Leading Republicans are joining a push to reconsider the constitutional amendment that grants automatic citizenship to people born in the United States.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday he supports holding hearings on the 14th Amendment right, although he emphasized that Washington's immigration focus should remain on border security.
His comments came as other Republicans in recent days have questioned or challenged birthright citizenship, embracing a cause that had largely been confined to the far right.
The senators include Arizona's John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee; Arizona's Jon Kyl, the GOP whip; Alabama's Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a leading negotiator on immigration legislation.
"I'm not sure exactly what the drafters of the (14th) amendment had in mind, but I doubt it was that somebody could fly in from Brazil and have a child and fly back home with that child, and that child is forever an American citizen," Sessions said.