Arizona lawmakers have become famous for their anti-immigration policies that look like something out of a German propaganda film, but a new attempt to challenge the 14th Amendment of the US constitution may permanently put them in the naughty corner. What kind of person wants to keep babies from a better life?
And it looks like Arizona is not alone. If the new Arizona Senate president, Russell Pearce, has his way and is able to cease granting citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants, it could have ripple effects. Thirteen states are considering similar legislation and it's possible that we could see the end of citizenship for babies born on US soil to illegal immigrants.
"It costs $6 billion a year just the birthing of the kids in America, not counting the billions with the benefits and subsidies," Pearce said on Fox News Channel last week.
Pearce plans to unveil the bill tomorrow (January 5) in Washington, D.C., the Arizona Capital Times reports. The paper also said that lawmakers in Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah have said they want to introduce similar legislation this year.
This is highly disturbing news. Pearce makes incredibly ridiculous claims about the constitution, as though he has some kind of time machine and can commune directly with those responsible for the 1868 amendment, specifically with Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, who introduced language that would become this part of the 14th Amendment:
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.
According to Howard:
This amendment, which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.
Pearce claims that this amendment was only meant to apply to children of slaves, but, in fact, he is flat out wrong:
But if Pearce had read the debate as he claims to have done, he would know that the Senators did in fact discuss the effect of the amendment on such communities as the Chinese and Gypsies, says one blogger in Phoenix.
It's sickening and disheartening to see the way the right tries to distort and change the words of the US Constitution to suit their own needs at any given moment, but what is truly scary is the scapegoating. Yes, our country is in a financial crisis and the haves and the have-nots are more distant every day, and the people some seek to blame are those who are the youngest and most helpless. Is this really the place where we're losing the most money?
Moreover, what are we if not a country full of immigrants? You don't have to be a bleeding heart liberal to understand that most all of us can trace our roots back to immigrants at some point, so unless we want to all be sent back to wherever our great-grandparents came over from (or their great-grandparents) and give the land back to the Native-Americans, then we would do well to remember history.
Those who are struggling may be looking for someone to scapegoat, but this is just cruel. This is about real people. Real moms who came to this country to make a better life and had their children here to make better lives for them. Are these the people we want to blame for our own problems?
Never mind the fact that Pearce is wrong, which he is. And never mind the fact that we are talking about deporting children who are in school learning and were born on US soil. How do these people sleep at night? They are talking about real people.
It's sick. And sad. And wrong. They should be ashamed.
What do you think of this idea?
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