Crime & Justice

Initiative would limit rights of children born to illegal residents

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Activists in California have begun to promote a ballot measure that would deny state benefits to illegal immigrants and limit the citizenship rights of their children born in this country.

Kristina Campbell, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, questions whether that would be legal.

Kristina Campbell: "What this initiative looks like it’s going to try to do is to take away state benefits from U.S. citizen children. What is really going on here is that they are trying to get the issue of what the 14th Amendment does, what it says, and who it applies to before the court."

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ rights from state infringements and guarantees equal protection under the law. Supporters of the ballot measure say there should be no automatic right to citizenship or social services for children whose parents are illegally in the country.