Georgia Proposal Would Deny Birthright Citizenship to Children of Undocumented

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(APN) ATLANTA — Georgia State Sen. Jack Murphy, a Republican, participated in a press conference at the National Press Club on Wednesday, January 05, 2011, with legislators from four other US states–Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina–who plan to introduce legislation this year to deny birthright citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.

The bills will likely face a legal challenge, seeing as how they contradict the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, and state laws cannot override rights provided under the US Constitution.

The 14th Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

The Supreme Court of the US ruled in 1898 in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, that a baby born in San Francisco to Chinese parents–who were prohibited by law from becoming US citizens–was a citizen at birth under the 14th Amendment.

“Currently, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are crossing U.S. borders to give birth and exploit their child as an ‘anchor baby,’ as a means to obtain residency, access taxpayer-funded benefits and steal American jobs for themselves and for their families,” the group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, said in a statement.

Also supporting such legislation are Arizona State Rep. John Kavanagh, Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill, Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, and South Carolina State Sen. Danny Verdin.  

“I’ve long considered birthright citizenship to be the holy grail of the illegal immigration debate,” Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill said.  “It has created a perverse incentive for foreign nationals to break U.S. law and proven to be a policy disaster for our Republic.”

The group said states need to be protected from “the illegal alien invasion.”

The group unveiled model legislation.  Sen. Murphy, who is the Republican co-chair of a joint State House and Senate committee on immigration reform, does not plan to introduce a bill himself; however, he said he expects another state legislator in Georgia to do so, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.

The model legislation would deny standard birth certificates to babies born in the US to immigrant parents.

The proposed legislation would also require all people in the US, whether citizens or not, to prove their status before they can receive a standard birth certificate for their baby.  Currently, there is no such requirement.

“The legislators of Georgia should not be trying to subvert the Constitution by creating two classes of American citizenship.  Citizenship should never be subject to the political and discriminatory whims of the day,” Debbie Seagraves, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia Executive Director, said.

“The 14th Amendment’s guarantee was a response to the pervasive discrimination of the 19th century.  The fact that legislators are still trying to create an underclass of American citizens shows that the 14th Amendment is clearly as relevant and vital today as it was a hundred years ago,” she said.

“The legislation proposed by State Senator Murphy is unconstitutional,” Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director, said. 

“Equality under the law for every person born in the United States does not depend on who your parents are or where they came from.  Enacting this legislation would undermine the values of fairness and equality that the people of Georgia hold dear.  Georgia lawmakers should stand up for the Constitution and reject this bill outright.”

(END / 2011)

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