Efforts to deny the right of citizenship to some children born in the United States not only stand on shaky constitutional and historical ground, but threaten to drown out productive debate on immigration reform with misleading anti-immigrant rhetoric, argues a new report from People For the American Way.
The report, Citizenship in the Balance, examines efforts by state and federal legislators to deny citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, the historical context of such arguments, and the practical consequences of any change to the Constitution’s definition of citizenship. It also provides a guide to some of the leading organizations and activists in the movement to gut the 14th Amendment.
“This new fad among right-wing elected officials to either ignore the plain meaning of the 14th Amendment or attempt to bulldoze it, is not only troubling for the future, but has immediate destructive consequences,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “At a time when our elected leaders should be talking about real ways to reform our immigration system, anti-immigrant activists are instead pushing these unconstitutional and impractical proposals to punish newborn children and create a permanent shadow class in the United States.
“Real immigration reform starts with respecting the humanity of immigrants and preserving the Constitution’s fundamental protections for all individuals. Proposals to change the constitutional definition of citizenship are unproductive and destructive distractions.”
The full Right Wing Watch: In Focus Report, Citizenship in the Balance: How Anti-Immigrant Activists Twist the Facts, Ignore History, and Flout the Constitution, is available online and for download here: