of. I think a Citizenship amendment could be worded not to infringe on his Pro Life bill

    Now to be fair and I will bring this up because though I support Vitter I told him on the Census matter he is wrong and I suspect he knows he is wrong. That is his postion of lets not count illegals. Well as I told him fine change the Const then!!

    Vitter is a smart guy and I suspect he knows this however he can use this to throw some red meat to the base to the base

    If you are looking for a place Vitter is being inconsistent look there. As I understand his argument he says the founders just wanted to count Citizens. However that is the not the wording they used, they used persons!! Not Citizens.

    Now if you asked Vitter if a American Child cannot be aborted but a child of foreign people In the USA can be aborted under his proposed law he would try to crawfish out of that. But he cannot because Persons apply to everyone!! If he accepts the meaning of person for the Pro-life bill he has to accept the provision of Persons for the Census

    As to Jindal that is a interesting question. Again in many ways we are dealing with new ways of economics and migration that might merit a change. It is not a issue I lose sleep over because I recognize that the chances of ever amending the law is about nil. However I understand the PR value if it can be used to show YES WE ARE CONCERNED about illegal immigration and listening to you thus opening up a small window to get comprehensive immigration reform

    ** End Quote **

    1. In response to my colleague at OpinionatedCatholic (JH):

      I think you may have unwittingly hit the nail on the head: No one actually believes it is possible to repeal the 14th Amendment. It’s about the “PR value” of saying such, and that’s a shame.

      Personally, I believe there are ways of addressing this issue without tinkering with the Constitution. We may disagree overall, but I think you make a lot of interesting and provocative points. Thank you.

  4. Piyush, like ALL pro-lifers believes that life begins at conception and no at birth. So if he believes in following the INTENT of the law he should disqualify himself from runiing for POTUS, no?

  5. I do not think ANYTHING needs to be changed in the US Constitution. We DO NOT need to repeal the 14th Amendment… just close the open gate on all boarders! By doing this we could leave the US Constitution like it is and solve most anchor baby issues. I am not against immigration, but I only want people to come here the right way. It is unfair for those who sneak in through our open boarder to jump ahead of those who spend the time and money doing it the right way. Both parties are guilty of looking the other way in hopes of gaining votes and it is OUR fault for allowing that to happen.

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