Harry Reid Wanted to Repeal Birthright Citizenship in 1993, But That’s Not the Full Story


At first, it seemed like Harry Reid’s memory of 1993 must have been little fuzzy. Was My So-Called Life on yet? Where did he put his Discman? Which was why conservative pundits gleefully pored over the news that the Washington Times unearthed a 1993 bill, introduced by Reid, that called for the repeal of birthright citizenship. Tsk, tsk, they chided Reid for telling voters Tuesday, “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican,” an allusion to the recent right-wing momentum to reconsider birthright citizenship.

Did Reid introduce a bill that called for radically revising the birthright citizenship clause? Yes. Here’s the text, from “SEC. 1001. BASIS OF CITIZENSHIP CLARIFIED” [emphasis ours]:

But, as Greg Sargent points out in the Washington Post, he also apologized very publicly for it on the Senate floor in 2006 (full text here):

Thirteen years passed between Reid’s proposed bill and that apology, which makes it easier to read in a cynical light, especially considering his aggressive campaign to woo Hispanic voters. Sargent adds that Reid recanted, while Lindsey Graham and the like pursue that same policy even today. Either way, this leaves voters with a choice between a man who took thirteen years to admit he was wrong or a woman in a losing battle with logic.

1993 flip-flop: Sen. Reid introduced bill ‘clarifying’ birthright citizenship [Washington Times via Hot Air]
Yes, Reid tried to end birthright citizenship – but he apologized profusely for it [Plum Line/WP]
Beyond the gaffes, candidates diverge in wooing Nevada’s Hispanic vote [Fix/WP]