|Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has been arguing that no Hispanic in his right mind would vote for Republicans fed up with illegal immigration. Stirring the pot in the illegal-immigration debate isn’t working out so well for him. All week he’s been buried in the backlash of conservative Latinos.
The senator thought he could gain support from Hispanics by attacking some Republicans’ call to review the current interpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, Mr. Reid attacked Republicans saying, “They’ve either taken leave of their senses or their principles.”
The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to any person born in the United States. It also grants citizenship to babies born on American soil to illegal immigrants. The babies are commonly known as “anchor babies” because their citizenship status makes it easier for their undocumented relatives to achieve legal immigration status by family-reunification measures found in the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. A new study published by thePew Hispanic Center reports that one in 13 babies born in the United States has illegal immigrant parents.
Regardless of whether changing citizenship standards is good public policy, it is Mr. Reid who has taken leave of his senses. The position for which he attacks some Republicans happens to be the very position he held until recently.
Indeed, Mr. Reid has done a complete turnaround on the issue. In 1993, he proposed an immigration bill known as the Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993 (S. 1351). The legislation never became law and only made it as far as the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration and refugee affairs. However, the bill Mr. Reid wrote was tough, even by the standards of the most conservative border-state representatives.
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