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Arizona birthright legislation stalls

Arizona birthright legislation stalls
Participants wave flags and carry signs as thousands turn out for a May Day march and rally in support of immigrant rights in Los Angeles on May 1, 2010. UPI Photo/Phil McCarten | License Photo

PHOENIX, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The march of state Senate versions of Arizona's birthright bills stumbled when a key sponsor held up the measures to avoid a potentially losing committee vote.

Republican state Sen. Ron Gould said the bills could be revived in the Senate Judiciary Committee or referred to a more receptive panel, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix reported Tuesday.

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"It's going to come back," said Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who opposes the package. "Nothing's dead until sine die (legislative adjournment for a session)."

One bill would define children as citizens of Arizona and the United States if at least one of their parents were either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent U.S. resident subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The other bill would seek permission from the U.S. Congress to establish a system so states can create birth certificates for children who meet the new definition of a citizen separate from birth certificates for children who don't.

House versions of the bill haven't been assigned to committees for hearings, the Republic said.

Sinema said the wording would inadvertently deny citizenship to children born overseas to parents in the U.S military or who hold dual citizenship.

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Republican Sen. Adam Driggs said he was concerned about the bill's challenge to the Constitution.

"I am a conservative Republican, and I am a little confused, because I take very seriously the oath ... to uphold the Constitution," he said. "I will not take any challenges to the U.S. Constitution lightly."

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