US & World

GOP bill would require at least one parent to be legal resident for child's US citizenship

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
Kitty Felde/KPCC

Listen to story

Download this story 0.0MB

A trio of California lawmakers got busy the first day of the new Congress. They co-sponsored a bill that denies citizenship to children born in the United States whose parents are undocumented immigrants.

The 14th amendment to the Constitution says anyone born in America automatically becomes a US citizen. The Birthright Citizenship Act would require at least one parent to be a US citizen or a legal permanent resident before a newborn can claim citizenship.

Three southern California congressmen - Republicans Brian Bilbray, Gary Miller, and Dana Rohrabacher - have co-sponsored the measure.

Rohrabacher says parents would have to present proof of citizenship or legal residency before authorities issue a birth certificate to their child.

"Whatever paperwork one has to do to get a birth certificate," Rohrabacher says, "and I’m not sure exactly what the paperwork is - but that paperwork would in the future include whether or not your parents were citizens of the United States of America."

Immigration activist Lynn Tramonte of the organization America’s Voice blasted the bill, saying that “history will not look kindly upon a Republican Party that targets children and shreds the Constitution.”