Rep. Gutierrez: A 'Fundamental Contradiction' For Pro-Lifers Who Back Changing 'Birthright Citizenship'
August 4, 2010 - 11:05 AMRep. Luis Gutierrez says there "seems to be a fundamental contradiction" between being "pro-life" and favoring the denial of citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born on U.S. soil.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Gutierrez was asked about an idea recently floated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to introduce an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would change the rules for citizenship as defined in the 14th Amendment.
Graham told Fox News last week, “I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules. If you have a child here, birth-right citizenship I think is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution, and say, if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child is automatically not a citizen.”
“They come here to drop a child -- it's called 'drop and leave,'" said Graham. "... That attracts people here for all the wrong reasons.”
When asked about those remarks, Rep. Gutierrez said, “Number one, Lindsey Graham’s a smart man and he’s a great lawyer and he knows that it’s in our Constitution if you’re born in this country, so he knows better than to propose a law. He needs to change the Constitution of the United States of America.”
Gutierrez continued, “I always find it curious that those proponents that are pro-life, that are always for family values, would take a child in the womb of a mother and before that child, would say, ‘You must have that child. I will defend with every ounce of my political, and every ounce of my integrity, that child’s right to be born.’ And when the child is born, to deport that child.”
“Well, no, no, think about that just one moment,” said Gutierrez. “There seems to be a fundamental contradiction between being pro-life, pro-family and then – can there be anything more innocent than a child? And to say that that child will then suffer repercussions? It’s our constitutional way.”
He also said denying children of illegal immigrants born on U.S. soil birthright citizenship will not solve the immigration problem.
“Those children are born here as American citizens,” said Gutierrez. “And let me say, secondly, golly guys, does that solve the problem? I thought 1070 was about security. You’re telling me that babies are being born and they’re entering, they’re causing crime to increase, because that’s what I thought 1070 was all about, was securing our borders; was because there was a lack of safety and there was criminality increasing. What does a baby being born in America have to do with crime? I just don’t get it.”
The number 1070 is in reference to Arizona’s new law against illegal immigration, Senate Bill 1070.
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 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. 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."
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science, and Technology, also reacted to Graham’s idea.
“I think it’s un-American,” she said at the July 29 press conference to laughter.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently called for hearings on changing birthright citizenship rules in the United States.
Sen. Graham’s office declined to comment on this story.