WASHINGTON – Revising the 14th Amendment to eliminate automatic citizenship for babies born in the United States, as proposed by some advisers to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, would hurt the nation’s economy as well as having very negative demographic and political consequences, a conservative think-tank says.
The National Foundation for American Policy published a study Monday on the immediate effects that eliminating birthright citizenship would have.
Some advisers to Romney, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, have already come out in support of altering the 14th Amendment.
One of the chief promoters of this change to the Constitution is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is considered the “godfather” of the harsh Arizona and Alabama immigration laws and who has endorsed Romney.
The most immediate result of eliminating birthright citizenship would be an increase in bureaucracy and the amount of money that many families would have to spend on lawyers, federal fees and examinations to prove they are in the country legally, the study’s author, lawyer Margaret Stock, said Monday in a conference call with journalists.
According to the study, the annulling of birthright citizenship would hike costs by between $600 and $1,600 for newborns, as well as causing enormous problems for Social Security and other federal programs.
Ending birthright citizenship would also drive more people into the shadow economy and narrow the tax base, Stock said.
The president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, Linda Chavez, said the measure would not only bring “devastating” economic consequences, but would also spark a vast change in the country’s demographic makeup and would have strong political consequences.
“Besides, it is a radical affront to our idea of a nation and could be a demographic disaster by making illegal millions of citizens who are real Americans,” Chavez said.
Stuart Anderson, executive director of the NFAP, told Efe that the study provides so much evidence of the negative effects of putting an end to birthright citizenship “that there’s no sense in defending that position either now or any time in the future.”
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that the United States would lose between 4.7 million and 13.5 million new citizens by the year 2050 if the children of undocumented immigrants are denied citizenship.
The study also warns that the chief reason that undocumented immigrants come to the United States is not to obtain citizenship, but to reunite the family or find work, so the immigrant population would in no way be reduced – the measure would simply expand the number of people in the country illegally. EFE