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Is Birthright Citizenship The Next Immigration Law Target?

Immigration reform has been on the public consciousness for some time now. Last year, an effort to pass the DREAM Act failed, while Arizona passed a controversial anti-immigration state law. Now it appears the 14th Amendment may be the subject for some politicians. Last April, a California politician pushing for Congress to act on immigration, suggested that children of undocumented immigrants should be deported with their parent until the birthright controversy is sorted out.

Fourteen states reportedly are looking to possibly raise challenges to U.S. birthright citizenship granted under the 14th Amendment. Some state politicians say they are not seeking the long, arduous process of amending the U.S. Constitution. Instead, some state lawmakers intend to introduce immigration legislation in their respective states to create two kinds of birth certificates. One is the traditional state birth certificate; the other reportedly would be for children of undocumented immigrants giving birth in the United States.

Children of undocumented immigrants who are born on U.S. soil cannot actually stop the deportation of their undocumented parents. The child is, however, a United States citizen under the 14th Amendment. When the child reaches the age of 21, the adult citizen is eligible to file the necessary paperwork to sponsor their parents for legal immigration status.

Experts who study migration patterns say that the main reason people choose to migrate is to build a better life. The main motivator for people to leave their home, according to scholars, is to find a better paying job-not to create a passport for their children.

Source: The New York Times, "Birthright Citizenship Looms as Next Immigration Battle," Marc Lacey 4 Jan 2011

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