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Attack on the 14th Amendment
Tea Party Republicans are currently pushing a bill through Congress that would stop birth tourism. The obvious question that comes to mind is “what is birth tourism?”
Birth tourism is defined as the practice of traveling to a country in order to attain that country’s citizenship for a child. If this bill is passed, children of women who practice birth tourism would not be guaranteed citizenship. In particular, it targets the children of undocumented immigrants because this bill implies that undocumented immigrants only come to this country to give birth.
This bill is just another example an unfortunate trend in legislation that directly tries to eliminate immigrants’ rights. As posted in previous blog posts, there have been multiple states that have passed laws that allow for the discrimination of undocumented immigrants. What this bill does is vilify children and their families as opposed to coming up with a solution for comprehensive immigration reform.
With this bill, Tea Party Republicans are trying to change the meaning of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which grants American citizenship to children born in this country. Tea Party Republicans are arguing that granting citizenship to the targets of the birth tourism bill, particularly the children of undocumented immigrants, would be a misinterpretation of the Constitution.
The intent of the 14th Amendment, however, is to grant all children born in this country US citizenship. This bill only discriminates immigrant children and their families while not proposing a pragmatic or workable solution for comprehensive immigration reform.
Eliminating citizenship for these children will not solve the broken immigration system we have in this country. If these children lose their citizenship, that many more people would have to through a complicated and time-consuming application process which would probably have a high administrative cost.
There is no question that there needs to be legislation passed in this country that addresses immigration, but this bill is not the solution. People born in this country are US citizens regardless of race, gender, or the country where their parents are from.