The Next Front on Immigration

Article excerpt

Byline: Eve Conant

Arizona's tough immigration law is just the beginning of the conservative battle to clamp down on illegal immigrants. A broader fight is coming--possibly even to change the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Lindsey Graham made headlines last week, telling Fox News he's considering a constitutional change to revise the right, enshrined in the 14th Amendment, that grants automatic citizenship to any child born in the United States. He would revoke this right for children of illegal immigrants. "It's called 'drop and leave,' " Graham said, and while he added that he wanted to be "humane," he also feared that in 20 years' time, 20 million more such children would be granted citizenship.

Graham wasn't the first to call for such a measure, but his voice could add credibility to what had been a fringe idea. The South Carolina senator has been a GOP moderate on immigration, willing to work with Democrats to provide a path to citizenship for millions of illegal U.S. residents. But now Graham is speaking the language of organizations like the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which argues against the rights of so-called anchor babies, saying they drain taxpayer dollars. In 2009, then-Georgia Rep. Nathan Deal introduced a bill that would grant citizenship to such infants only if one parent is already a citizen or a legal immigrant. The bill has 92 co-sponsors but has languished in the House. …