Here’s more of that “Trump Effect” in action.
Today, Chris Christie — fresh off a rocky debate performance, where even a visibly-irritated Rand Paul rolled his eyes at the candidate — told right-wing radio host and noted xenophobe Laura Ingraham that we should “reexamine” the 14th Amendment, which grants automatic citizenship to all children born on American soil.
For all the screaming Christie loves to do at the expense of teachers, he still can’t bring himself to say aloud that what his proposed “reexamination” of the 14th Amendment really is — a direct attack on the United States citizen children born of undocumented immigrants.
“I think all this stuff needs to be reexamined in light of the current circumstances,” he said. “[Birthright citizenship] may have made sense at some point in our history, but right now, we need to re-look at all that.”
Under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Though Christie does not appear to have spoken expressly on the issue of birthright citizenship before, he is particularly close with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who is known among other things for his repeated efforts to end the practice, which he sees as encouraging “birth tourism.” Vitter has described Christie as a “mentor.”
As we’ve previously noted, Christie’s stance on immigration has drastically changed leading up to his entrance into the 2016 election. Christie supported a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants in 2010, and signed the New Jersey DREAM Act into law in 2013. In his 2013 reelection, Christie spent heavily on Spanish-language ads — and was rewarded with nearly half the Latino vote, 48%
But by 2015, he had walked back his support for citizenship, was bear-hugging Steve King onstage at the Iowa Freedom Summit, and had joined in supporting the GOP-led lawsuit blocking President Obama’s immigration actions, which would protect millions of immigrants from deportation (including 200,000 potential beneficiaries in the state of New Jersey).
Christie’s latest move is blatantly political as Donald Trump’s polling numbers remain strong in the face of anti-immigrant rhetoric. It’s clear the Trump Effect is pulling candidates like Christie and others to the right — and the Republican Party over the demographic cliff when it comes to Latino and immigrant voters.