Gov. Mike Huckabee issued a statement today denying a report that he wants to amend the Constitution to prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens.
A Washington Times story cited his top immigration adviser, Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist, saying Huckabee promised him he would force a test case to the Supreme Court to challenge birthright citizenship and would press Congress to pass an amendment.
But Huckabee denied it.
“I do not support an amendment to the Constitution that would prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens,” the former Arkansas governor said. “I have no intention of supporting a constitutional amendment to deny birthright citizenship.”
The Time said Gilchrist also received a promise from Huckabee that his first act as president would be to pardon imprisoned Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are serving 11- and 12-year sentences for shooting a fleeing drug smuggler at the Mexican border.
Gilchrist said Huckabee explained his positions in a half-hour conversation last week while campaigning in Iowa.
“I read back my notes to him twice, and I told him I did not want to put words in his mouth,” Gilchrist told the Times. “The guy looked me right in the eye.”
Campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Fedewa affirmed Huckabee intended to review the Ramos and Compean case as one of his first acts as president. The paper said she did not dispute Gilchrist’s quotes as provided by the paper.
Fedewa said Huckabee and Gilchrist are “united by a mutual desire to end illegal immigration and are political allies toward that end.”
But the Times noted that as governor, Huckabee “pressed for illegal aliens to gain college tuition benefits, complained about federal immigration raids in his state and declined to have state police enforce immigration laws, although the state legislature gave him the authority to do so.”
Gilchrist has been campaigning with Huckabee since endorsing him last month, sparking controversy among border security organization leaders and Minuteman activists who oppose the candidate’s policies as governor.
Huckabee has adopted a stricter immigration platform that apparently satisfied Gilchrist, proposing illegals return home and apply for immigration through legal channels.
Gilchrist told WND in an interview last month, “Nothing I can find in Huckabee’s plan indicates he is going to let the illegal immigrants back into the country the next day after they go home.
“The illegal aliens, once they are back home, will have to stand in line with everybody else and apply for legal entry at the end of the line,” Gilchrist insisted.
But Gilchrist was unaware of a Dec. 9 interview with CNN’s Larry King in which Huckabee said his Secure America Plan would allow illegal aliens who repatriated to their homelands to return to the United States in a matter of days.