A bipartisan reading of the Constitution on the House floor on Thursday made a number of lawmakers reflect on their own hopes for the future of the new Congress. Congressman Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, spoke to reporters about the reading and what he hopes will come out of the re-examination of the 14th amendment.
“I felt really good about it, and I think all the members enjoyed doing it. And I tip my hat to all the patriots and grass roots organizations and the tea party who asked if members know the Constitution. Well, clearly we do,” said Mr. Gingrey. “Have we committed every article and every section and every amendment to memory no. But we know the gist and we know how quickly to go to the Constitution and the interpretation of it. But I thoroughly enjoyed the reading of it this is like a second reading of the Bible.”
When asked which part of the Constitution Rep. Gingrey would have liked to have read, he responded: “I would have very much would have liked to have read the 14th amendment because I think we have misinterpreted it so badly in regard to birthright citizenship for babies and I would have liked to have read section 5 of the 14th amendment that gives us, Congress, the right to make changes in regard to that. And I hope, as we go forward, we will have hearings on that.”
The proposed Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009 (H.R. 1868) “Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to consider a person born in the United States “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States for citizenship at birth purposes if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: (1) a U.S. citizen or national; (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States; or (3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.”
As of May of 2009 the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. Congressman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, now resides as the Chairman of this sub-committee and was previously quoted in the Politico as saying:
“Sen. Lindsey Graham is going in the right direction, and I would be happy to work with him to bring forward legislation on this issue. Fortunately, it wouldn’t take as much as a constitutional amendment - we can fix it with congressional action.
The granting of automatic citizenship comes from a misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. It was drafted after the Civil War to guarantee that the recently freed slaves gained full citizenship rights. When it was enacted in 1868, there were no illegal immigrants in the United States because there were no immigration laws until 1875. So drafters of the Amendment could not have intended to benefit those in our country illegally.”