Jan Brewer and Russell Pearce are crazy. They are nuts. They are irrational ideologues who, driven by demented xenophobia, are using what political powers they have to deny rights to American citizens.
As a result of the American Civil War, in July 9, 1868, the 14th Amendment was adopted to the United States Constitution. The first section states that:
“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. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of live, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
This amendment provides a broad definition of citizenship, and overrules the decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1859), which held that blacks could not be citizens of the United States.
For this particular post, the key point to be taken from the above statement is that ANY person born in the United States is naturally an American.
Some Republicans in Arizona are trying to change this fact.
As you can see from TIME’s article, Russell Pearce, the architect of the bill passed several months ago which would permit random inquiries into a person’s citizenship status in the state of Arizona, is now planning to introduce a bill that will deny citizenship to children born in the United States with illegal immigrant children.
Not only do I think this is unconstitutional, it is also a sign of the establishment trying to prevent change, and to confront a world in which their kind (Conservative, white) is increasingly becoming the minority, with hostility.
The article says that 58% of Americans polled by Rasmussen think illegal immigrants whose children are born in the United States should not receive citizenship. One has to wonder how this polling process functioned, and should ask this question: were the people polled aware of the fact that the 14th Amendment specifically states that anyone born in the United States is by definition an American citizen?
A large percentage of (perhaps even majority) Americans still have, in broad terms, conservative-leaning views, whether it be social, political, or fiscal issues. Because of this, Americans are often reluctant to make drastic changes towards its foundational values (as we recently witnessed in the brutal battle for a slightly better, but in no way good enough, health care system). I’m sure that if those polled were all aware of the existence of the 14th Amendment, many of them would change their minds and allow children to become Americans.
But of course, this issue regarding citizenship is just the latest installment of a long, tedious immigration debate. Inevitably, discussion regarding illegal immigration usually reverts back to the question of ‘why are they (Mexicans) coming here in the first place?’ Part of, but not all, of that blame goes to poor governance on the part of the Mexicans. American multinational corporations have long used Mexico for cheap labor, which severely undermines the spending capacities of Mexicans.
It’s time for both the United States and Mexico to find a solution to this immigration issue by building an honest, efficient economy, on both sides of the border.