Today, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA) joined the anti-immigrant designated hate group, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), along with several state legislators from across the nation, to unveil what they described as the “next nationwide initiative to halt the misapplication of the 14th amendment.”
In other words, the lawmakers introduced a plan to introduce state legislation which would reinterpret the 14th amendment’s language in a way that would prevent the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants from being conferred citizenship upon birth.
One of the speakers, state Sen. Daniel B. “Danny” Verdin (R-SC) explained the impetus behind their actions. According to Verdin, undocumented immigrants and their U.S.-born citizen children represent a “malady” or a “poison” that needs to be cured:
We as public policy makers think in terms of fixing problems, correcting maladies. […] This country has a malady and it is costing our citizens greatly. I’m very encouraged that we can adopt this legislation and move towards these state compacts for the relief of us all collectively. In any malady something may be considered benign in its beginning. We have a situation — anchor babies, birthright citizenship — a few decades ago it might’ve been considered benign because it’s not that impactful, but today it is. […]
We’re here as public policymakers to cure a malady — work collaboratively to cure a malady. It’s just to be poisoned over time or to be sick over a long period time or to have a sudden lethal dose of poison or something that brings on a calamity. In this case the malady can be cured. It’s not too late.
Verdin wasn’t the only lawmaker who invoked hyperboles. In his introduction, Metcalfe called illegal immigration an “invasion.”
The proposal introduced by the lawmakers who spoke today would involve introducing state legislation that would “revive” or “strengthen” states’ rights to establish state citizenship. Lawmakers also plan on presenting a series of state “compacts,” a legislative device which would allow signatory states to propose a reinterpretation of the 14th amendment’s citizenship clause to Congress. If Congress approved the compact, it would take on the force of federal law.
In response to today’s event, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights group, the National Council of La Raza issued a release stating, “These proposals are immoral. They would undermine our nation’s commitment to equality under the law, taking us down a slippery slope where the law permits distinctions based on ancestry, race, ethnicity, gender, and other characteristics.”