Santorum: Don't need to change Constitution to end birthright citizenship

Rick Santorum: 'Anchor baby' is not an offensive term
Rick Santorum: 'Anchor baby' is not an offensive term

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    Rick Santorum: 'Anchor baby' is not an offensive term

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Rick Santorum: 'Anchor baby' is not an offensive term 03:39

Story highlights

  • Some presidential candidates who oppose birthright citizenship believe that the 14th Amendment needs to be repealed
  • Santorum also said he did not know if the term "anchor babies" is offensive

Washington (CNN)Rick Santorum told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday that he does not believe ending automatic citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants born in the U.S. required a constitutional amendment, believing that Congress can end the controversial practice by merely passing a law.

Some presidential candidates who oppose birthright citizenship believe that the 14th Amendment needs to be repealed to change that law. But Santorum disagrees, pointing to Congress' ability to determine naturalization. He said he supports ending the policy for future children born here.
"I would urge Congress to change that," Santorum said on "The Situation Room." "It's clear in the Constitution."
    Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, have used the term "anchor babies" to describe these children, parlance that angers some Latino activists. Santorum said he did not find that language controversial, though he said he does not use that terminology.
    "Is it pejorative or not? I don't know," Santorum said. "I try to call children 'children,' and not anything other than that."
    Santorum also explained his position that the parents of these children, some of whom have overstayed their visas, should be sent home, even if that leaves their children in the United States without their parents.
    "We have to go through a process of enforcing our laws," he said. "It's going to certainly put a strain on some families, but they put themselves in that situation and they have to suffer the consequences."
    The former Pennsylvania senator, confronted by a significantly stronger Republican field than he faced in 2012 and handicapped by weak fundraising, sits at the back of this year's Republican presidential race. He won the Iowa caucuses in 2012 and maintained Friday that he could do so again in 2016, though he barely registers in Iowa opinion polls this summer.