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The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

McConnell: What’s Wrong With Hearings on Birthright Citizenship?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday he still would like to see hearings on abuses of the 14th Amendment by illegal immigrants who come

Elisa Mueller
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Aug 05, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday he still would like to see hearings on abuses of the 14th Amendment by illegal immigrants who come to the U.S. to have children. Although he has not come out in support of changing the amendment to remove automatic citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants — so far, the only senator to do so has been Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — McConnell said he thinks Congress should look into the “burgeoning” business of birth tourism.

McConnell and Graham referenced an article in the Washington Post last month on a Chinese business that charges $14,750 to help women have their babies in the U.S. so the children will be citizens:

“What’s wrong with looking into this? The Washington Post did,” McConnell (R-KY) told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. [...]

Pushed to explain what outcome he expects from hearings, McConnell said he wasn’t sure what “remedy” would be presented. Still, it should be done, he said, adding : “Why don’t we take a look at it?”

Many other Republicans have come out against women coming to the U.S. for the express purpose of having citizen children, whether because they will then train the children to be terrorists or simply to exploit U.S. laws.

Most immigrants rights groups contend that the “anchor baby” phenomenon does not exist — and at least one advocate of tough immigration enforcement agrees. In a post at National Review last week, Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian argued against making changes to the 14th Amendment based on claims of birth tourism:

I don’t like illegals having U.S.-citizen kids any more than anyone else, but there’s no evidence suggesting that this “drop and leave” stuff is true — anything’s possible, I suppose, but it’s just an assertion at this point. My own sense is that most illegal alien women who have kids here (accounting for nearly 10 percent of all children born in the U.S. each year) didn’t come for that purpose; they came for jobs or to join relatives, and one thing led to another, birds-and-bees style, and they had kids. There are no doubt some people who dash across the border illegally to have kids, but they just can’t amount to a large share of the problem. Nor does the problem of “birth tourism” require a change in the Constitution — we just need to permit (and require) our consular officers to reject visa applications from pregnant women, inviting them to re-apply once they’ve given birth in their own countries.

Of course, hearings are unlikely to happen — as reported yesterday, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said the Constitution Subcommittee would not hold hearings on the issue.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.


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