Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship - anyone born in the country regardless of race, color or status of one's parents or ancestors - ought to be fundamentally altered. "We should change our Constitution and say if you come illegally and you have a child, that child is automatically not a citizen," Graham told the cable network.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) are also considering placing the 14th Amendment's birthright citizenship clause in the crosshairs, The Hill reports.
McConnell told The Hill that Congress "ought to take a look at" changing the 14th Amendment. "I think we ought to take a look at it - hold hearings, listen to the experts on it," he said. "I haven't made a final decision about it, but that's something that we clearly need to look at. Regardless of how you feel about the various aspects of immigration reform, I don't think anybody thinks that's something they're comfortable with."
The Hill also notes that during an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation," Kyl also expressed discomfort with the provision, saying "we should hold hearings and hear first from the constitutional experts to at least tell us what the state of the law on that proposition is."
In an ACS Issue Brief, "Birthright Citizenship: A Constitutional Guarantee," Wydra wrote:
A close study of the text of the Citizenship Clause and Reconstruction history demonstrates that the Citizenship Clause provokes birthright citizenship to all those born on U.S. soil, regardless of the immigration status of their parents. Perhaps more importantly, the principles motivating the Framers of the Reconstructions Amendments, of which the Citizenship Clause is a part, suggest that we amend the Constitution to reject automatic citizenship at the peril of our constitutional values. To revoke birthright citizenship based on the status and national origin of a child's ancestors goes against the purpose of the Citizenship Clause and the text and context of the Fourteenth Amendment.
See Wydra's entire ACS Issue Brief here (pdf).