It’s time to close birthright citizenship loophole

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 15, 2011

America’s illegal immigration problem is out of control. To change this, we must better protect our borders, particularly the Mexican border, and ensure that only citizens and those in our country legally can be hired for jobs.

Another change we must make is to stop babies born in this country to two illegal immigrant parents from automatically becoming U.S. citizens as they do now; this happens more than 300,000 to 400,000 times in the U.S. every year. This is just flat wrong, and it serves as a magnet to attract more and more adults into our country illegally.

I recently introduced legislation so that a person born in the United States to illegal aliens does not automatically gain citizenship unless at least one parent is a legal citizen (including naturalized citizens), legal immigrant, or active member of the Armed Forces. Closing this loophole will not prevent anyone from becoming a citizen. What it will do is ensure that he or she has to go through the same process as anyone else born of foreign parents who wants to become an American citizen.

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I don’t believe that the 14th Amendment to our Constitution grants birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. In fact, all we have to do is use history as our guide. It reminds us that this amendment was specifically designed to address the horrible injustice of slavery — not to grant citizenship to children of people living in our country illegally.

Therefore, my goal is to make sure that our 14th Amendment is not stretched to allow a person born in the United States to illegal aliens to automatically gain citizenship. I want to bring the 14th Amendment back to what its drafters intended — nothing more and nothing less.

Please let me know about any issues of importance to you and your family by contacting me at any of my state offices or in my Washington office by mail at U.S. Senator David Vitter, U.S. Senate, 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, or by phone at 202-224-4623. You can also reach me on the web at

David Vitter is a U.S. Senator from Louisiana and the chairman of the U.S. Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Immigration Caucus.