Arizona lawmakers pushing to change 14th AmendmentPosted: Updated:
It's in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution-- if you're born in this country, you're a citizen of this country.
But lawmakers in Arizona and 13 other states want that changed, so babies of illegal immigrants are no longer automatically granted citizenship.
It's being called a constitutional crisis.
"We're stepping up to the plate to fill this policy void left by the federal government," said State Rep. Randy Terrill of Oklahoma.
Just five days before Arizona's legislative session begins, State Senator Ron Gould and State Representative John Kavanaugh were among a group of state legislators in Washington Wednesday to unveil a proposal. One that would ban citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants.
"Its racism," said Kat Rodriguez of Derechos Humanos.
It's a movement that started in Arizona, the brain child of state senator Russell Pearce, but it's spread to 13 other states including Texas and Oklahoma.
"The attacks are specifically on people of color, specifically Mexicans living in the United States," said Rodriguez.
"This is not a matter of Republican and Democrat, left or right, It's a matter of right or wrong," said Terrill.
And folks at Derechos Humanos say it's just plain wrong.
"You're talking about wasting a lot of time and a lot of money when most Americans would prefer our legislators focus on things like the economy," said Rodriquez.
Turns out Rodriguez may be right.
A Pew survey done last summer shows Americans oppose ending birthright citizenship by a 56% to 41% margin.
Still state lawmakers argue fixing the 14th Amendment will help fix the immigration problem.
"The reason why they come is because of the prospect if for citizenship for children and they can bootstrap that to the prospect of citizenship for themselves," said Terrill.
"You want to punish infants? New borns," said Rodriquez. "Does that even make sense?"
If lawmakers get their way, babies born to illegal immigrants in hospitals across the state, will no longer be able to claim U.S. citizenship.
It's a problem that promises to be resolved miles away in the U.S. Supreme Court.