Laura Ingraham Advises GOP To Dismantle 14th Amendment's “Birthright Citizenship Nonsense”

Fox News and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham has repeatedly urged the Republican party to prioritize the elimination of birthright citizenship, a constitutionally-protected right that cannot be abridged without repealing parts of the 14th Amendment.

Ingraham Repeatedly Calls For GOP To End Birthright Citizenship

Ingraham's Citizenship Policy Proposal: “If Both Parents Aren't American Citizens,You Are Not Entitled To Automatic Citizenship In This Country.” During the November 19 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham asked GOP Chairman Reince Preibus why Republicans aren't “finally dealing” with “the anchor baby issue.” [Courtside Media Group, The Laura Ingraham Show11/19/14

Ingraham: Republicans' Number One Priority Should Be “Locking The Border Down And Ridding Us Of This Birthright Citizenship.” On the November 19 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham charged Republicans with the task of “ridding us of this birthright citizenship” in her continued crusade against immigrants. [Courtside Media Group, The Laura Ingraham Show11/19/14]

Ingraham: “We Could Do A Lot To Enforce Our Immigration Laws...We Could Move to End Birthright Citizenship.” During the November 17 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham recommended ending birthright citizenship, which she says leads to “fraud and gaming the system.” [Courtside Media Group, The Laura Ingraham Show11/17/14]

Birthright Citizenship Is A Constitutional Right: “Part Of Our Unique National Identity”

Former Texas Solicitor General James C. Ho: Birthright Citizenship Is Preserved In The 14th Amendment Of The U.S. Constitution, And Protected By Subsequent Supreme Court Rulings. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ho outlined the history of the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause, which originated after the Civil War as a means to “reverse the Supreme Court's notorious 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling denying citizenship to slaves”: 

Supreme Court precedent further reinforces this view of the 14th Amendment [that U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants are citizens]. In 1898, the court held that a U.S.-born child of Chinese immigrants was entitled to citizenship. In United States v. Wong Kim Ark, it held that the “14th Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory . . . including all children here born of resident aliens.”

The court reiterated this view in Plyler v. Doe (1982). The majority held -- and the dissent agreed -- that the 14th Amendment extends to anyone “who is subject to the laws of a state,” including the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens. Likewise, in INS v. Rios-Pineda (1985), the court again unanimously agreed that a child born to an undocumented immigrant was in fact a U.S. citizen. [Wall Street Journal1/5/11]

Former U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger: Birthright Citizenship Is “Part Of Our Unique National Identity,” “A Good Rule That Has Served Us Well For 200 Years.” Dellinger appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation and explained that “If you're born here, you're a citizen.” Dellinger noted that birthright citizenship was the rule commonly applied by the courts prior to Dred Scott, and was returned to and preserved in the U.S. Constitution with the ratification of the 14th Amendment. Dellinger also outlined the Supreme Court decision finding that birthright citizenship applies to undocumented aliens:

[NEAL] CONAN: [T]he 14th Amendment was passed and ratified shortly after the Civil War. What's the purpose of that first sentence which extends automatic citizenship to anybody born in the United States?

Mr. DELLINGER: Well, the function that that serves for our country is to make citizenship a very objective bright line fact. If you're born here, you're a citizen. That actually was the common law rule from the beginning of the American nation. And it was changed only once, and that -- in a monstrous decision with which most of your listeners will be familiar, in Dred Scott vs. Sandford, where the court held that no person of African descent, slave or free, could ever be a citizen of the United States nor could any of their descendants ever be a citizen.

And so Dred Scott in some ways helped bring on the Civil War, and in the aftermath of the Civil War it was thought important, and when the 14th Amendment was passed - it has many provisions in it, the due process clause, the equal protection clause. But the very first one is the opening sentence that you read at the top of the hour, all persons born in the United States are citizens thereof, and that was to make sure that for our country we had a simple objective fact that politicians could never change it, that that, you know, alone was enough.

CONAN: It did not deal with the issue of immigration. There was unrestricted immigration to the United States at that time. So by definition no illegal immigrants.

Mr. DELLINGER: That's correct. The Supreme Court did address this issue in 1898. However, because the horrendous Chinese Exclusion Act passed by Congress actually prohibiting any person of Chinese ancestry from being or remaining in the United States - but the question was, what about a child who was born here of Chinese parents who are themselves subject to being expelled, and the court said the answer is clear from the 14th Amendment: They are citizens, you know, at birth. [Talk of the Nation, NPR, 8/18/10]

UPenn Law Professor: Birthright Citizenship “Enacted A Prophylactic Rule Against The Majority's Ability To Deny Persons Born In The United States The Legal Status Of Citizenship Based On Prejudice.” In a 2009 law review article, University of Pennsylvania law professor Cristina M. Rodríguez wrote that the Citizenship Clause acts as a “prophylactic rule” to safeguard immigrants from discriminatory denial of citizenship and that it “stands for the principle that citizenship is not earned; it is indefeasible.” Rodríguez also argued that birthright citizenship  “is the broadest egalitarian construction we can give to the Clause.” [Journal of Constitutional Law, 07/09]

Constitutional Accountability Center's Elizabeth Wydra: Birthright Citizenship Is Based On “Objective Measure Of U.S. Birth Rather Than Subjective Political Or Public Opinion.” Constitutional Accountability Center's chief counsel Elizabeth Wydra debunked right-wing arguments about birthright citizenship, pointing out that “inalienable rights are not put to a vote,” and that birthright citizenship is not based on “subjective political or public opinion”:

[Supreme Court Justice Benjamin] Curtis noted that if the Constitution did not fix limitations of discretion, Congress could “select classes of persons within the several States” who could alone be entitled to the privileges of citizenship, and, in so doing, turn the democratic republic into an oligarchy.   


Current advocates of a “consent” model of citizenship -- in which the federal government could withdraw its consent to birthright citizenship for certain categories of persons -- overlook the motivating principles behind the Reconstruction Congress's desire to enact an objective rule and enshrine automatic citizenship by birth in the Constitution. The framers of the Fourteenth Amendment did not believe that it was a matter of “policy” to provide citizenship to persons born in the United States without regard to race or color, but rather a long overdue fulfillment of the promise of inalienable freedom and liberty in the Declaration of Independence. Inalienable rights are not put to a vote, and thus the Fourteenth Amendment “conferred no authority upon congress to restrict the effect of birth, declared by the constitution to constitute a sufficient and complete right to citizenship.” [Made In America: Myths & Facts About Birthright Citizenship09/09]

NALEO: Birthright Citizenship Is “A Pillar Of American Civil Rights.” The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) argues that birthright citizenship is a “pillar of American civil rights” and changing the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment would “impose significant financial and administrative burdens” on families and the government:

Changing the constitutional definition of citizenship would have dire consequences for all Americans. Since birth in the United States would no longer be enough to prove a child's citizenship, all people in the United States, whether citizens or not, would have to prove their status before they can receive a standard birth certificate for their baby. This process would impose significant costs on all levels of government at a time when we can least afford it. [The Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment,]

Ingraham's Recommendations Follow Claims That She Wields “Significant Influence” Over GOP Elections

Ingraham Brags About “Significant Influence” On Campaigns in GA and NH. On the November 3 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham touted her “significant” anti-immigration platform and influence as reasons why David Purdue (R-GA) and Scott Brown (R-MA) did well in their elections.  [Courtside Media Group, The Laura Ingraham Show11/3/14]

Ingraham Was A Prominent Voice In Right-Wing Media Campaign To Unseat Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Laura Ingraham devoted considerable air-time to celebrate and stump for then-candidate, David Brat (R-VA) in his race against former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and took credit for Brat's victory over the former House Majority Leader. [Media Matters6/11/2014]