Boehner Joins GOP Pandering On Birthright Citizenship “Review”

House Minority leader John Boehner became the latest Republican politician to jump on the 14th Amendment’s back:

House Minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) weighed in on the debate over the birthright citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment Sunday.

On “Meet the Press,” Rep. Boehner declined to stake out a clear position on the issue, but said, “I think it’s worth considering.” Boehner said currently it provides immigrants an incentive to come to the United States illegally.

“It’s a serious problem that affects our country, and in certain parts of our country clearly our schools, our hospitals are being overrun by illegal immigrants,” he said. “A lot of them came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens.”


As I noted last week, this is really nothing more than cynical pandering on the GOP’s part.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Maxim Kind says:

    I want to share a thought based on my expertise and personal experience:
    Based on my knowledge of the immigration law, even if an illegal immigrant family has a child in US, that does not give the family the right to remain in the United States. I have witness cases where the family with their child who has a US citizenship were deported back to their country (in that case Nigeria). The law states that when the child reaches the age of 18, s/he can invite the parents to live in the States in order to become US citizens. The legal process for the parents to become US citizens, at minimum, takes 5 years. I came as a legal immigrant from Russia and took me 7 years 7 months to become a U.S. citizen.

  2. Maxim,

    You are correct. Being born in the US gives an infant US citizenship but it doesn’t guarantee that his parents are entitled to remain here with him/her regardless of their own immigration status. Nor should it, necessarily.

  3. john personna says:

    In a recent housing item I used the economists’ slogan, ‘incentives matter.’
    For observing that tried and true element of human nature, Boehner  is pandering?

    Pander. v.  To state any truth currently in vogue.

  4. john personna says:

    BTW, a rational argument would be to say that you understand birthright citizenship is an incentive for illegal immigration, and then to step back and argue the _other_ values of birthright citizenship that outweigh that negative.
    If there are x thousand citizens born to legal residents and visa holders, and you consider them a valuable contribution, then make that case.  I suppose you could tell us how many fall in the 2 groups, children of illegal residents and children of legal residents but non-citizens.

  5. It’s pandering because the GOP leaders pushing this know that nothing is ever going to come of it. The 14th Amendment is never going to be changed.

    They’re just throwing some red meat to the anti-immigrant right

  6. john personna says:

    If all Boehner did was acknowledge an incentive, then all he did was name a truth.  God help us when truths go off limits.

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    You are a left wing shill, Mataconis.  The authors of the 14th did not intend for it to apply this way as there was no way they could have known communists such as yourself would PANDER to the latinos for votes by opening our borders.  Sorry Doug, I lost control for a moment.  Your choice of words does display a certain bias.  But then I did notice you have not paid much attention to Queen Michelle’s Spanish vacation.  Guess the advise to vacation on the Gulf was for us not for the ruling class.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    Normally I can kind-of, sort-of understand crazy rubbish that Zelzypoo spews…but WTF are you trying to say this time? Doug’s a communist because you know that the founding fathers wouldn’t want Michelle Obama to vacation in Spain because the government warned not vacation near the Gulf of Mexico?

    Is that an approximate translation?