State Lawmakers Challenge Automatic Citizenship

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Lawmakers in 14 states are working on a bill to deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

Currently, the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. However, Sen. Russell Pearce -- the state senator who wrote Arizona's tough immigration law -- argues the amendment doesn't apply to children of illegal immigrants.

"This is a battle of epic proportions," Pearce said. "We've allowed the hijacking of the 14th Amendment."

He added that along with Arizona, lawmakers in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah are all working on legislation to challenge automatic U.S. citizenship.

Pearce sponsored Arizona's law which targets illegal immigrants by allowing authorities, who are enforcing other laws, to question someone's immigration status.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira, an advocate for immigrants, said Pearce's "interpretation is being used to qualify his argument to legitimize bullying babies."

Before lawmakers can make any changes to the U.S. Constitution, there must be approval by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress. Then, the new amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures.

One more avenue for changing the Constitution, which has never been used before, is for two-thirds of state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention. That also requires ratification by three-fourths of the states.

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