Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), fresh off of a massive GOP victory earlier this month that is looking likely to make him a key pilot of the next Congress's immigration policy as likely chairman of a House subcommittee on immigration, recently explained how he plans to take on his bête noire, birthright citizenship.
Here's what King told the Des Moines Cityview about his plans to repeal a clause in the 14th Amendment that overturned the landmark Dred Scott case and promised American citizenship to freed slaves:
"The framers did not consider the babies of illegals when they framed the 14th amendment because we didn't have immigration law at the time so they could not have wanted to confer automatic citizenship on the babies of people who were unlawfully in the United States," King said.
King wants Congress to pass a ban on "anchor babies," place it in statute, and wait for the other side to challenge the prohibition in the courts. If King and his forces lose, they'll move for a constitutional amendment to change the practice, he said.
Such plans signify a willingness to embark on the incredibly onerous task of amending the Constitution, a process that would require ratification by two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of state legislatures.
But according to the Cityview, King believes that the issue warrants such an effort. King says that the framers of the amendment intended to include exceptions in the its wording, "including [of] certain Indian tribes and babies born to ambassadors or visitors." That's why they included the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," said King, who recently appeared to argue that undocumented immigrants were simply not subject to U.S. law.
King won't be alone in the venture, as some have predicted that the Republican-controlled Congress -- which has representatives on both sides of the debate -- will attempt to tackle the contentious issue as soon as it convenes in January.
Senate GOPers have been also been outspoken about opening the 14th Amendment to review. Senators Kyl (Ariz.), Graham (S.C), Coburn (Okla.), Grassley (Iowa) and McConnell (Ky.), among the most powerful Republicans in the chamber, have all come out against birthright citizenship.
On the state level, legislators in at least 13 states have begun drafting legislation that would seek to remove birthright citizenship guarantees from their specific laws.