The 14th Amendment to the Constitution gives individuals the legal right to claim citizenship if they’re born in the U.S., regardless of their parents’ country of origin or citizenship status. Now, Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is eligible to run for the highest office thanks to so-called “birthright citizenship,” has said he’s open to the idea of ending the policy.
At the time of his birth, Rubio’s parents, who came to the U.S. from Cuba before Fidel Castro took power, weren’t citizens — they were naturalized in 1975, The Washington Post reported. Rubio, who was born to Cuban immigrants in 1971, wouldn’t clarify his position on the issue of birthright citizenship, National Journal reported.
"I'm not in favor of repealing the 14th Amendment," Rubio said at a news conference at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 18. "But I am open to exploring ways of not allowing people who are coming here deliberately for that purpose to acquire citizenship.”
Though the 14th Amendment has arguably been far less controversial than many other policy issues surrounding immigration, debate over the nearly 150-year-old amendment was reignited by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Rubio’s newfound support for changing the Constitution has caused some ripples in the Latino community.
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"The Trump effect has reached the entire Republican Party," Cristina Jimenez Moreta, executive director of the pro-immigration group United We Dream, told National Journal. "I think it's absurd, and I think it's very hypocritical for Marco Rubio, who is the child of Cuban immigrants, and who benefited from birthright citizenship."