Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Birthright citizenship repeal: Rubio won’t say, other Senate candidates opposed
Posted Aug 5, 2010 by William March
Updated Aug 5, 2010 at 04:29 PM
Three of the four major U.S. Senate candidates say they oppose the idea of repealing the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of citizenship for anyone born on American soil, but Republican Marco Rubio hasn’t responded to a question about where he stands.
Conservative Republicans in the Senate, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Kyl of Arizona, have said they favor hearings on the issue, which has arisen from Tea Party activists and others on the conservative wing of the GOP—a consituency Rubio is counting on.
They believe children of illegal immigrants or other non-citizens shouldn’t automatically become citizens because they’re born here.
“Opposed” was the one-word answer of a spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist, no-party candidate, about Crist’s opinion on repeal of the “birthright citizenship” language in the 14th Amendment.
“Yes, you could definitely say I’m opposed,” said Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek.
“Jeff Greene’s belief is that if you’re born here, you’re a citizen,” said Luis Vizcaino, spokesman for Democrat Jeff Greene.
A Rubio campaign spokesman, asked about the issue early Wednesday, said he would try to get an answer on Rubio’s position, but as of an hour ago, said he had no response.
While Rubio is appealing to Tea Party types, he also comes from the heavily Cuban and Hispanic community of Southeast Florida.
That political calculus has also caused Rubio difficulty on the issue of an Arizona-style immigration law. Rubio has praised the law, but also said he doesn’t favor such a law for Florida, and thinks—like President Barack Obama, whom Rubio bashes regularly—that immigration policy should be handled by the federal government.