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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Arizona Legislators|File ‘Birther’ Laws

PHOENIX (CN) - Republican lawmakers have filed three bills that seek to make President Barack Obama prove his U.S. nationality, to change the 14th Amendment, and to restrict the citizenship rights of children born in the States.

House Bill 2544 would stop Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett from placing a presidential candidate's name on a ballot unless an "original long-form birth certificate" has been submitted with the "date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician and signatures of the witnesses in attendance."

HB 2544 also requires a candidate to submit sworn statements of where he or she has lived for the past 14 years, that the candidate does not hold dual or multiple citizenship and that the person's allegiance "is solely to the United States of America."

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Judy Burges, has the support of 25 Republican members of the Arizona House, and 16 Republican members of the state Senate. No Democrats have said the support the bill.

State Legislators for Legal Immigration, a 40-state coalition founded by Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, wrote the Arizona bill.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's birth in that state, but so-called "birthers" claim Obama was born in Kenya.

Senate Bill 1309, sponsored by state Sen. Ron Gould, states that to get "Arizona citizenship," a baby must be "a child of at least one parent who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty, or a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country."

Senate Bill 1308, also sponsored by Gould, seeks to add a distinction on "birth certificates, certifications of live birth or other birth records ... between a person born in the party state who is born subject to the jurisdiction of the United State and a person who is not born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States."

The ACLU opposes Gould's bills.

"Throughout our history, people have rejected extending citizenship to Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans, but these objections were soundly rejected," ACLU of Arizona Executive Director Alessandra Soler Meetze said in a statement. "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 rewrite the U.S. Constitution that U.S. citizenship should be above politics."

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about 340,000 children were born to undocumented immigrants in the United States during 2008.

"This divisive legislation is appalling and shameful," said Border Action Network executive director Jennifer Allen. "Our Legislature already dragged our state's name through the mud with SB 1070 and by driving our economy and services into the ground."

Arizona SB 1070 aka the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, is the law that generated national and international headlines, by making it a crime for a noncitizen to be without specified ID, and forcing state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws, among other things.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law on April 23, 2010, but federal judge enjoined enforcement of many of its provisions. The U.S. Department of Justice was one of several plaintiffs who sued Arizona, asking that enforcement of the law be enjoined.

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