Citizenship Amendment an Attack on Children, Advocates Say

Washington – United States Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana) today offered an amendment that would deny U.S. citizenship to babies born in the United States, if the baby’s parents are both undocumented immigrants or lawfully-admitted nonimmigrants. The proposal would leave many such children stateless, because denying babies U.S. citizenship in no way confers upon them citizenship in the country of their parents’ origin. Senator Vitter’s proposal would also dramatically increase paperwork burdens for all U.S. citizens and agencies at every level of government. For example, The United States State Department currently accepts certified birth certificates as evidence of U.S. citizenship, but under the Vitter proposal, every passport applicant would also be required to document the citizenship status of his or her parents.

Responding to the proposal, the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children released the following statement from its president, Bruce Lesley:

“This amendment targets children. It’s as wrongheaded as it is cold-hearted. The irony here is that the underlying bill aims to protect children from exploitation, but the Vitter amendment would drive children into the shadows, where they’re easier targets.”

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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit

Children of Immigrants Press Release

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