How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Arizona back in spotlight after senate committee OKs stringent immigration bills

Photo by Patrick Dockens/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Just like that, Arizona finds itself back at the epicenter of the debate over how far a state can go with immigration enforcement, with perhaps more anti-illegal immigration legislation pending than ever before. Yesterday, the state Senate Appropriations Committee approved bills proposing stringent immigration enforcement measures, including:

- Two companion bills, SB 1308 and 1309, which seek to deny U.S. citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants

- A  newly introduced "omnibus" bill, SB 1611, that among other things would bar undocumented immigrants from public housing, demand documentation for children to attend public schools, prohibit undocumented immigrants from driving or buying a car, bar them from obtaining a state marriage license, and make it more difficult for employers to hire them

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No hearing on birthright citizenship bill, but some good reads anyway

Photo by johnwilliamsphd/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Plans for a hearing today on an Arizona senate bill whose proponents hope to deny birthright citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants were temporarily put off until next week, with legislators giving priority to a tax-cut bill.

Perhaps to coincide with the hearing that didn't take place, several news outlets today featured pieces on birthright citizenship and the 14th Amendment, which as now interpreted guarantees it as a constitutional right. Here are a few of today's related reads:

CNN had a couple of essays, one written by Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana who recently introduced a federal anti-birthright citizenship bill. He wrote:

I don't believe that the 14th Amendment to our Constitution grants birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. In fact, all we have to do is use history as our guide. It reminds us that this amendment was specifically designed to address the horrible injustice of slavery -- not to grant citizenship to children of people living in our country illegally.

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Readers' thoughts on the birthright citizenship debate

Photo by johnwilliamsphd/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over the weekend, NPR featured a post that summarized a series on the birthright citizenship battle that appeared recently on Multi-American. The response from readers since has been phenomenal, with a long string of informed, if impassioned, comments.

The issue of birthright citizenship - and the goal of some legislators to deny it to children of undocumented immigrants - is at the center of the immigration debate at the moment. Last night, two anti-birthright citizenship bills introduced in the Arizona Senate last month were pulled by their sponsor after they failed to win enough support in a committee hearing. But the debate over who should be a U.S. citizen continues to thrive, with a spate of bills pending in Congress and in the states, including an Arizona House bill that has yet to be heard and most recently a state measure proposed in Montana.

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First Arizona anti-birthright citizenship bills falter in state Senate

Photo by Robert Haasch, courtesy of Border Action Network

A protestor outside the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix yesterday, February 7, 2011

State Senate legislation in Arizona that sought to deny automatic U.S. citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants failed to register enough support in a committee hearing late yesterday, leading its sponsor to pull the two bills, at least for now. From the Arizona Republic:

Based on questioning from committee members, the bills didn't appear to have enough support to move forward.

Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, could bring the bills back to the committee later, or they could be referred to a committee that may be more receptive.

"It's going to come back," said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, who opposes the package.


The Arizona Daily Star reported:
Even before any testimony, Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, said the proposal, based on that idea of Arizona citizenship, raises a host of unanswered questions.

"I don't understand how you become an Arizona citizen if you move to Arizona, what the bureaucratic model would be," he said. "Do you then need to bring your own birth certificate and both of your parents' birth certificates?"

There were also several children who spoke against the bill, including 12-year-old Heide Portugal who said she was born in this country but her parents were not and that a measure like this, had it been in effect, would have denied her citizenship.

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As Arizona considers birthright citizenship bill, babies (with parents) march

Screen shot from Facebook page for "One-Thousand Baby Chain"

A hearing in the Arizona state Senate Judiciary Committee on legislation whose proponents hope to end birthright citizenship is expected to last late into the night. In response, critics today staged a protest they call the "One-Thousand Baby Chain" outside the state Capitol in Phoenix.

Arizona's SB 1309 was introduced in January by state Sen. Ron Gould, one of four anti-birthright citizenship bills filed together that intend to redefine who is a citizen of Arizona, and differentiate between the children born to undocumented parents and other children when issuing state birth certificates.

The ultimate goal of proponents is to force a Supreme Court review of the 14th Amendment, which as interpreted provides for automatic citizenship to all born on U.S. soil. The bills are among several anti-birthright citizenship bills filed at the federal and state level last month.

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