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Arizona's new anti-birthright citizenship bills



Arizona state flag
Arizona state flag
Photo by Patrick Dockens/Flickr (Creative Commons)

As they had promised, legislators in both the state House and Senate in Arizona introduced bills today seeking to deny automatic U.S. citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.

State Rep. John Kavanagh introduced two House bills that together closely resemble the text of a model bill introduced earlier this month by a coalition of conservative legislators, drafted with common legal counsel. State Sen. Ron Gould filed Senate versions of the same two bills, with co-sponsors that included Sen. Russell Pearce, an outspoken critic of birthright citizenship and the sponsor of SB 1070.

The Arizona Republic had this synopsis:

House Bill 2561 and Senate Bill 1309 defines an Arizona citizen as someone "lawfully domiciled" in Arizona who is born in the U.S. and is "subject to the jurisdiction thereof." It defines individuals who are subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. as children who have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or a legal permanent U.S. resident.

House Bill 2562 and Senate Bill 1308 would require Arizona to create separate birth certificates for children who are deemed to be Arizona citizens under House Bill 2561 and those who are not. It also seeks permission from Congress to form compacts with other states doing the same thing.


Supporters of these and other state anti-birthright citizenship bills (an Indiana House member recently filed similar proposed legislation, and other state have bills in the works) hope to land the bills in court, ultimately forcing a Supreme Court review and reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The text of the bills addressing who is an Arizona citizen cites Section 1 of the 1868 amendment, though it offers its own interpretation of the language.

From the text of the HB 2561:

1-701. Arizona citizenship A. A PERSON IS A CITIZEN OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA IF:

1. THE PERSON IS BORN IN THE UNITED STATES AND SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION THEREOF, AND

2. THE PERSON IS LAWFULLY DOMICILED IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA.

B. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, 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 A CHILD WITHOUT CITIZENSHIP OR NATIONALITY IN ANY FOREIGN COUNTRY. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, A PERSON WHO OWES NO ALLEGIANCE TO ANY FOREIGN 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.


Here's how Section 1 of the 14th Amendment reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

All four bills are on the Arizona State Legislature website.