How the 14th Amendment Undermines Citizenship

Question: Why should we revisit the 14th Amendment?

Lindsey Graham: In 1866, they never envisioned the world in which we live in today, where we have a flood of illegal immigrants coming, mainly from our southern border.

The 14th Amendment has been interpreted three times by our Supreme Court to say that if you were born in the United States, even if you were here in illegal status or your parents were here in illegal status, you’re automatically entitled to citizenship.  There are a lot of people who come to this country for the very purpose of having a child.  Some break our law by coming across the border in our border states, to go to American hospitals to have a child, so that child will become a citizen, having an anchor to the country.  There are other people, rich people mainly, from the Mideast and Asia, who come to America on tourist visas for the purpose of having a child in an American resort with a hospital to gain citizenship.  I think those two ways of conferring citizenship really undermine the value of citizenship. 

So I think that’s not an unreasonable request in a prospective fashion, to change the 14th amendment by allowing the Congress to set rules on citizenship.

And what I would say is if you’re a student studying here and you have a child, they’re automatically a citizen.  If you’re a temporary worker and you have a child, you’re automatically a citizen.  In other words, if you’re adding value to our country, if you have a good connection with America, then your child will be conferred citizenship.  You would not be given citizenship under my proposal if you’re just visiting the country as a tourist, and you would not be given citizenship if you broke our law and had a child here in illegal status.  To me, that makes sense.  And I think that’s a logical way to move forward.

The American people are looking for solutions to prevent the third wave of illegal immigration.  Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million, now we have 12.  What I have to do to sell this in South Carolina is to prove to the people in my state we’re not going to have a third wave of illegal immigration 20 years from now. That’s why we need to look at the 14th amendment.

Question: Are you open to reconsidering other parts of the Constitution?

Lindsey Graham:  I’m always open to making sure the Constitution makes sense in the time we live.  I’d like to add the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  I’m convinced that Republicans and Democrats are not going to do the hard things to balance our budget, saying no to different groups unless a Constitutional requirement to balance the budget, like most states have.  So yes, I think the constitution is a sacred document in many ways, but it’s a governing document. 

Recorded December 1, 2010
Interviewed by Alicia Menendez

The Constitutional amendment was created in 1866 with the intention of combating racism—but now it only encourages illegal immigration.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

This 1997 Jeff Bezos interview proves he saw the future coming

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less