Laura Ingraham's latest anti-immigration proposal would require changing a key provision of the U.S. Constitution.
The conservative radio host on Monday assailed the Republican Party for not doing enough to end birthright citizenship, whereby any child born in the U.S. is automatically an American citizen, regardless of his or her parents' citizenship status. Birthright citizenship stems from the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause, which confers citizenship on "[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof."
Responding to former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, who declared on his MSNBC program that "we’re not going to go to [unauthorized immigrants'] doors and kick them down and drag them back to Mexico and China," Ingraham embarked on a rant against what she depicted as a weak-kneed GOP.
"Oh God, my heart is sick of hearing that," she said of Scarborough's comments. "We could do a lot to enforce our immigration laws. We could say you can’t — like Oregon did — you can’t get driver’s licenses. We could say that you can’t get welfare and actually enforce it. We could move to end birthright citizenship in the United States, which is opening the door to all sorts of fraud and gaming the system."
Ingraham asserted that birthright citizenship encourages migrants to come to the U.S. "just to give birth"; many conservatives have echoed that claim, employing the pejorative "anchor babies" to refer to the children of non-citizens.
"Where are the Republicans talking about this birthright citizenship thing, by the way?" Ingraham asked. "They don’t even talk about it, when we have all these people from other countries coming here just to give birth."
Ending birthright citizenship would upend nearly a century and a half of constitutional precedent. As the American Constitution Society points out, supporters and opponents of the citizenship clause all agreed that it would grant citizenship even to the U.S.-born children of non-citizens, although conservative commentators like George Will have attempted to rewrite history, arguing that the Reconstruction-era framers of the 14th Amendment never intended such a thing.
Listen to Ingraham's segment below, courtesy of Media Matters: