Arizona legislature introduces bills challenging birthright citizenship

[JURIST] The Arizona House of Representatives [official website] and Senate [official website] on Thursday introduced bills challenging the right to US citizenship for the children of legal and illegal immigrants born in the state. The proposed legislation, House Bill 2562 [text, PDF] and Senate Bill 1308 [text, PDF], are proposals to amend Title 36, Chapter 3 of the Arizona Revised Statutes [materials]. The Arizona legislature, in introducing these bills, seeks a legal review [Reuters report] of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] of the US Constitution, which grants citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." The bills aim to guarantee citizenship only to children born of at least one parent who is a legal citizen, legal immigrant, active member of the Armed Forces or a naturalized legal citizen, and would seek Congressional permission to issue two separate type of birth certificates, based on whether the child meets the new citizenship requirements or not. Opponents to the bill argue that creating two separate and distinct birth certificates will create classes of people [Arizona Republic report], and brings to mind the policy of "separate but equal." Legislators are likely to vote on the bills in the next few weeks.

In the past year, Arizona has found itself at the center of the immigration debate in the United States. In October, a judge for the US District Court in the District of Arizona denied [order, PDF; JURIST report] motions to dismiss a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the controversial Arizona immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive]. Portions of SB 1070 were preliminarily enjoined [JURIST report] in July 2010, at the request of the US Department of Justice, which filed its suit challenging the constitutionality of the law [JURIST report] earlier that month.

 

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