Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Arizona Bill Would Create Second-Class Citizenship for US-Born Children of Undocumented Immigrants

Arizona Bill Would Create Second-Class Citizenship for US-Born Children of Undocumented Immigrants AlterNet

A baby born in Arizona to two undocumented parents would have a birth certificate that indicates he is not a U.S. citizen under new legislation introduced in Arizona’s State Capitol on Thursday.

The bills (identical in House and Senate versions, HB 2561/SB 1308 and HB 2562/SB1309) will certainly be challenged in federal court and are already steering a polarizing debate in a state known across the nation as a laboratory for anti-illegal-immigrant policies.

Bills HB 2561/SB 1308 would only affect children born after its enactment. They would define what it means to be a U.S. citizen under Arizona law by requiring that at least one parent be an American citizen or legal permanent U.S. resident and is "subject to the jurisdiction" of the U.S. law.

That choice of words is significant. "Subject to the jurisdiction" echoes the language of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that proponents of the Arizona legislation and similar bills in other states hope to challenge. The historic interpretation of that phrasing is that babies born on U.S. soil are eligible for citizenship.

But the authors of the Arizona bills contend that undocumented immigrants are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of this country, so their children cannot automatically become citizens.

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