Wed., January 5, 2011 3:40pm (EST)

Lawmakers Seek Citizenship Limits
By Edgar Treiguts
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
A group of lawmakers from more than a dozen states wants to deny automatic U.S. citizenship to babies born of illegal immigrant parents. (photo courtesy Bryan Frank)
A group of lawmakers from more than a dozen states wants to deny automatic U.S. citizenship to babies born of illegal immigrant parents. (photo courtesy Bryan Frank)
A measure to deny birthright U.S. citizenship for children of illegal immigrants was introduced in Washington Wednesday. The push is being made by a group of state lawmakers from across the country, including Georgia.

At issue is interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which automatically grants citizenship to babies born in the U.S. A group of lawmakers says it wants to stop children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens. To do so, it wants to force the issue through the courts by passing state laws.

Azadeh Shahshahani with the Georgia’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that’s a tall order:

“The legislation is not likely to withstand legal challenge, because the Constitution can only be changed by amendment—not by state or federal statutes.”

Georgia state senator Jack Murphy was one of the lawmakers in Washington. The Cumming Republican co-chairs a state committee looking at illegal immigration, and says loopholes need to be closed:

“To be honest with you, I think there probably be something introduced. I can say it’s probably not going to be introduced by me, but I think there will be probably something introduced in Georgia in the future.”

Murphy says he’ll be busy handling other pre-filed anti immigration measures, like blocking illegal immigrants from attending state colleges and universities.

Murphy and his fellow state lawmakers open the 2011 General Assembly session on Monday.