Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Huckabee would end birthright citizenship

From the MALDEF Press. -Dra. Valenzuela

Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prevent children born
in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American
citizens, according to his top immigration surrogate — a radical step
no other major presidential candidate has embraced.

Mr. Huckabee, who won last week's Republican Iowa caucuses, promised
Minuteman Project founder James Gilchrist that he would force a test
case to the Supreme Court to challenge birthright citizenship, and
would push Congress to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to
remove any doubt.

The former Arkansas governor thinks the case against U.S. Border
Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean was railroaded,
Mr. Gilchrist said. Ramos and Compean are serving lengthy prison
sentences for shooting a fleeing drug-smuggling suspect in the
buttocks.

"I would make it my first act as president to pardon agents Ramos and
Compean," Mr. Gilchrist said Mr. Huckabee told him. "I regret that
they have spent yet another Christmas locked up in a windowless cell
like animals and unable to be free and with their families."

Mr. Gilchrist, who campaigned with Mr. Huckabee in Iowa last week,
said Mr. Huckabee explained his positions in a half-hour conversation
on the campaign trail.

"I read back my notes to him twice and I told him I did not want to
put words in his mouth," said Mr. Gilchrist, who also issued a press
release from the Minuteman Project detailing Mr. Huckabee's positions.
"The guy looked me right in the eye."

Campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Fedewa said Mr. Huckabee intends to
review the case against Ramos and Compean as one of his first acts as
president, but she didn't otherwise dispute Mr. Gilchrist's quotes as
provided by The Washington Times.

Miss Fedewa said Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Gilchrest are "united by a
mutual desire to end illegal immigration and are political allies
toward that end."

Mr. Huckabee has defended his policies on illegal aliens while he was
Arkansas governor. He pressed for illegal aliens to gain college
tuition benefits, complained about federal immigration raids in his
state and declined to have state police enforce immigration laws,
although the state legislature gave him the authority to do so.

Mr. Huckabee now has adopted one of the strictest immigration
platforms of any campaign. He has proposed a policy requiring all
illegal aliens to return home and apply for immigration through legal
channels.

His new position on birthright citizenship also puts him alone among
the candidates. Many legal scholars say the 14th Amendment, which says
"all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to
the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States," grants
automatic citizenship to any baby born in the U.S., except in
diplomatic cases.

Members of Congress have never tried to change birthright citizenship by law.

Mr. Huckabee told Mr. Gilchrist that he supports a Supreme Court test
case but also would encourage Congress to introduce a constitutional
amendment to exclude from automatic citizenship any children born to
illegal aliens.



Mr. Gilchrist endorsed Mr. Huckabee last month and has campaigned with
him ever since. Mr. Gilchrist said Mr. Huckabee is the best candidate
on the immigration issue still in the race and who has a chance of
being the presidential nominee.

Others calling for stricter immigration policy have accused Mr.
Gilchrist of opportunism and backing a bad candidate.

Brook Young, who runs ImmigrationWatchdog.com, produced a Web video
criticizing Mr. Gilchrist's endorsement. Mr. Gilchrist fired back last
week with an e-mail that appeared to threaten to publicly accuse the
man of being a pedophile.

"I have been hearing on the blogs, over the telephone and through
e-mails that you are a pedophile, Brook. Will that accusation also
reach the news media soon?" Mr. Gilchrist wrote. "If the blogs and
e-mails say so, then aren't you guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt?"

Mr. Young posted the e-mail on his Web site and said he had to go
public because Mr. Gilchrist has exceeded the bounds of the
immigration debate, "to promote and actually lie about Mike Huckabee
and his immigration plan and his past record. Now we feel like we have
to say something."

"It's crazy," he said. "You get e-mails from this guy and it's like
this guy is truly out of his mind."

Mr. Huckabee has promised to run a clean campaign. William Gheen,
president of Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action
Committee, said Mr. Gilchrist's campaigning reflects badly on Mr.
Huckabee.

"He's an intrinsic front-row part of the campaign who's sending out
e-mails to people who oppose Huckabee to try to lie about them," said
Mr. Gheen, who has tangled with Mr. Gilchrist and is trying to block
Mr. Huckabee from winning the Republican nomination.

Mr. Huckabee's campaign said the governor was not available to comment
on the e-mail exchange.

Mr. Gilchrist said he was not accusing Mr. Young of pedophilia, but
making a point about making up charges.

He also said he was not speaking on behalf of Mr. Huckabee when he
sent the e-mail, and that the criticism pushed him to the limit.

"That was a private e-mail and what I was doing was setting up an
example: 'This is what you've done to me, I'm not going to do this to
you, but how would you like it if I did this to you?' " Mr. Gilchrist
said.

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