Linda Chavez

The NFAP study, however, argues that taking away this presumption would end up encumbering new parents with proving their own citizenship status and would create a whole new, cumbersome agency to verify claims and issue documents. Ironically, under the most stringent proposals being pushed by those who want to end birthright citizenship, Romney's own right to be considered "a natural born Citizen" eligible to become president might be challenged.

Romney's father was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where his family had been part of a Mormon community for three generations after fleeing the Utah territory in the 19th century when it became clear polygamy would be outlawed under statehood. At the very least, if such a law had been in place when Romney was born, his parents would have had to hire lawyers to prove his right to U.S. citizenship, and we might now be debating the authenticity of his birth certificate as vigorously as some conspiracy theorists debate President Barack Obama's.

It's too bad Romney and other conservatives feel the need to embrace the fringes on an issue as important as citizenship. One of the greatest gifts America has given to the world is its sense of inclusiveness. We are welcoming people who want to embrace those whose desire it is to become part of our great nation.

Creating barriers to citizenship for all people born on U.S. soil would not reduce, much less end, illegal immigration. What it would mean is fewer future Americans. One estimate puts the loss in future American citizens as high as 13 million by 2050. Of course, the hope of the radicals who are advising Romney is that all these people will pack up and go "home." But their only home is here, their birthplace.

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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