“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.”
That’s the first sentence of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and there is a movement afoot to strike it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., normally a level-headed sort, has thrown his weight behind this idea. (Read about it here.) Other Republicans are eager to say they support hearings on the idea, but they seem to be more eager to look as if they’re doing something about it without actually doing anything about it. (Read about that here.)
With so many voters irrationally angry about illegal immigration, and about children born to them in this country becoming citizens, it’s natural for politicians to want to dance to the right tune. (By the way, they also want to quit dancing to some older tunes. When was the last time you heard Sen. Orrin Hatch tout his plan to amend the Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens to become president? That was an effort about six years ago to let Arnold Schwarzenegger run, but in light of all the fuss being raised about Obama by “birthers,” you aren’t likely to hear much about it any more.)
The 14th Amendment was written to protect the rights of newly emancipated slaves. At the time, it was impossible to be an illegal alien because the United States allowed virtually anyone to come here. That ended in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when bigots in high places decided to exclude “the more undesirable elements of our present immigration,” to quote from the Immigration Restriction League at the time.
Those undesirables were some of our great-great grandparents.
I say leave the Constitution alone and find ways to let hard-working people come here and contribute legally.