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First, they hated the American-raised children of immigrants. Now they are coming after the American-born ones too.
The Grand Old Party leadership has finally gone senile and decided to give a platform to the anti-immigrant extremist factions of its party who call for a ban on birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.
The timing of this sudden interest in repealing birthright citizenship is not purely coincidental. It comes on the heels of losing part of the battle in Arizona and a growing momentum for considering legislative proposals like the DREAM Act and AgJOBs. At a time when most Americans want a fair and humane solution to how the immigration system adversely affects us, the GOP would rather play dirty and divert attention from incremental measures on the table.
In just the past week, Republican Senators like Lindsey Graham, Jon Kyl, John McCain, and now Senate Minority leader Mitch McConell have all given a thumbs-up to stripping American-born children of their citizenship as a way to control immigration. Curiously, this segment of the GOP was once in favor of “comprehensive immigration reform.” It looks like instead of progressing with the times though, Republicans have decided to travel back to 1868 and revisit the Fourteenth Amendment that granted citizenship to all children born in the United States.
Last week, Senator Lindsey Graham added fuel to the marginal debate over birthright citizenship by suggesting a change to the Constitution.
Senator Kyl from Arizona backed him up. “I suggested to [Lindsey Graham] was that we should hold some hearings and hear first from the constitutional experts to at least tell us what the state of the law on that proposition is.”
In between, a draft internal USCIS memo was leaked by the anti-immigrant elements in the GOP, intended to derail efforts to advance any sort of constructive dialogue on immigration reform.
Yesterday, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell jumped on board with the other loony bins, though he seems to be using the lifeboat and swiftly paddling away now.
Not only does repealing birthright citizenship risk creating a caste of unassimilated, disenfranchised, and stateless American children and a cumbersome bureaucratic mess for all Americans who would need to prove the citizenship of their newborn, it does nothing to address the many ways in which the immigration system is broken.
Proponents are quick to say that the Fourteenth Amendment was never intended to give children of undocumented immigrants citizenship. Of course, in 1868, even the concept of illegal immigration did not exist under law. However, Mother Jones reports that even re-visiting the debates over the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment show us that the prospect of immigrant children benefiting from the law was discussed and accepted. The Supreme Court of the United States has also consistently upheld birthright citizenship over the years.
Just because Republicans lack the ability or are so full of hatred that they can’t sit down and come up with a solution to a broken immigration system does not mean that they have the right to use it as a wedge issue to toy with the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection.
The wildfire over birthright citizenship is an extension of the “birther movement” that questions the citizenship of Barack Obama and denigrates him as a foreigner. But what really scares the right wing nuts is the changing face of America, which is increasingly non-white and not Republican.
While Latino support for Obama has dropped substantially, only 15% of Hispanics identify as Republicans. GOP hostility would dwindle the numbers down to single digits. This assures the GOP — and not Latinos — will remain in the minority. It is no wonder that they are trying to get rid of the brown babies now.
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