From the Team That Brought You Arizona’s SB 1070…
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (R) is once again teaming up with Kris Kobach, an attorney running for Kansas Secretary of State, to write a new bill cracking down on illegal immigration in Arizona. The two worked together to draft SB 1070, a much-contested anti-illegal immigration law requiring police to check immigration status if they have reason to suspect someone of being an illegal immigrant. This time, though, they’re going for a younger crowd: Kobach confirmed last week he is helping Pearce with his effort to remove automatic U.S. citizenship for American-born children of illegal immigrants.
It seems unlikely the bill will go anywhere, given that legal scholars say it blatantly violates the 14th Amendment. But Pearce, who has been discussing anti-birthright citizenship since June, has moved forward anyway and plans to introduce it in January during the next legislative session. Kobach shot down the Arizona Republic’s request for details on the bill: “We aren’t announcing anything yet, as the drafting is not complete,” he said in an email.
A move to end automatic citizenship may have some support on the national level, where numerous Republicans have come out against “birth tourism” and “anchor babies.” But a repeal of the 14th Amendment that grants native-born citizenship would need far more support to succeed: Constitutional amendments must be approved by two-thirds of both houses of Congress and at least 38 states.
Pearce’s bill would instead remove citizenship at the state level, which legal experts say is directly in conflict with the Constitution. (Kobach, interestingly, is a constitutional law professor.) Last time Justice Department officials felt Arizona was preempting their authority on immigration matters, they sued the state to stop it. If the state were to pass Pearce and Kobach’s bill, it seems likely another lawsuit would result.