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Anti-birthright citizenship bills to be filed in Arizona tomorrow

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

Tomorrow has been set as the target date in Arizona for the introduction of two anti-birthright citizenship bills, to be filed in both the state Senate and House.

The Arizona Capitol Times ran a brief Associated Press report with these details:

Republican Sen. Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City said he and Republican Rep. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills agreed on a day for each to introduce the legislation but Gould said that timetables for consideration of the bills by the separate chambers will diverge at that point.

Gould is the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman and he said he expects the committee will consider his bill in early February. Meanwhile, Kavanagh indicated that House action on his bill might wait for approval of a new state budget.

Earlier this month, immigrant advocates in Arizona had sought a one-year moratorium on get-tough immigration bills such as this one. But the legislation has been in the works for some time, with the backing of Republican state senator and immigration-enforcement heavyweight Russell Pearce, who also sponsored the SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law, as well as national coalition of pro-restriction legislators, advocacy groups and legal counsel.

In early January, several state legislators, including from Arizona, gathered in Washington, D.C. to unveil model legislation that they hope to introduce in various states. The goal is to force a Supreme Court review of the 14th Amendment, which presently guarantees U.S. citizenship for those born in this country or who are naturalized.This interpretation of the post-Civil War amendment to the Constitution has stood since 1898, when the Supreme Court ruled that an American-born son of Chinese immigrants from San Francisco was indeed a U.S. citizen.

As part of their plan, proponents of ending birthright citizenship have proposed issuing different state birth certificates to children of undocumented immigrants. In a story today, Fox News Latino quoted Pearce:

Last fall, Pearce said that the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which addresses citizenship, was not meant to apply to the children of people who live in the United States illegally.

“This is a battle of epic proportions,” Pearce, Republican, said at a press conference in Arizona. "We’ve allowed the hijacking of the 14th Amendment.”

This week and next, Multi-American will be taking a closer look at the 14th Amendment and the battle over birthright citizenship, what its implications are and what happens next.