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McConnell Echoes Kyl's Call for Hearings on Birthright Citizenship

Mitch McConnell
WASHINGTON - MARCH 03: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivers the Republican response to President Barack Obama's address on health care reform at the U.S. Capitol March 3, 2010 in Washington, DC. McConnell said that, if passed, health care reform legislation would turn this autumn's congressional elections into a national referendum on the health care issue. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mitch McConnell AP

Updated with a correction at 12:40 p.m. ET

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the latest high-profile Republican to say Congress should reconsider the guarantee of birthright citizenship provided by the 14th Amendment, in light of the current debate over immigration reform.

"I think we ought to take a look at it -- hold hearings, listen to the experts on it," McConnell said to the Hill on Monday. "I haven't made a final decision about it, but that's something that we clearly need to look at. Regardless of how you feel about the various aspects of immigration reform, I don't think anybody thinks that's something they're comfortable with."

McConnell's remarks echo those of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he would like to see congressional hearings on the issue.

"The 14th Amendment [has been] interpreted to provide that if you are born in the United States, you are a citizen no matter what," Kyl said. "So the question is, if both parents are here illegally, should there be a reward for their illegal behavior?"

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), once a backer of comprehensive immigration reform, last week said that "birthright citizenship is a mistake" and that he may introduce a constitutional amendment to change the rules.

In the House, Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) has already sponsored a measure which would eliminate birthright citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants. The proposal would try to change the law by statute, rather than constitutional amendment.

Correction: This article was corrected to note that Rep. Gary Miller, not Rep. Lamar Smith, is leading the sponsorship of the birthright measure in the House.

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