Thursday, December 16, 2010
Fresh off of passing a law to combat illegal immigration that was so controversial the federal government sued to block it, Arizona’s Republican-controlled Legislature is poised to push the limits of immigration policy yet again, this time by challenging the basic rules that decide who is an American.
The effort in Arizona, spearheaded by longtime anti-illegal immigration crusader and incoming state Senate President Russell Pearce, is remarkable for two reasons. First, it moves the focus of the immigration debate from those who are in the country illegally to their children, who currently become American citizens if they are born in the United States. Second, Arizona will not be alone in questioning the principle of “birthright citizenship,” because lawmakers in at least a dozen more states also have agreed to push similar legislation.