ACLU of Arizona Responds to Anti-14th Amendment Proposal Introduced Today By Arizona Lawmakers

January 27, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

PHOENIX – Members of the Arizona House of Representatives today introduced two bills (HB 2561 and 2562) intended to deny Americans the fundamental protections of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The proposed bills would define state citizenship and mandate that Arizona join a "compact" with other states to deny standard birth certificates to many U.S. citizen babies born in the U.S. to immigrant parents. The proposed bills would also require all people in the U.S., whether citizens or not, to prove their status before they can receive a standard birth certificate for their baby. Currently, there is no such requirement.

The bills directly contradict the long-standing 14th Amendment guarantee that all people born in the U.S. and under its jurisdiction are citizens of the U.S. and the state in which they reside and equal under the law.

The following can be attributed to Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona:

"The politicians who are behind these proposals would rather judge newborns by who their ancestors are, rather than who they will grow up to be. And if they get their way, it would take us back more than 150 years, to a horrific time in our American history, when the Supreme Court (in its Dred Scott decision) ruled that people of African descent could never be American citizens. The 14th Amendment repudiated that horrible decision and was designed to ensure that all people born here are equal before the law."

"These attacks on the 14th Amendment that are being mounted today aren't new. Throughout our history, people have rejected extending citizenship to Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans, but these objections were soundly rejected. Today's targets for scapegoating are Latinos. We simply cannot allow that same discrimination to exist today, which is why we need to send a clear message to state politicians who want to re-write the U.S. Constitution that U.S. citizenship should be above politics."

The bills are available online at:
http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/50leg/1r/bills/hb...
http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/50leg/1r/bills/hb...

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