Amended citizenship requirement bill introduced in US House

Amended citizenship requirement bill introduced in US House

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[JURIST] US Rep. Steve King (R-IA) [official website] on Wednesday introduced legislation [HR 104 materials] designed to restrict the automatic grant of citizenship to children born on US soil. The bill, designated the “Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011,” seeks to deter illegal immigration [JURIST news archive] by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [text] to limit citizenship only to those children with at least one parent that is a citizen, legal resident or an alien member of the US military. King stated [press release] that the bill is necessary to reduce the financial incentives for illegal immigration and curtail the ‘birth tourism’ industry. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] described [press release] the measure as an attempt to undermine the 14th Amendment [text] of the US Constitution, which states that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States.” The bill currently bears 26 co-sponsorships, though further action has not yet been scheduled.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official profiles] in October introduced [JURIST report] the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010, which incorporates several previously proposed bills. Absent comprehensive reform at the federal level, illegal immigration continues to be a concern for local governments as well. In September, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that two ordinances passed by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to live or work in the town are unconstitutional. Earlier that month, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] granted a motion to dismiss a police officer’s suit [JURIST reports] challenging Arizona’s controversial immigration law [JURIST news archive]. In August, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official website] filed the state’s opening brief [text, PDF; JURIST report] in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], asking the court to lift the preliminary injunction preventing the law from taking full effect. Also in August, a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that the Nebraska Supreme Court should be the first forum to address a Fremont, Nebraska ordinance that bans the hiring, harboring or renting of property to illegal immigrants.