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Pearce bill would target Arizona 'anchor babies'
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Immigration & SB 1070

Pearce bill would target Arizona 'anchor babies'

Under potential law, children born in U.S. to illegal immigrants wouldn't be citizens

  • mahalie/Flickr

Sen. Russell Pearce, who authored Arizona's controversial new immigration law, now wants to deny citizenship to so-called "anchor babies."

Citizenship is granted to children born in the U.S. – even to illegal immigrants, according to the Constitution. But Pearce told Time Magazine that the 14th Amendment has been "hijacked" by illegal immigrants.

"They use it as a wedge," he said. "This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we've created."

Oklahoma Republican Randy Terrill is working on a similar bill for his state.

"Currently, if you have a child born to two alien parents, that person is believed to be a U.S. citizen," Terrill told NPR. "When taken to its logical extreme, that would produce the absurd result that children of invading armies would be considered citizens of the U.S."

A similar bill is working its way through Congress. Several European countries do not grant birthright citizenship, but about 30 countries do.

"Many countries do not grant birthright citizenship because they have older histories and see themselves as individual nations with individual identities," John Skrentny, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and sociology professor at the University of California at San Diego, explained to ABC. "Whereas the United States, like many other countries in the Western Hemisphere, began as, and has always seen itself as, a melting pot," he says.

Pearce said the new law will not conflict with the Constitution.

"Citizenship has always been privilege extended only on conditions established by the sovereign . . . not the mere happenstance of location of birth or residence," he wrote on his website.

“We will write it right,” he told Time.

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