First Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), then Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), now Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is calling for congressional hearings on rescinding part of the 14th amendment to prevent anyone who is born in the U.S. from automatically becoming a U.S. citizen. The intention of such a radical move is to block the American-born children of undocumented immigrants from becoming citizens. Politico reports:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday he supports GOP calls for congressional hearings into altering the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States.
“I support the concept of holding hearings,” McCain told reporters in the Capitol. […] McCain, who helped lead the charge in 2007 for a comprehensive immigration bill with a pathway to citizenship for illegals, has taken an increasingly hard-line position on the issue as he faces a conservative primary challenger in a state that has become ground zero for the nation’s battle over immigration reform.
As Think Progress has repeatedly noted, the movement to repeal “birthright citizenship” was once limited to members of the extreme right-wing fringe of the Republican Party such as former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO). In recent weeks, however, the idea has taken fire. In Arizona, SB-1070 sponsor and state Sen. Russell Pearce (R-AZ) plans to make legislation denying “birthright citizenship” to the children of immigrants his next pet project.
McCain’s own tacit endorsement is bridled with hypocrisy. McCain once fought for a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, reasoning that we “will never be able to please the political extremists on either side of this issue [immigration].” In 2006, McCain even worried about would happen to the U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants if their parents were deported, stating:
What shall we do with these Americans — and they are Americans by virtue of their birth here — when we deport their parents? Shall we build a lot of new orphanages? Find adoptive parents for them? Deny their citizenship and ship them back, too? No, Mr. President, we’ll do none of these things.
Last week, McCain was still skirting questions on the 14th amendment, telling John King, “[m]y focus my right now is to get the surveillance, the people and the fences in there to get the border secure.” Apparently now, McCain is willing to embrace what he described as “the dislocation and agonizing moral dilemmas” presented by an enforcement-only policy that he once advocated against.