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Gaetz introduces bill to end 'unqualified birthright citizenship'

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Brett Rowland

(The Center Square) – U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a bill Tuesday that would deny automatic citizenship at birth to children born within the United States whose parents are not U.S. nationals.

The measure excludes "aliens lawfully admitted as refugees or permanent residents or performing active services in the U.S. Armed Forces," according to the congressman.

Gaetz introduced the "End Birthright Citizenship Fraud Act of 2023" in the U.S. House of Representatives to end what he called "unqualified birthright citizenship."

"Birthright citizenship has been grossly and blatantly misapplied for decades, recently becoming a loophole for illegal aliens to fraudulently abuse our immigration system," Gaetz said in a statement. "My legislation recognizes that American citizenship is a privilege – not an automatic right to be co-opted by illegal aliens."

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Gaetz said the measure was needed to ensure "that citizenship is not treated as a loophole to be exploited but rather a privilege to be earned when legally migrating to our country."

The measure would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"The United States is one of two developed nations that currently grants automatic citizenship so expansively to children born within its borders," according to the text of the bill. "Unqualified birthright citizenship provides a strong incentive for illegal immigrants to cross the southern border of the United States.

The text of the bill said illegal immigration comes at a cost for U.S. taxpayers: "Illegal immigrants who crossed into the United States to give birth, often return to Mexico, sending their children across the border daily to attend American public schools, crowding out American students and taking advantage of American tax dollars."