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Alberto Gonzales: Changing the 14th Amendment won't solve our immigration crisis


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Washington Post:

Alberto R. Gonzales
August 22, 2010

Like most Americans, I am a descendant of immigrants and a grateful beneficiary of the opportunities available to our nation's citizens. My grandparents emigrated from Mexico in the early 20th century seeking a better life, and they found it working in the fields and dairy farms of Texas. Diversity is one of the great strengths of the United States -- diversity fueled by the migration of ethnicities, cultures and ideas.

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Most recently, some politicians and concerned citizens have expressed a desire to amend the 14th Amendment of our Constitution, which says in Section 1, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Proponents want to discourage undocumented mothers from crossing our borders to give birth to children derogatorily referred to as "anchor babies," who by law are American citizens. Such a change is difficult to carry out, as it should be, requiring a new amendment ratified by three-quarters of the states.

I do not support such an amendment. Based on principles from my tenure as a judge, I think constitutional amendments should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances that we cannot address effectively through legislation or regulation. Because most undocumented workers come here to provide for themselves and their families, a constitutional amendment will not solve our immigration crisis. People will certainly continue to cross our borders to find a better life, irrespective of the possibilities of U.S. citizenship.

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