Annual Meeting 2011
ABA Urges Congress to Reject Changes to Birthright Citizenship Laws
Posted Aug 9, 2011 11:01 AM CST
By Rachel M. Zahorsky
The House of Delegates voted Tuesday in Toronto to urge federal lawmakers to reject attempts to change the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution regarding citizenship birthrights.
Resolution 303 (PDF), “urges Congress to reject any resolution proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would alter, in any way, the grant of United States citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment to any persons born in the United States (including territories, possessions, and commonwealths).”
The ABA’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, created by immediate past President Stephen N. Zack—the organization’s first Hispanic-American president, who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba as a young boy—submitted the resolution after “hundreds of public hearings throughout the states to listen to and understand the specific issues facing the Hispanic population,” said Commission Chair Cesar L. Alvarez.
“There is a concerted effort in certain parts of this country to target Hispanics, to discriminate against Hispanics, that is unprecedented in this country,” Alvarez said.
In addition, the House passed resolutions during its two-day session submitted by entities that are working on Zack’s other key initiatives. Incoming ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III has said that all of the initiatives will continue during his term.
• Resolution 302 (PDF), submitted by the Task Force on the Preservation of the Justice System, urges state, territorial, and local bar associations to document the impact of funding cutbacks to the justice systems in their jurisdictions, to publicize the effects of those cutbacks, and to create coalitions to address and respond to the ramifications of funding shortages to their justice systems."
• Resolution 300 (PDF), submitted by the Commission on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools, recommends “that state, local, and territorial bar associations urge state and local legislatures, education commissions and school boards to mandate civic education classes/courses in elementary, middle and secondary public schools.”
• Resolution 116 (PDF), submitted by Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness, “urges all lawyers to regularly assess their practice environment to identify and address risks that arise from any natural or manmade disaster that may compromise their ability to diligently and competently protect their clients’ interests and maintain the security of their clients’ property.”