Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, who is most famous at the moment for waging a political war on government spending, said on Monday that ending automatic citizenship for babies born on U.S. soil would be a tax on having babies.
“This is a tax on every child being born,” he said during a telephone conference call hosted by the public-policy group National Foundation for American Policy. “It solves no problems and instead creates all sorts of problems and costs in terms of Americans.”
NFAP published a study on Monday showing that ending so-called “birthright citizenship” would cost new parents $600 to $1,000 in legal fees to establish citizenship for their babies. Some Republicans have suggested that automatic citizenship be rescinded, a change that almost certainly would require a constitutional amendment. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has tapped immigration hardliner Kris Kobach as an adviser. Kobach is the brains behind Arizona’s tough immigration law and has also authored studies suggesting various ways to end birthright citizenship.
As a way of appeasing the Republican base, GOP candidates like Romney have tacked hard to the right on immigration. Norquist was a supporter of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2006 and 2007 and has consistently argued that Republicans should embrace a broader immigration policy that would help employers in agriculture and the hospitality industries get access to foreign workers. Thus far, those arguments have been ignored, a fact Norquist acknowledged. “It’s frustrating, and it’s why people lash out and reach out for these non-solutions” like ending birthright citizenship, he said.