Chaffetz co-sponsoring Birthright Citizenship Act

Chaffetz co-sponsoring Birthright Citizenship Act

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah congressman is tackling illegal immigration straight out of the womb.

Third District Rep. Jason Chaffetz is co-sponsoring the Birthright Citizenship Act, which mandates that citizenship only be extended to a child born in the U.S. when at least one of the parents is already a citizen.

Chaffetz says that's not happening now.

"You have two people, or one person that's here illegally and has a so-called ‘anchor baby,' and then they're given rights and privileges over others," Chaffetz said in a phone interview with KSL Newsradio.

Chaffetz says it's something most Americans want.

"They would agree and concur that becoming a United States citizen is something that should be afforded to parents, or a parent who is a current U.S. citizen," he said.

Lawmakers who are backing the legislation acknowledge it's an uphill battle in a Democratic Congress, with a Democratic president. They say it may take years, and it may take a constitutional amendment to get it done.

Meanwhile, Utah's Latino community is reacting to the new proposal with dismay and disappointment.

Juan Manuel Ruiz, president of the Latin-American Chamber of Commerce in Salt Lake City, says he'd rather see a more inclusive, not exclusive, policy on citizenship.

"The spirit behind this proposal is more segregarious," Ruiz said. "In a way, more profiling."

He says that's ironic in a state that was founded in a pioneering spirit.

"We have welcomed, always, strangers. We've always been very open to diversity," Ruiz said of Utah.

Most important of all, Ruiz believes citizenship isn't about where you were born so much as it's about how you live your life.

"The fact that one of the parents is a citizen doesn't really tell me how good of a person that is," Ruiz said.


Story compiled with contributions from Andrew Adams and Becky Bruce.

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