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GOP Senators Try Again to Restrict 'Birthright Citizenship'

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Shown here are Sen. David Vitter, left, and Sen. Rand Paul. (AP)

Several Republican senators are taking another crack at preventing the children of illegal immigrants from gaining automatic U.S. citizenship. 

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and three colleagues on Tuesday announced a bill that would restrict so-called "birthright citizenship" by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act. U.S. law provides that anyone born on U.S. soil is a citizen, but the proposal would change that, to require at least one parent to be a U.S. citizen, legal resident or member of the U.S. military. 

In announcing the bill, Vitter referenced recent reports about a cluster of condos in California that were allegedly converted into maternity centers for Chinese women who want to give birth to children inside the U.S. 

"'Birth tourism' is certainly a reprehensible practice, but it is not an illegal one yet," Vitter said in a statement. "It is astounding that the U.S. government allows individuals to exploit the loopholes of our immigration system in this manner, and Congress has the authority and the obligation to put a stop to it once and for all." 

Vitter and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., previously introduced the proposal as a constitutional amendment meant to change the 14th Amendment, which outlines citizenship rights. 

Vitter claims the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted. 

But while the latest proposal might find some supporters, the constitutional amendment stands a slim chance of passing, as it would have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the state legislatures. And critics of the push say it won't address the problem of illegal immigration. 

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, also co-authored the latest GOP proposal.