Opinion Brief

The GOP war on 'anchor babies'

Blocking citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants is a top priority for some House Republicans. Can they do it?

The incoming Republican chairman of the House subcommittee on immigration, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), has set his top priority: Repeal the U.S. "birthright citizenship" granted to all U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants under the 14th Amendment. King argues that these so-called anchor babies are an unfair drain on taxpayer dollars, and offer their undocumented parents a stealth path to citizenship. While some GOP leaders support King's drive, is it good policy... or bad politics?

What happened to Constitutional conservatism? The newly elected class of Republicans campaigned on "defending" the Constitution, says Cynthia Tucker in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But if their first goal is gutting the 14th Amendment — rather than, say, creating jobs — it's not the Democrats who "don't care so much about fealty to the Constitution," it's the "radical" GOP."Radical Republicans want to ignore the Constitution"

It's time for Congress to take action: King's got the right idea, says Bruce Maiman at Examiner.com, but his proposal doesn't directly tackle the real problem: The vague language of the 14th Amendment. Ideally, Congress would revise the amendment so that it clearly requires that one parent be a citizen before a child can become one too."House conservatives target 'anchor babies'"

This is political suicide: King's bill would never pass the Senate, let alone the courts, says the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. The only thing it would do is alienate Latino voters. And that's just bad politics. Latinos are a rapidly growing electoral force, and they "are not, by any means, monolithic Democratic voters" — yet. If GOP leaders don't "quash" anti-immigrant talk, they risk losing Latino support."Alienating Latinos"

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