The Upshot

Ex-Bush official to GOP: Don’t touch 14th Amendment

Liz Goodwin
The Upshot

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has come out against Republican proposals to amend the 14th Amendment, writing in the Washington Post that ending "birthright" citizenship will not discourage people from entering the country illegally.

"Because most undocumented workers come here to provide for themselves and their families, a constitutional amendment will not solve our immigration crisis," writes Gonzales, who served under George W. Bush. "People will certainly continue to cross our borders to find a better life, irrespective of the possibilities of U.S. citizenship."

He endorsed immigration reform that would include a temporary-worker program and harsher penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants but did not mention a path to citizenship for the millions of people already living in the country who entered illegally. This provision was in a Bush-led effort at immigration reform that passed the Senate in 2006 but eventually failed.

Gonzalez joins a number of other former Bush advisers in denouncing the proposal to repeal the 14th Amendment's birthright citizenship provisions that South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham floated earlier this month. Anti-illegal-immigration groups argue that people enter the United States illegally specifically to have children, so that they, too, may eventually qualify for citizenship.

Several former Bush aides and top appointees have also urged moderation in the GOP's response to the proposed mosque near Ground Zero.

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