Kobach working on “birthright citizenship” issue
Kris Kobach, the Republican candidate for Kansas secretary of state who helped Arizona legislators approve a controversial immigration law, said Wednesday he is working with those legislators on a proposal aimed at denying automatic citizenship to children born in the country to parents who are illegal immigrants. Kobach said he has worked on the so-called "birthright citizenship" issue over the past month with Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican.
Under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, children born in the U.S. are guaranteed citizenship.
But Kobach said the 14th Amendment, written following the Civil War, was directed at guaranteeing citizenship to freed slaves.
Kobach said he, Pearce and others are exploring ways that states could change that law without amending the Constitution. Kobach is an attorney and former law professor.
Supporters of changing "birthright citizenship" say it would stop immigrants from coming to the U.S. illegally to have children who would be automatically U.S. citizens.
Kobach helped write S.B. 1070, which has been challenged in federal court. He has also been the attorney representing several cities in efforts to pass local ordinances against illegal immigration, which have also been challenged.
Kobach's comments about the birthright citizenship issue came in response to questions at a news conference where he announced that if elected secretary of state he would use the office to increase civic education. He said he plans to do this by enhancing the secretary of state's website to include teaching tools on the U.S. Constitution, traveling the state to speak about the Constitution, and holding an annual youth summit where students could observe and interact with members of the Legislature.
He also said he would make secretary of state's website a one-stop service for people to report allegations of voter fraud. He also wants to expand the office's role in prosecuting voter fraud.
Kobach's opponent, Democratic Secretary of State Chris Biggs issued a statement, saying, "The real fraud is the continued and dishonest insistence that Kansas elections aren’t secure. Our election process is fair and secure, and every eligible citizen who has the right to vote is able to do so. There is no need to radically reinvent the role of the Secretary of State; this office must remain free of partisanship and focused on real issues that affect Kansans."
By Scott Rothschild