Thursday, August 05, 2010

Born In The USA--Not Enough For Citizenship?

Birthright citizenship has always been part of the immigration debate, but rarely in the foreground. Arizona's legally challenged immigration law changed that dynamic. With its April passage, there followed a tactical testing of the waters.

First, prominent conservatives like presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and columnist George Will latched onto the idea. The day after a federal injunction neutered the Arizona law, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham teased that he might introduce legislation to repeal the 14th Amendment. Arizona's junior senator, John Kyl, endorsed it on Sunday's "Face the Nation." On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threw his weight behind congressional hearings to review the issue.

The 14th Amendment was established in 1868 to prevent Southern states from denying citizenship to slaves. Its most renowned section includes the provisions known as the "due process clause" and the "equal protection clause," which guarantee basic freedoms that have been continuing focal points for the Supreme Court.

It's the opening clause that rankles: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Read more:
There are times when calling the Republican Party the "Party of Stupid" is entirely appropriate, and this is one of those times. There should be very serious reasons for changing the Constitution, and so-called anchor babies is not a serious enough reason. Seriously.

We can handle this situation quite easily without changing the Constitution. First, let's enforce our borders (quite) a bit more than we're currently doing, thereby reducing the number of such babies. Second, we don't have to let non-citizens live here just because a citizen is here! So what if the baby is a citizen--if mom and dad aren't, and are not resident aliens, they must go back to their own country, and--shocker!--they can take their baby with them.

There is no validity whatsoever to the putrid argument of the Left that says that deporting illegals will split up families. They can take their child with them! No one is calling for splitting up the family unit, and the child will still maintain his or her US citizenship.

With proposals mentioned in the link above, Republicans risk looking like the anti-Hispanic racists they're so often accused of being. There's no need to throw fuel on those fires, especially when the solution is so simple.


Rhymes With Right said...

Except, Daren, courts are reluctant to separate parents and children, which is why there are lots of cases of the parents receiving some sort of compassionate status to allow them to stay and raise their kid here rather than exile a child with US citizenship.

In addition, we now have travel agencies offering "birth tourism" from China and Turkey so that mothers can have their baby here, where they will receive the amenity of a US passport.

Darren said...

No one is "exiling" a child. The parents choose to raise their own child in the country of their citizenship.

maxutils said...

I agree that we should not amend the Constitution for trivialities, but this seems to me to be a case where the drafters of the amendment left an unintentional loophole that should have been close. Inserting the words "to parents legally in the country" would have worked just fine, and would have covered the slaves that it was intended to cover. Winning the citizenship lottery because your parents are criminals does not sit well with me; and, while you're correct that we could ameliorate the problem by enforcing borders and deporting the parents, we WON'T. Aren't you the one who's always lecturing me about living in the theoretical world?

Darren said...

There's no reason we couldn't or shouldn't deport illegals, and in a real world we would. It's a far better option than amending the Constitution.

And liberals should be all for this. They'd have all these "multi-cultural" (by definition) people coming to live in the United States when they're of age!

Amerloc said...

Yep. Upper class parents from countries they see disintegrating two decades down the road come here to create an "anchor" - the kid who, 18 years later can come back here with his citizenship and sponsor his parents. Happens all the time.*

And parents who want their kids to grow up under something other than a makeshift roof come here, too. The Lady in the Harbor proclaims it: "Send me your poor, your tired, your yearning to be free." So they come.

And of course, you're right that we need to get a handle on it: we need to know who and why and how many and where they are.

But it ain't near as cut-and-dried, black-and-white as you try to make it.

*I don't doubt it exists, RWR, but I'd like to see some verifiable evidence.

Bruce Small said...

Are the mothers who are in the country illegally "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" if they are avoiding all contact with the authorities, and the authorities don't even know they are here.

Darren said...

Yes, Bruce. You're still breaking the law, and subject to it, even on those occasions you don't get caught.

Curmudgeon said...

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I don't mind the idea of birth tourism, per se, because it implies that the parents have the wherewithal to do so, are foresighted enough to look down the road, confident, hardworking (nobody who isn't would ever make such plans) etc. Aren't these the exact qualities we want in immigrants?

Back to the numbers ... If Darren's plan is enforced, this would mean at most a few thousand could pull it off and then go home and wait for 18 years ... a mere drop in the bucket numbers wise, yet it would mean a HUGE improvement in the perception of the US around the world and in our feelings about our own inherent goodness and the desirability of living in the US and drop a HUGE monkey off the backs of the GOP.

It should also mean that deportations go more easily because the would be immigrants got what they wanted and could go home safe in the knowledge that 18 years from now they'd be in good shape. As it is now, there's more incentive to try and stay and clog up the system.

This plan could be more like an 18 year investment. Anyone who is still around and still interested can come to the US and anyone whose plans have changed can stay home (with their US citizen child). Maybe we'll get a couple more good soccer players while we're at it!

Along with this reform, we should have a better INS that processes forms more quickly, yea or nay. The current multi-year process is nuts. You could change that and alleviate a lot of the gamesmanship, I would think.

Ellen K said...

I believe the case could be made for LEGAL residents who have made the steps to either become documented parts of American society to allow their children citizenship. The problems comes when we have women coming across the border to ER rooms to deliver their child in the US. That is part of the reason so many border hospitals have shut down ER's, because they cannot refuse aid to someone in need, but then they never get paid.