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A coalition of state legislators from 40 states unveiled a plan this morning to end the practice of giving automatic citizenship to all children born in the United States. Led by Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the group timed their press conference with the swearing in ceremony of the 112th Congress, hoping to send a message that Congress needs to actively address illegal immigration.

The United States and Canada are the only two developed nations, as determined by the World Bank, to still grant automatic citizenship to all children born in the country.

“According to the 14th Amendment, the primary requirements for U.S. citizenship are dependent on total allegiance to America, not mere physical geography,” said Metcalfe. “The purpose of this model legislation is to restore the original intent of the 14th Amendment, which is currently being misapplied and is encouraging illegal aliens to cross and cost American taxpayers $113 billion annually, or nearly $1,117 yearly per individual taxpayer.”

The group of legislators have formed an alliance called the State Legislators for Legal Immigration. The coalition's goal is to provide a way for local, state, and federal officials to work together to end practices that entice illegal immigration that ultimately puts a strain on social services. The group chose ending Birthright Citizenship as its key issue because the practice provides a sure-fire way for illegal aliens to gain residency in the United States.

According to the coalition's press release from earlier today...

During an 1866 Congressional debate, U.S. Representative John Bingham of Ohio, considered one of the fathers of the 14th Amendment, said “...every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen...”

“I’ve long considered birthright citizenship to be the holy grail of the illegal immigration debate,” said Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill. “It has created a perverse incentive for foreign nationals to break U.S. law and proven to be a policy disaster for our Republic.”

Arizona has become ground-zero for the state-level effort to combat illegal immigration. State Senator Russell Pearce drafted the immigration enforcement bill enacted in 2010 and also plans to offer a Birthright Citizenship bill in Arizona this year. He wasn't able to make this morning's press conference, but issued the following statement.

“The law is clear, the history is clear, the 14th Amendment is clear; natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens, for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country."

For more information, see the coalition's website.

Birthright Citizenship
state policies
SB1070

Updated: Wed, Jan 5th 2011 @ 1:27pm EST