On its website, the Republican National Committee proudly boasts of the GOP’s role in passing the 14th amendment in 1866. “The original purpose of the 14th Amendment was to defend African-Americans from their Democrat oppressors in the post-Civil War South,” the site states. Now, however, the RNC says it’s open to repealing the portion of the 14th amendment that allows anyone born in the U.S. to automatically become a U.S. citizen. Politico reports:
Doug Heye, a spokesman for the RNC, said there’s nothing contradictory about wanting to alter the amendment.
“Passing it was a huge issue and beside the point of what’s happening today. In 2010, we know that birthright citizenship is potentially being abused,” Heye said. “Supporting an idea and being critical of that idea being abused are not mutually exclusive.”
A senior GOP aide added: “The question is whether foreign nationals intentionally having children here to claim benefits and access to the country is a small exception or a larger problem that we see in illegal immigration as well as tourist visas. If it is a large problem then ignoring the debate because we’ve never had it before is pretty foolish. It really is a vexing policy question.”
In today’s Washington Post, columnist E.J. Dionne chastises Republicans by endangering their “party’s greatest political legacy by turning the 14th Amendment to our Constitution into an excuse for election-year ugliness.” He points to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) claim that immigrants come to the U.S. to “drop a child” in order to “anchor” themselves to the country and asks, “Drop a child? How can a strong believer in the right to life use such a phrase?”