Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A 'nationwide task force' takes on the 14th Amendment

Latino elementary school students recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a September 11 memorial service in Tyler, Texas, 2003
Latino elementary school students recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a September 11 memorial service in Tyler, Texas, 2003
Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce held a press conference today in Phoenix to discuss plans for a state measure challenging automatic U.S. citizenship for children born in this country to undocumented immigrants. But unlike the Republican lawmaker's stringent SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law, which was limited to Arizona (though it has spawned numerous imitations), it's not just an Arizona story this time.

Pearce was one of 15 state legislators around the country holding press events in support of such plans today, according to the story in the Arizona Republic. Pearce and Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh have teamed up with Kansas law professor Kris Kobach, the legal brains behind SB 1070, to draft an anti-birthright citizenship bill that the other states could propose as part of a larger national effort to force a revision of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees U.S. citizenship to those born here.

Details on the national effort can be found on website of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, which today posted a news release with the title "State Legislators Form Nationwide Task Force to Halt Anchor Baby-Exploited Illegal Alien Invasion." From the news release:

State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) founder and Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe hosted a press conference in a coordinated effort with state legislators across the nation to announce the formation of a nationwide task force that will develop model state legislation to eliminate the misapplication of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is currently being utilized to secure citizenship for the children of illegal aliens and their families.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are crossing U.S. borders to give birth and use their child, or "anchor baby," as a means to obtain residency, access taxpayer-funded benefits and steal American jobs for themselves and for their families.

The idea behind the movement is to prompt federal lawsuits that would ultimately force the Supreme Court to take on, and possibly revise, the 14th Amendment, which grants U.S. citizenship to people born in the United States and to naturalized immigrants.

Pearce has said that he plans to introduce his anti-birthright citizenship measure in Arizona in January. The bill would likely involve the way in which birth certificates are issued.