The growing chorus of Senate Republicans urging repeal of the 14th Amendment as a means of denying citizenship to the children of immigrants received a rebuke Tuesday from, of all people, notorious immigration foe Lou Dobbs.
"The idea that anchor babies somehow require changing the 14th Amendment, I part ways with the Senators on that because I believe the 14th Amendment, particularly in its due process and equal protection clauses, is so important," Dobbs said. "It lays the foundation for the entire Bill of Rights being applied to the states."
That even Dobbs opposes the GOP push to repeal the 14th Amendment is a measure of just how radical the effort is. Some Republicans who signaled their support for the move as recently as Monday, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have already backtracked from their earlier support for broad review of the law.
The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee wasn't one of them. "The Constitution is not as clear as it first appears," Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.) told reporters Tuesday. "I continue to hear good Americans explain to me they think it makes no sense."
Sessions said "we definitely should look at" repealing birthright citizenship, and "I think hearings is a good way to do it."
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday of Republicans urging repeal, "They've either taken leave of their senses or their principles." At a press conference, Reid quoted at length from a Washington Post column by Michael Gerson, including the following passage:
The authors of the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed citizenship to all people "born or naturalized in the United States" for a reason. They wished to directly repudiate the Dred Scott decision, which said that citizenship could be granted or denied by political caprice.
They purposely chose an objective standard of citizenship -- birth -- that was not subject to politics. Reconstruction leaders established a firm, sound principle: To be an American citizen, you don't have to please a majority, you just have to be born here.