Jack Cafferty Hints Approval of Reexamination of Birthright Citizenship

Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgOn Monday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty took his opposition to illegal immigration to a new level by hinting that he agreed with the call by some congressional Republicans to change the 14th Amendment to eliminate birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens: "Republicans say if both parents are here illegally, why should there be a reward for that behavior? And they've got a point."

Cafferty led his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary with eye-opening figures about the number of babies born to illegal immigrants: "In Texas alone, there are more than 60,000 babies born to non-citizens every year. These babies automatically become U.S. citizens. The Dallas Morning News reports [that] last year, these births represented 16% of the total births statewide in Texas, and that from 2001 to 2009, there were more than 542,000 babies born to illegal immigrant women."

The CNN commentator then moved to the 14th Amendment issue: "This is why some people, including a lot of Republicans, want to consider changing the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of citizenship for anyone born in the United States. House Minority Leader John Boehner says many illegal immigrants come here just so their children can become U.S. citizens. Boehner points to parts of our country where schools and hospitals are being overrun by illegal aliens." Cafferty then made his "they've got a point" remark.

After outlining the argument of opponents of changing the amendment, the CNN personality outlined what it would take to modify it and concluded, "My guess is if it was put to a vote of the American people, it would pass yesterday."

Near the end of the hour, Cafferty read some of his viewer responses to his "Question of the Hour." All but two agreed that birthright citizenship needed to be changed. Anchor Wolf Blitzer then asked if the other viewer responses went that way or the other. Cafferty replied that most of the rest agreed with him: "People are sick of illegal immigration in this country. They're up to the eyebrows with the fact that the federal government sits on its hands and does nothing- nothing- while we run trillion dollar deficits every year, and people come here by the millions to take advantage of...the things that are available in this country that aren't available where they're from. The public's fed up with it. That's gist of the mail."

Earlier in 2010, the commentator devoted three of his Cafferty File segments over two weeks to criticizing President Obama and his Democratic allies' opposition to Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law.

The full transcript of Jack Cafferty's commentary, which aired 12 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of Monday's Situation Room and the viewer responses which he read 42 minutes later:

CAFFERTY: As the debate over illegal immigration, and now over the 14th Amendment, heats up, we have some numbers you might be interested in: in Texas alone, there are more than 60,000 babies born to non-citizens every year. These babies automatically become U.S. citizens.

The Dallas Morning News reports [that] last year, these births represented 16% of the total births statewide in Texas, and that from 2001 to 2009, there were more than 542,000 babies born to illegal immigrant women. Let me repeat: all these babies automatically become U.S. citizens, and we're talking just about the State of Texas here.

This is why some people, including a lot of Republicans, want to consider changing the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of citizenship for anyone born in the United States. House Minority Leader John Boehner says many illegal immigrants come here just so their children can become U.S. citizens. Boehner points to parts of our country where schools and hospitals are being overrun by illegal aliens. Other Republicans say if both parents are here illegally, why should there be a reward for that behavior? And they've got a point.

But opponents worry about the kids, saying that they didn't break any laws; they would have no rights; and nowhere to go. Others claim the whole issue isn't about babies at all- rather, about politics and using immigration as a wedge issue headed into the midterm elections.

The 14th Amendment became law in 1868. It was meant as a way to block states that prevented former slaves from becoming citizens. Changing it would require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, plus the approval of three-fourths of the state legislatures. My guess is if it was put to a vote of the American people, it would pass yesterday.           

Here’s the question: at least 60,000 babies born to non-citizens every year in Texas alone get U.S. citizenship. What should be done about that? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile, post a comment on my blog.

05:54 pm EDT

CAFFERTY: Brent writes, 'The 14th Amendment ought to absolutely be amended to solve this problem, now that there are no slaves to protect- aside from all of us in the middle class, of course, but I digress. Since the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants contribute absolutely nothing to taxes, education, or health care, but use the same infrastructure and resources as taxpayers do, which basically amounts to egregious grand theft and tax fraud- to say nothing about dishonor- we really need to get down to the business and start protecting the legal citizens of this country.'

T. J writes from Euless, Texas, 'The illegal parents can go back where they came from and take any babies born in the U.S. with them.'

Jack writes, 'I can't wait until all these children start voting out the Republicans in Texas. There is hope for the future.'

Larry in Texas writes- from Georgetown, 'For those of us who live in the great state of Texas, it's very obvious that we are paying for the people that are here illegally, so they can have kids go to school and receive medical treatment and collect welfare. It's time to take back our country. I'm for changing the Constitution to its intended purpose.'

Louis writes, 'Change the law, so that citizenship for a child born here requires at least one parent to already be a citizen.'

Sandy in Georgia writes, 'I'm a fan of documenting the undocumented. You don't have to be legal. You don't have to be a citizen, but you do need to be documented, and as long as they're documented, they can work and pay taxes just like legal U.S. Citizens. Once they're paying their fair share of taxes, I have no problem sharing the benefits of this country with them.'

Carol writes, 'If the parents are here illegally and have children, the entire family should be deported. What is so hard about this?'

And Terry writes, 'This is an absolutely preposterous idea. So someone who was born on U.S. soil would not be a citizen? What's the standard then? Would I have to be born to Republican parents on the Fourth of July on an American flag? Would that be enough?'

If you want to read more on this, we got an awful lot of e-mail. You'll find it on my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile.

WOLF BLITZER: Was there a- sort of- which direction more of people?

CAFFERTY: People are sick of illegal immigration in this country. They're up to the eyebrows with the fact that the federal government sits on its hands and does nothing- nothing- while we run trillion dollar deficits every year, and people come here by the millions to take advantage of- you know, the things that are available in this country that aren't available where they're from. The public's fed up with it. That's gist of the mail.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center