Yesterday, the Hill reported that the political momentum is growing for the revocation of the portion of the 14th amendment which automatically grants citizenship upon birth in the country. Until recently, the movement to repeal “birthright citizenship” was once limited to the extreme right-wing fringe of the Republican Party. However, that all changed last week when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) indicated that he was considering introducing a constitutional amendment that would deny citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants. Today, former CNN anchor and immigration hawk Lou Dobbs went on Fox News to advocate for the “vigorous enforcement” of immigration laws — which he thinks should include upholding the 14th amendment in its entirety:
DOBBS: I part ways with the senators on that, because I believe that the 14th amendment — particularly in its due process and equal protection clause — is so important, it lays the entire foundation for the Bill of Rights being applied.
KELLY: Well you could repeal part of it and leave the other parts in place. They’re focused on the part that makes you an American citizen automatically upon being born here. […] Do you support it? The controversy is — what are you gonna do? Criminalize a bunch of babies who are through no fault of their own born in this country to illegals?
DOBBS: I have absolutely maintained for years that the anchor baby issue is one of law. We have a law in which they become U.S. citizens for being born here. If you are going to insist on the rule of law and order — and I do — I have to insist that we recognize those anchor babies as citizens of this country.
After leaving CNN, Dobbs may have taken a softer tone on immigration when he started voicing support for a path to legalization, however, Dobbs once again sided with anti-immigrant zealots when Arizona’s controversial immigration law was passed. Dobbs has described SB-1070 as “entirely defensible” because it “literally mirrors federal” — which it doesn’t. Dobbs also accused the Obama administration of “consciously refusing to ignore immigration law,” despite the fact that deportations are at an all-time high.
Nonetheless, Dobbs draws the line there. When it comes “anchor babies,” a derogatory and “politically charged” term used to refer to the U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents, Dobbs avoids falling into the hypocritical pitfall that “rule of law” politicians like Graham and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have recently embraced. Denying the American-born children of undocumented immigrants citizenship would involve either rejecting a monumental constitutional amendment or, as some politicians have suggested, reinterpreting it so that undocumented immigrants and their U.S.-born children are not considered under the jurisdiction of U.S. law. As the Center for American Progress points out, the consequences of either option would be disastrous and, as Dobbs suggests, a perversion of a document that conservatives claim to defend.
Cross-posted on the Wonk Room.