Politico reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who many previously thought would co-sponsor comprehensive immigration reform this year, is considering radically changing the 14th amendment. Graham may introduce a constitutional amendment that would overturn the portion of the Constitution which states “[a]ll 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.” In other words, Graham wants to end the practice of granting citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil. Politico reports:
“I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here,” Graham said during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen.” [...]
“I’m a practical guy, but when you go forward, I don’t want 20 million more 20 years from now,” he said. “I want to be fair. I want to be humane. We need immigration policy, but it should be on our terms, not someone else’s. I don’t know how to fix it all. But I do know what makes people mad, that 12 million people came here and there seems to be no system to deal with stopping 20 million 20 years from now.”
Graham wouldn’t be the first lawmaker to introduce legislation that would dramatically alter the 14th amendment. However, similar efforts have been led by Congress’ right-wing demagogues. Graham is now also following in the footsteps of the rabidly right-wing Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce — the sponsor of SB-1070 who plans to “target the mother” by going after the “anchor baby racket.” A few months ago, Graham introduced a framework for immigration reform with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that included a path to legalization for undocumented workers. In March, Graham walked away from the table, calling immigration reform “dead” after health care reform passed. Since then, Graham has joined his fellow Republicans in defending Arizona, blocking immigration reform, and calling for an enforcement-only approach.