On Sunday, Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) became the highest-ranking Republican to suggest support for the repeal of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, Kyl said that he opposes allowing children of undocumented immigrants to be granted U.S. citizenship and wants Congress to hold hearings on the matter.
In doing so, the Senate's no. 2 Republican didn't place himself on the extreme wing of his party's stance on immigration policy. Rather, he joined what is a growing movement that could very well shape the official policy planks of the GOP.
(A Kyl spokesperson told CBS News on Monday that he supports hearings into the issue, "he did not call for the 'repeal' of the 14th Amendment.")
There are already a number of Republican officials who have preceded Kyl in calling for a reworking of the country's citizenship laws. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has proposed the piece of legislation that would repeal the 14th Amendment.
An aide to Graham said that there had been no formal dates set for hearings or the bill's introduction. "Senator Graham threw this out there on Fox News and it is something that he has been talking about in South Carolina as well," the aide said. But there was growing talk and legislative activity around the concept.
In the House, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) has introduced the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009, which would attempt to deny children of illegal immigrants U.S. citizenship through statute rather than a constitutional amendment (thereby lowering the vote threshold). He has 93 co-sponsors for that effort including Rep. Nathan Deal, the Georgia Republican who is in a runoff to be the party's candidate for governor.
Senate candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) caused a stir shortly after winning his primary by saying he supported stripping citizenship from children of the undocumented. Former congressman and potential Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo -- one of the staunchest anti-illegal immigration voices in national politics -- has made repeal of the 14th Amendment a major cause.
This is so terrible. If this passes, then I guess we have to wait for the repeal of the repeal. If not, I'd love to sit in on a high school social studies class years from now:
"And then, in 2012, Congress passed the 30th Amendment, which repealed the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act and reinstated Chester A. Arthur's Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882..."
When a student timidly asks about the civil rights movement they learned about the day before, I imagine the teacher giving a slight chuckle, and maybe gives the student a wistful pat on the shoulder.