Utah Congresswoman Mia Love spoke to some of the United State’s newest citizens at a naturalization ceremony in South Jordan on Monday. The event helps demonstrate how Love’s feelings about immigration reform sometimes conflict with those in her own party.
Love told the thirteen newest citizens that the greatest moment of her father’s life was when he took the oath of allegiance, as they had all just done, and became a U.S. citizen. Love’s parents emigrated from Haiti in the 1970’s and were in the process of becoming citizens when she was born.
“Mia Love became a citizen immediately when she was born in this country under the 14th amendment, section one,” says Tim Chambless, associate professor of political science at the University of Utah.
In the past week, several Republican presidential candidates have said they’d like to see that policy of birthright citizenship changed. Chambless says this idea, and several other immigration reforms pitched by the GOP, are conflicting for someone like Love.
“It’s a difficult position for her," he says. "I suspect it will be a campaign issue brought up by her opponent as well.”
While Love didn’t directly answer a question about birthright citizenship, she did say it’s time to make it easier to get into the country legally.
“The reason why there are so many people that are here illegally is because it’s easier to be here illegally than it is to be here legally," Love says. "We have to allow people the honor of experiencing what my parents experienced years ago and what these people are experiencing today.”
While immigration reform has been an issue in Congress for years, the House and Senate still cannot agree on a solution and likely won’t address the issue again until after the 2016 presidential election.