Newly elected State Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-TN-75) has called on the Tennessee House of Representatives as its first action of the 2019 legislative session to pass a resolution supporting President’s Donald Trump’s efforts to end “birth right” citizenship.
Griffey urges Tennessee to lead the way in amending the U.S. Constitution, he said in a press release. His district covers Benton, Henry and Stewart counties.
On Oct. 30, President Trump announced his intention to issue an executive order to clarify that simply because a child happens to be born on U.S. soil does not necessarily mean that the child is a U.S. citizen solely by virtue of that location of birth. An entire cottage industry has sprung up to cater to foreigners who seek American citizenship for their soon-to-be-born offspring.
Griffey proposed that the resolution provide, in part, that: “Tennessee fully supports President Trump’s effort to end ‘birth right’ citizenship and stands ready to be the first state to ratify Constitutional amendment ending the practice if his executive order is not fully implemented and enforced.”
Griffey has been a staunch supporter of Trump, having campaigned for him during the 2016 primary, his press release said. His wife Rebecca served as part of the Tennessee Trump delegation to the 2016 Republican National Convention. Additionally, a major part of Griffey’s campaign platform this summer in his primary race against four-term incumbent Tim Wirgau was to eliminate benefits to illegals in Tennessee.
“One benefit currently enjoyed by illegals under present policy is the ability to produce on our soil children, who are automatically deemed U.S. citizens as a result of their parents’ criminal actions,” Griffey said. “It is analogous to the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ doctrine in the legal world. As a practicing lawyer for over 38 years, who has studied the Constitution, this is not a correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment.”
“The majority of Tennesseans spoke loud and clear during both the 2016 election and this month’s mid-term election that they support Trump and his policies,” Griffey said. “Our legislature should embrace the will and opinion of the majority of people in our great state and be a leader on the national stage in applauding and standing behind Trump’s efforts to correct a misinterpretation of our Constitution. Supporting our president and fighting against the receipt of benefits by illegals in Tennessee were two issues on which I campaigned and I fully intend to honor my campaign platform as should all individuals who run for public office.”
Prior to the House leadership elections on Nov. 20, Griffey had already approached State Rep. Glen Casada (R-TN-63) in anticipation of his victory as Speaker-Elect, and Casada indicated that he would support such a resolution, the press release said.
“This is not only legally correct, but it is also a fiscally prudent decision,” Griffey said. “According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, illegal immigration cost Tennessee taxpayers $793 million in 2017. The provision of education and healthcare to children born to illegals, not to mention hospital birthing expenses, is a component of this nearly billion dollar figure. This is unacceptable when, according to HUD in 2017, Tennessee had 35,621 veterans living in poverty, 67,523 Tennessee veterans experiencing housing problems and 757 Tennessee veterans who were homeless. We should be helping our veterans, who put their lives on the line for us, before helping illegals and their children born of their criminal actions.”
Hans von Spakovsky, an authority on civil rights, immigration and other issues, wrote recently that he believes the law is on Trump’s side:
The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment as extending to the children of legal noncitizens was incorrect, according to the text and legislative history of the amendment. But even under that holding, citizenship was not extended to the children of illegal immigrants – only permanent, legal residents.
U.S. immigration law (8 U.S.C. § 1401) simply repeats the language of the 14th Amendment, including the phrase subject to the jurisdiction thereof. The federal government has erroneously interpreted that statute to provide passports and other benefits to anyone born in the United States, regardless of whether their parents are here illegally and regardless of whether the applicant meets the requirement of being “subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S.
As a result, the president of the United States has the authority to direct federal agencies to act in accordance with the original meaning of the 14th Amendment
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.