Arizona bill would strip citizenship from babies born to non-citizens

As Arizona lawmakers yesterday introduced a bill to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to non-citizen parents, it is interesting to note what other states and cities and counties have spent defending similarly unconstitutional laws.

From an article posted today at Media Consortium, a few examples of tax dollars being used to defend state and local immigration laws:

Hazleton, Pennsylvania, the leader of the court fights for local immigration enforcement, is in the tank for at least $2.8 million with some estimates totaling $5 million as it defends its ordinance all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Riverside, New Jersey suffered a local economic downturn before the city rescinded its anti-immigrant ordinance and welcomed the return of immigrants.

Farmers Branch, Texas, has spent nearly $4 million in legal fees and is expected to spend at least $5 million to defend its anti-immigration statute with no end in sight.

Prince William County, Virginia dramatically scaled back a tough immigration statute after realizing the original version would cost millions to enforce and defend in court.

Fremont, Nebraska, increased the city’s property tax to help pay the legal fees for its anti-immigration ordinance which it intends to defend.

That information and more can be found in a recently released study by The Center for American Progress.

Likely economic fallout hasn’t stopped Colorado legislators from introducing a bill that mimics Arizona’s 1070, nor from introducing one targeting immigrants who need bonds, nor from introducing one requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. Colorado legislators have not yet introduced a bill to sidestep the 14th Amendment.

More from the Media Consortium article:

Arizona lawmakers are expected to introduce an “anchor baby” bill today that would deny birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Modeled after birthright citizenship legislation unveiled by the nativist coalition State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) earlier this month, the measure is, unabashedly, part of a larger effort on the part of SLLI to challenge existing citizenship law in the United States.

Lawmakers from Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina have likewise committed to introducing citizenship bills at the state level, while legislators from Nebraska, Indiana, Colorado, Texas and others are determined to implement similarly controversial Arizona-style enforcement measures in their states.

In recent years, communities that implemented harsh anti-immigrant laws have experienced a number of economic and social repercussions which lawmakers continue to overlook in their determination to tighten enforcement. But as nativist policies bleed public coffers and anti-immigrant political speech incites new strains of ethnic violence, the stark consequences of such extremism are becoming harder and harder to ignore.

If the 14th Amendment was appealed, stripping automatic citizenship from babies born in the U.S, women checking in to hospitals presumably would need to carry proof of citizenship, making that final last minute packing for the hospital just a little more problematic for citizens and non-citizens alike.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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