AP101019018304State lawmakers from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina announced today their plan to pass laws to deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in their states.
The legislators introduced two model bills as part of the new coordinated effort. One measure (pdf) says a person cannot be a citizen of the state unless he or she has at least one parent in the country legally; the other asks other states and Congress to agree to that definition of U.S. citizenship, the National Journal reports.
The second bill, called a compact, would not take effect unless Congress passes it, which seems unlikely right now.
But if Congress were to pass the states' compacts, U.S. citizenship could be defined differently in different states. "State citizenship" laws would likely have no effect on people, since the question of defining U.S. citizenship is up to the federal government, not the states.
If it seems confusing, that's because the lawmakers admit they are mainly using the proposed bills as a kind of leverage -- hoping to provoke lawsuits so that the Supreme Court will be forced to hear their arguments that citizenship should be defined more narrowly. Specifically, the lawmakers say they're looking to get the Supreme Court to review the issue of whether the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to all children born on U.S. soil. (You can read more about that debate here.)
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