Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rap on birthright citizenship

Rand Paul nationally and Russell Pearce locally are leading a nutbar charge against birthright citizenship, the concept that anyone born on US soil is automatically a citizen. Pearce is even proposing new state legislation to prevent the issuance of birth certificates to the children of illegals, thereby, he imagines, impeding the citizenship process, which is of course a federal function. It's another election-year stunt from our shadow governor, and he knows it'll go nowhere, but he can keep it in the news and use it to get himself and other nutbars reelected.

The senator is going about it in completely the wrong way, for clearly the wrong reasons. But at its core the idea has some merit, and I think we should be talking about it in a way that's rather less unhinged.

First let me set some bright lines on what I'm thinking. It's not the same as Pearce's proposal. There's no question that the 14th Amendment grants birthright citizenship to anyone, legal or illegal. Congress wrote it this way over the express objections of the amendment's primary drafter, who wanted to include a provision for lawful presence of parents in this country. That was the 1860s, the US still had half a continent to populate, and Manifest Destiny was still public policy.

Things are different now. The entire world is overpopulated and migration pressures are strong and complex. Beyond the charitable aspect (the nice side of paternalism), I just don't see a clear public good in granting citizenship to babies born to people who are not lawfully here. Appeal to tradition if you like, but I'm not sold.

Making that change would require the full megillah of a constitutional amendment to specify that the mother must be lawfully present in the US or a territory, including good visa status. (I don't include the father because paternity isn't always clear; if the birth is happening in the US, the mother is here. Duh.) Since the 1980s the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa have made changes like this, specifying parental citizenship or minimum residence requirements. I think we can afford to remain a little more liberal than that.

I'm not among those who feel that the children of illegals are a huge problem, certainly not large enough to warrant a constitutional process to address it. But we clearly do need an entirely new regime for immigrant workers, giving much broader legal status and bringing everyone into our systems for worker protection and taxes. This modification of our traditional approach could be a reasonable measure to offer the right in making a deal for sensible immigration policy, and that would be a huge gain.

It's worth thinking about, we can hope a little more clearly than Messrs. Pearce and Paul.

(Hmm: a tasty treat -- the Pearce and Paul Nutbar!)


Montana said...

The Tea Bag Party are just “haters not debaters” or as others have dubbed them “screamers not dreamers”, with their failed attempts at stopping Healthcare reform, they say they respect the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence but they do not mind passing laws, through weak Governors (no one voted for this crazy) who only cares about getting elected Governor, on the backs of undocumented workers, that will not pass Constitution muster.

Brewer signed into law;

1. S.B. 1070,
2. No permit conceal weapons law,
3. The famous Birthers law,
4. Banning Ethic studies law,

5. Could she be behind the Mural in Prescott, Arizona, ordered to be whiten,
6. On deck to pass, no citizenship to babies born to undocumented workers,

7. If she can read she should look up Arizona’s House Bill 2779 from two years ago (which was un-constitution and failed when legally challenged),
8. The boycotted Martin Luther King Day, what idiots don’t want another holiday? Yes, you guessed it Arizona.

Well Arizona, you can boycott new holidays and keep passing crazy laws and the rest of us will continue to challenged them in a court of law and continue to add cities to our Boycott of your state.

I real cannot believe anything that comes out of Brewer’s mouth, in an interview she first said her father had died in Germany fighting the Nazi in World War II (war ended 1945) but of course we find out the truth that father was never in Germany and died in California in 1955. But we are suppose to believe everything else she says, right!

As for the Tea Bag Party, their phony patriotism is sickening; they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, energy (remember Cheney’s secret meetings with oil companies where loosening regulation and oversight were sealed), climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions).

Steven Ayres said...

I'm glad you could get that all off your chest. Do you have any specific thoughts on what I wrote?