According to a Reuters article, several other states besides Indiana have been affected by Arizona’s immigration law. Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee are among the states. At least 14 states are combining forces to create new legislation to challenge part of the 14th Amendment. Their aim is to strip automatic U.S. citizenship for children born to illegal immigrant parents. States that pass this legislation may face many costly legal challenges. After Arizona’s controversial law, the state faced seven lawsuits, which required millions of dollars to fund the legal defense.
Civil rights groups have spoken out and said that this legislative force is motivated by racism against Latino immigrants. They also noted that Supreme Court precedents have supported the notion that the 14th Amendment applies to all children born in the United States, regardless of whether their parents were in the country legally. One such case in 1898 resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that children born to Chinese migrants were U.S. citizens since they were born on US soil. As Walter Dellinger, who was assistant attorney general in President Bill Clinton’s administration, said about the challenge to the 14th Amendment, “This matter has been raised in every instance in a racial context. That’s why we wanted a simple rule: Every new girl or boy born in this country is simply, indisputably, an American.”
President Obama had previously promised tightened border security as well as methods for legalization of illegal immigrants, but had not gotten very far. Now that the House of Representatives is dominated by Republicans, analysts predict that there will be a focus on cracking down on illegal immigration. Currently, the immigration overhaul effort seems to have died, but President Obama says that he still has hope for citizenship for some illegal aliens in the future. The Obama administration states that their goal is to reduce the demand for illegal labor. This will hopefully minimize the influx of illegal immigrants looking for jobs here and consequently shrink the number of illegal immigrants in the country.
In the next year, we will see how the Obama administration deals with illegal immigration. How will the Republican majority of the House react to the illegal immigration legislation? Will the challenge to the 14th Amendment pass? Will Obama really advocate citizenship for some illegal immigrants as an incumbent probably looking towards reelection in 2012, and will he succeed if he does?