AP -- U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican candidate for governor of Georgia, has proposed changing the long-standing federal policy that automatically grants citizenship to any baby born on U.S. soil, a move opposed by immigrant rights advocates.

Supporters of Deal's proposal say "birthright citizenship" encourages illegal immigration and makes enforcement of immigration laws more difficult. Opponents say the proposed law wouldn't solve the illegal immigration problem and goes against this country's traditions of welcoming immigrants.

Automatic citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." That provision, ratified in 1868, was drafted with freed slaves in mind.

Deal and his supporters say the 14th Amendment wording was never meant to automatically give citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants.

"This is a sensible, overdue measure that closes a clause that was never meant to be a loophole," said Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which seeks tighter immigration restrictions.

Under Deal's proposal, babies born in the U.S. would automatically have citizenship only if at least one of their parents is a U.S. citizen or national, a legal permanent resident of the U.S., or actively serving in the U.S. military.

Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the Immigrants Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, said the proposed law "is not cognizant with the American spirit."

"We would stand in strong opposition to this bill as it's in fundamental contradiction to our nation's long history of welcoming immigrants and bestowing inalienable rights" on all people born here, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, she said.

Story continues below Supporters of the bill say automatic citizenship provides an incentive for women to risk coming to the country illegally. They call U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants "anchor babies" because, when they become adults, the children can sponsor their parents for legal permanent residency.

"Coming into the country for the express purpose of having a child in order to anchor that child and yourself is, in effect, gaming the system," Dane said.

Lisa Navarrete, vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group, said the proposed law wouldn't stem illegal immigration and would make the problem worse because not only would illegal immigrants be undocumented, their American-born children would be too.

"The worst part of it is you end up with potentially millions of children who are stateless, who were born here and have no ties to any other country, yet they're not considered citizens or part of the United States," she said.

Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group that favors restricting immigration, said the policy of granting automatic citizenship to people born here is "out of sync with the modern world." He and Deal said that the U.S. is one of the few wealthy industrialized nations that still allows birthright citizenship.

Deal, who has submitted his bill to the House Judiciary Committee, said he's not optimistic about it becoming law this year unless it is tacked onto another bill.

"I think the current makeup of the Congress is such that this will never get a hearing and will never be an issue that we get a chance to vote on," he said. "But I think it's important to keep the issues that are part of the immigration problem alive."


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Fuck Rep. Nathan Deal. Welcomin' immigrants is what got our country goin'. Fuck him. Immigrants shouldn't receive so much government support though. It's their choice to come to our land. It shouldn't be a free ride like a lot of 'em get.

And besides, section 1 of the 14th is quite clear & the wordin' is easy to understand:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Quite so, Rev. It would take a Constitutional Amendment to change this policy. The 14th Amendment is quite clear on the subject. Of course, the government has gotten quite good at ignoring the Constitution and its Amendments when it wants to.
Aye, and Obama's speech on detainin' potential threats isn't makin' him look any better than the Bush regime.
I called my representatives and senators over that one.
Prohabition was an ammendment, too. The Constitution is an ever evolving document. With the exceptions that Deal suggests (especially the military one) I can't outright say it is a bad idea. There are a lot of principals that the U.S was "founded" on that we've grown out of. I'm open to the idea but can be swayed...
The issue is not really immigration, which I favor, but the childen born to those who are here illegally. As the Reverend wisely points out, the sticking point is that all these children become eligible for free health care, education, and other benefits. I am proud that the U.S. is a generous nation, but the burden that the children of illegals are exerting on some states and cities is becoming unbearable, effectively reducing resourses available to citizens and legal immigrants. It is an unfortunate mess.
I don't mind the children gettin' handouts. It's the parents that get handouts that bothers me. All children deserve healthcare.
We cannot be open to such policies. It's clearly anti-American, since the US purports to be a melting pot. Everyone here is an immigrant or decentant of immigrants.
A few Native Americans might argue that...
Also, those ancestors that were immigrants didn't have things like a failing health care, a failed social security and a cognitive education system. Some of them were indentured servants. Some were slaves.
Not everyone was here equally. Most came legally. There is a huge difference between now and then, and that is why the Constitution is an evolving document. It allows for changes made necessary by the modern world.
Technically, if you go far enough back, anyone not living in a certain region of Africa is an immigrant. :)
Alright, pack your bags. We're goin' home. Except the Aborigines until proven otherwise.
I'm going to reply here since you are the only person giving reasons why it is bad instead of simply saying "it's bad!"

1) Make it non-retro active with an appeals option. Children already born would be protected and those whose parents still make the choice knowing the new legislation would have due process to take into consideration their individual cases. (perhaps allowing them to stay but making them inelligible to sponser?)

2) Broaden it to safeguard children born of one legal (non-permanent) resident.

Now, I'm not just speaking as an American, but also as someone that has lived as a quasi-legal or outright illegal resident of other countries. I have seen both sides of it and think this might be a good way to protect children while slowing the illegal tide.


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