Children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants should not get citizenship, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul told an English-language Russian television channel shortly after his May 18 primary election victory.
The comment, which surfaced online Friday, stirred the pot again in Kentucky's Senate race.
"We're the only country I know that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby, and then that baby becomes a citizen," Paul told RT, a Russian news channel. "And I think that that should stop also."
Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, has previously said every piece of federal legislation should specify its basis in the Constitution, but some observers called Paul’s position on the children of illegal immigrants unconstitutional.
"As his opposition to birthright citizenship indicates, however, he seems quite comfortable contravening the express words of the Constitution," said a posting on thinkprogress.org, voted best liberal blog in one 2006 competition.
Those "express words" are in the 14th Amendment, which says anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen.
The amendment was passed in the wake of the Civil War. In addition to defining citizenship, it says states can't deprive anyone of life, liberty or property without due process, or deny equal protection of the law to anyone.