Leave birthright citizenship alone!

THE US CONSTITUTIONDonald Trump,  Gov. Scott Walker,  Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (so far) don’t believe that children born in the United States are automatically citizens of the United States. In other words, they are in favor of either “revisiting” or repealing the “birthright citizenship” provisions of the XIV Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Donald Trump, from today’s Huffington Post.

 What happens is [Mexicans], they’re going to have a baby, they move over here for a couple of days, they have the baby — [the lawyers are] saying it’s not going to hold up in court.


I don’t think they have American citizenship and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers — and I know some will disagree — but many of them agree with me and you’re going to find they do not have American citizenship.

Hmmm … I wonder where his “very, very good lawyers” got their degrees, because the Fourteenth Amendment to — what is it, oh yeah –the United States Constitution says differently:

Amendment XIV, Section 1. “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.”

Now, it’s entirely possible that these Republicans are relying on U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark  which some assert muddy  the “birthright citizenship” waters somewhat. However, underneath the legal folderol, that decision actually supports birthright citizenship.

And of course the National Review has to get its two cents in, via an argument as convoluted as it is specious:

Simple legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president would be constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Uh huh.

But, merely revisiting the Fourteenth would have consequences far beyond any intended.

Because, in case we’ve all forgotten, the Fourteenth was established, in part, to reverse the 1857  Dred Scott decision so as to automatically grant millions of slaves the benefits of U.S. citizenship, and if you think that race relations in this country are fragile and tenuous now, just imagine what they would be like if there were even a debate over whether those born in the United States were in fact US citizens. After all, it isn’t only Mexican immigrants (who skew strongly Democratic) and their progeny who would be affected.

Consider if the Fourteenth Amendment were “revisited”:

  • African-Americans—With voter-suppression efforts in every presidential election since 2000, and proof of white-on-black police brutality having been established, imagine the frustration of—once again—being relegated to second-class status.

  • Hispanic-Americans—The group at whom this tactic arguably is aimed. Imagine disenfranchising a few million young, educated, angry ex-citizens.

  • Chinese-Americans—I’m certain the government of the PRC would gladly allocate more than enough resources to ensure their unwilling repatriation.

Frankly, I’m embarrassed that so many well-known individuals (the majority of whom won the approval—and votes—of thousands of my fellow citizens) are heading down this xenophobic path.

UPDATE: The roster of Republican presidential hopefuls who favor this odious proposition are—as of August 20, 2015: Donald J Trump, Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul, Se. Rick Santorum, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen Lindsay Graham.

True, there are still some candidates who remain silent or equivocal on the topic . . . but then the day is still young.