BEWARE OF TERRORIST BABIES…. The right’s campaign against birthright citizenship has been intensifying of late, but leave it to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) to take the campaign to entirely new depths.

By now, the argument is likely pretty familiar — the 14th Amendment says, in effect, that if you’re born in the United States, you’re a natural-born American. There’s very little wiggle room in the language, and Supreme Court precedents are clear. Conservatives don’t care for this, in large part because of immigration — if a couple is in the U.S. illegally and have a baby, that couple’s child is an American citizen. Many on the right have even called for a constitutional amendment to address this.

But for Gohmert, the issue isn’t just related to immigration; it’s also a national security issue.

Walid Zafar reports that Gohmert appeared on the House floor on Thursday, and presented the following case: “I talked to a retired FBI agent who said that one of the things they were looking at were terrorist cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system. And it appeared they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby. They wouldn’t even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, 20, 30 years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life. ‘Cause they figured out how stupid we are being in this country to allow our enemies to game our system, hurt our economy, get setup in a position to destroy our way of life.”

Let’s pause to appreciate the irony of Louie Gohmert lecturing us about “how stupid we are being.”

Is there any credible evidence that terrorists are using birthright-citizenship as part of attack plots scheduled for the year 2040? Not even a little. Gohmert appears to be making this up, in the hopes that he can use a ridiculous scenario to scare people into doing what he wants to do anyway.

Look, there’s a genuine terrorist threat in this country, and one might even be able to make a plausible case that there’s a credible link between border security and counter-terrorism. But the last serious terrorist plot involved some schmuck with exploding underwear. We should be afraid of a plot involving infants? Because Louie Gohmert says so?


Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.