Birthright Citizenship Bill Released By State Legislators
Today a coalition of State Senators for Legal Immigration Reform held a press conference to announce their plans to release legislation that would eventually deny children of immigrants birthright citizenship in the Untied States. The legislative process for this is complex and appears designed to draw federal lawsuits which would eventually lead to a Supreme court re-interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
The coalition released two documents during their press conference, a Bill and a State Compact to be passed along with the proposed legislation. Both the Bill and the Compact are attached below. Passing both of these in tandem in all 40 states is a part of what can only be called a highly circuitous way of reforming our federal immigration system.
The legislation does not actually reform anything, but rather is designed to set off a legal battle which would result in the Supreme Court reinterpreting the 14th Amendment to deny children of immigrants birthright citizenship.
According to Kris Kobach, elected Secretary of State to Kansas, the legislation and the compact are not designed so much to deny citizenship to children of immigrants immediately but to create a legal argument that the entire concept of citizenship should not be looked at solely on the basis of federal sovereignty but rather be viewed on a state by state basis.
The concept of "State Citizenship" is the mechanism by which state legislators intend to invoke state sovereignty on citizenship within the borders of their individual states. The Compact states:
(a) The Signatories to this compact shall make a distinction in the birth certificates, certificates of live birth, or other birth records issued in the signatory states, between persons in the signatory state who are born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and persons who are not born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Persons born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States shall be designated as natural-born United States citizens.
(b) Subject to the jurisdiction of the United States has the meaning that it bears in Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, namely that the person is a child of at least one parent who owes no allegiance to any foreign to any foreign sovereignty or a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country. For the purposes of this compact a person who owes no allegiance to any sovereignty is a United States citizen or national, or an immigrant accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States, or a person without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country.
According to the State Legislators For Legal Immigration, in order for this Compact to have any force of law it must be passed in at least 40 states, at which point it can be introduced in the House, then passed in the Senate, at which point it will become like a federal law.
Where things get tricky is in the actual Bill itself. The legislation of the Bill itself if passed in each state, reinterprets the 14th Amendment to not give children of immigrants automatic citizenship based on being born on American soil.
(a) For the purpose of this statute, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States has the meaning that it bears in Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States constitution, namely that the person is a child of at least one parent who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty, or as a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country. For the purpose of this statute, a person who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is a United States citizen national, or an immigrant accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States, or a person without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country.
Kobach and co were adamant that this would not actually change the federally mandated definition of a citizen, nor change anything in the actual Constitution, nor would there be as of yet any mechanism for actually deporting children of immigrants based on the powers innumerated in this law.
In fact as Arizona state Senator John Kavanagh noted, all this legislation was intended to do is create lawsuits, which would at some point would (in his hopes) reach the Supreme Court and lead to a new interpretation the 14th Amendment, which would deny birthright citizenship to children of immigrants.
Erin Kelly of the Arizona Republic has the full story on this particularly perplexing and paradoxical way of legislating HERE:
"Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh and Arizona state Sen. Ron Gould, both Republicans, said they plan to introduce legislation in the next few weeks that would define what it means to be an Arizona citizen. That definition would say that an Arizona citizen must be a U.S. citizen, who would be defined as someone who is born in the United States and has at least one parent who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty. Naturalized U.S. citizens also would be considered Arizona citizens."
Kavanagh and Gould both stressed that the bill is more for legal battles then an actual plan on what to do about immigrants born in the United States:
"Kavanagh and Gould both said they expect the Arizona Legislature to pass the bill, most likely in April. If passed, there would be no immediate affect on babies born to illegal immigrants in Arizona or their families, the lawmakers said. Rather, the bill, if it becomes law, is designed to draw a legal challenge from immigrant rights' groups over the definition of a U.S. citizen and force the issue into the federal courts for clarification of the 14th Amendment.
"The bottom line: What we want is our day in court," Kavanagh said. The draft bill specifically states that citizenship of a particular state shall not give the citizen any special rights, benefits, privileges, or immunities under law. Babies born to illegal immigrants in Arizona or other states that pass the legislation would not be stripped of any of the current rights or benefits they receive, the lawmakers said."
More on this as it develops.