Last week, U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner suggested to Fox News that Congress might need to re-examine the 14th Amendment in the immigration debate, and that the country should re-think giving automatic citizenship to anyone born in the United States.  Sen. Jim Risch, Idaho’s junior member of the U.S. Senate, told Monday that examination of the amendment should enter the immigration discussion, but that it must be coupled with strict immigration enforcement.

Boehner said officials must consider that illegal immigrants might come to the United States simply to have babies to create an anchor in the country. “There is a problem. To provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be U.S. citizens does, in fact, draw more people to our country,” Boehner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I do think that it’s time for us to secure our borders and enforce the law and allow this conversation about the 14th Amendment to continue.”

Risch said the topic needs debate. “I am open to the option of looking at changes to the 14th Amendment to prevent what some call ‘birth tourism,'” Risch told  “However, constitutional changes are very difficult and lengthy, as they should be.  What is needed right now is stronger border security to prevent the unlawful entry into the United States.”

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted July 9, 1868, and was meant to rectify the 1857 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, which said that children of African-American slaves brought in from outside the country were not considered citizens of the country within the confines of the Constitution.

No other members of Idaho’s congressional have commented on Boehner’s suggestion.

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About The Author

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He graduated from Boise State in 2009. His work has been featured by Fox News, Townhall, Public Sector Inc., the Daily Caller, Reason, Human Events, the Spokesman Review and more. He and his wonderful wife Julia have two cute kids. The family resides in Middleton.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ty Palmer, said: Risch interested in examining 14th Amendment in immigration debate […]

  2. The congress should make the necessary changes to the 14th amendment. Then the the states can make the final decision
    Hmmmm– I wonder how the states would vote???

  3. I would guess maybe 30 of them would vote for it… well under the 3/4 requirement. Getting the 2/3 vote in both the House and the Senate is more insurmountable at this point.
    At least Sen. Risch isn’t one of those idiots (e.g. Bryan Fischer) who think that the 14th Amendment doesn’t clearly require the granting of birthright citizenship.

  4. In deference to those who think the Constitution is ‘perfect’, any law (including the Constitution) is open to abuse. Persons should be prevented from coming here illegally, having children, and indirectly taking advantange of the rights and privledges provided under that Constitution. Amend the law.

  5. If we are going to start tinkering with the US constitution, why not just start over from scratch.
    All this nonsense about the constitution being some kind of sacred document that has withstood the test of time and should be followed to the letter of the law is a bunch of hogwash.
    If the 14th Amendment lets too many brown skinned people become US citizens and crowds out the white folks..something needs to be done.
    As for me, perhaps we need to take another look at the second amendment too. That was written at a time when the most dangerous handweapon was one that took one minute to reload after the first shot. Nothing like the semi automatic weapon that Cho used at Virginia tech to kill 30 people.
    Plus the second amendment doesn’t define what “arms” means. Is it a bazooka, a flamethrower or a suitcase nuke. According to the definition of “arms” back in the 1750’s arms is “any defensive weapon”. So I have a right to keep a suitcase nuke in my house.

    Yeah. Let’s reconsider the second amendment too.
    It’s unclear and outdated.

    I like that.

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