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December 18, 2014

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Reid introduced ‘93 bill to deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants

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AP Photo/Dennis Cook

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid gestures during a Capitol Hill news conference, Thursday, April 6, 2006, where Senate Democrats and Republicans announced they were close a compromise on immigration legislation. From left are, Senate Majority Leader Bill First of Tenn., Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.

Republicans are calling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a hypocrite today because he once introduced legislation that would have denied citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

Some Republicans have been pushing to change birthright citizenship for children born in the United State to parents who came here illegally. Reid’s opponent Sharron Angle said this week that Congress should get involved in the issue.

Reid has been strongly critical of those efforts, saying Republicans have “either taken leave of their senses or their principles” for pushing for a constitutional amendment.

But in 1993, Reid introduced legislation that would have denied citizenship to those children.

In 2006, when that 1993 proposed legislation was used against him during a debate on immigration, Reid delivered a speech on the Senate floor denouncing his own bad decision.

“I do want to tell … my friends in the Senate, that is a low point of my legislative career, the low point of my governmental career,” Reid said.

Reid said he introduced the legislation at the request of a “group of people (who) came and talked to us and convinced us that the thing to do would be to close the borders between Mexico and the United States.”

Since then, Reid has been a forceful advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that would include a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He also is a strong supporter of the Dream Act, which would allow children brought to the country illegally to earn citizenship and a college education.

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