Getting It Right On Birthright Citizenship

I was on a conference call organized by the Immigration Policy Center titled "The 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship, Discussing the History and Ramifications of Amending the Constitution." Good background link here. The panelists were Michele Waslin, Senior Policy Analyst, Immigration Policy Center (Moderator), Margaret Stock, Attorney and Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Military Police Corps, US Army Reserve, Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center, Eric Ward, National Field Director, Center for New Community, and Bill Hing, Professor of Law at University of San Francisco.

It was a good overview and the discussion was both policy based and a review of the relevant law. On the case law, of course the starting point is the 1897 case, US v. Wong Kim Ark. Also discussed was the legislative history of the 14th Amendment. A good article on that is here. I asked two questions - one was about Wong Kim Ark and its discussion of birthright citizenship as, not only being enshrined by the 14th Amendment, but also by the Constitution itself. To wit, the birthright citizenship language of the 14th Amendment was only necessary because Dred Scott put it in doubt. My second question was directed at some misinformation on the subject disseminated last night on Keith Olbermann's show by Professor Jonathan Turley:

OLBERMANN: What is the—what are the implications—are there precedents, in fact, in that Senate debate that we quoted from, when which the senator from California was asked, does that mean the son of the Chinese immigrant is an American, and he went, yes. Does that—does that have legal standing? Does the fact that the debate that preceded the 14th Amendment is clear and recorded—does that mean anything in this equation?

TURLEY: Well, it does. Now, to be fair to the other side, there have been academics that have argued that those debates have senators saying quite the opposite. And most importantly, Jacob Howard, who was author of the amendment, makes a statement on the floor where he says, this would exclude foreigners and aliens. So, the legislative history is very, very mixed in terms of what their—what the meaning was. But you also have to remember, the 14th Amendment, it wasn‘t simply after Dred Scott, to reverse that horrible decision—but it also came as a response to what were called the black codes, which are enacted in the South. And these referenced to disenfranchised blacks, and that analogy could be made in many ways to the illegal immigrants.

But the Supreme Court itself in the Plyler v. Doe case that I mentioned earlier, it strongly suggested that their view was that the language of the 14th Amendment did embrace the children of illegal aliens.

Perhaps Turley was nervous or not as prepared as he would have wanted to be, but he is simply incorrect here. Regarding the legislative history, Turley is simply wrong. And indeed, Turley's failure to mention Wong Kim Ark speaks to his unfamiliarity with the subject matter. In Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court not only addressed the issues of the legislative history of birthright citizenship in the 14th Amendment, but discussed it from its English common law roots and understanding and inclusion in the original Constitution.

Another good source for information on the legislative history is this article:

The Citizenship Clause was no legal in­novation. It simply restored the longstand­ing English common law doctrine of jus soli, or citizenship by place of birth. Although the doctrine was initially embraced in early American jurisprudence, the U.S. Supreme Court abrogated jus soli in its infamous Dred Scott decision, denying birthright citizen­ship to the descendents of slaves. Congress approved the Citizenship Clause to overrule Dred Scott and elevate jus soli to the status of constitutional law. [. . . ] Senator Jacob Howard [(R-MI)]’s brief introduction of his amendment confirmed its plain mean­ing:

Mr. 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. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Gov­ernment of the United States, but will in­clude every other class of persons.”

This understanding was universally ad­opted by other Senators. Howard’s col­leagues vigorously debated the wisdom of his amendment – indeed, some opposed it pre­cisely because they opposed extending birth­right citizenship to the children of aliens of different races. But no Senator disputed the meaning of the amendment with respect to alien children.

Senator Edgar Cowan (R-PA)—who would later vote against the entire consti­tutional amendment anyway—was the first to speak in opposition to extending birth­right citizenship to the children of foreign­ers. Cowan declared that, “if [a state] were overrun by another and a different race, it would have the right to absolutely expel them.” He feared that the Howard amend­ment would effectively deprive states of the authority to expel persons of different races—in particular, the Gypsies in his home state of Pennsylvania and the Chinese in Califor­nia—by granting their children citizenship and thereby enabling foreign populations to overrun the country. Cowan objected espe­cially to granting birthright citizenship to the children of aliens who “owe [the U.S.] no allegiance [and] who pretend to owe none,” and to those who regularly commit “trespass” within the U.S.

In response, proponents of the Howard amendment endorsed Cowan’s interpreta­tion. Senator John Conness (R-CA) re­sponded specifically to Cowan’s concerns about extending birthright citizenship to the children of Chinese immigrants:

The proposition before us … relates simply in that respect to the children begotten of Chinese parents in Califor­nia, and it is proposed to declare that they shall be citizens. … I am in favor of doing so. … We are entirely ready to accept the provision proposed in this constitutional amendment, that the children born here of Mongolian par­ents shall be declared by the Constitu­tion of the United States to be entitled to civil rights and to equal protection before the law with others.

Conness acknowledged Cowan’s dire pre­dictions of foreign overpopulation, but ex­plained that, although legally correct, Cow­an’s parade of horribles would not be real­ized, because most Chinese would not take advantage of such rights although entitled to them. He noted that most Chinese work and then return to their home country, rather than start families in the U.S. Con­ness thus concluded that, if Cowan “knew as much of the Chinese and their habits as he professes to do of the Gypsies, … he would not be alarmed.”

No Senator took issue with the consensus interpretation adopted by Howard, Cowan, and Conness. [. . .]

Speaking for me only

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    I think your first point is (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 02:44:43 PM EST
    an excellent one: Dred Scott was incorrectly decided, and citizenship by birth has always been the law of the land.

    As I said yesterday, I think the issue of 1860s floor debates is moot. The Republicans have conceded the meaning of the 14th Amendment by accepting that an additional amendment would be needed to change the law on birthright citizenship.

    For why Dred Scott was wrongly decided (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 02:55:12 PM EST
    Thank you for this explanation (none / 0) (#6)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 03:52:17 PM EST
    and the link to the Scott explanation. Very helpful.

    andgarden, did you study this is (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 06:58:29 PM EST
    PA schools?  

    [Sen. Cowan (R-Maryland)]feared that the Howard amend­ment would effectively deprive states of the authority to expel persons of different races--in particular, the Gypsies in his home state of Pennsylvania . . . .

    Regardless... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by diogenes on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:01:05 PM EST
    In any case, an AMENDMENT to the constitution excluding birthright citizenship is certainly constitutional.  A respectable minority of European countries do not allow birthright citizenship.  Perhaps it is time for an open debate on the subject.  

    I think I know what the talking points (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:09:48 PM EST

    For a group so disdainful of everything European, it is interesting to see the lock-step citation of European precedent on this issue....


    sounds great (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by CST on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:17:25 PM EST
    lets start with amendment #2.

    if we are going to follow (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by CST on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:25:24 PM EST
    the Europeans all of a sudden :)

    Why's everyone so scared? (none / 0) (#65)
    by diogenes on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:03:08 PM EST
    Why's everyone so scared of a simple debate?  Let the Republicans introduce it and let members of Congress be counted as voting for or against.  If the amendment passes, let the states be counted.
    Amend #2 also if you dare; I invite anyone to introduce the amendment and to have Congressmen, Senators, and state legislators be openly counted on that too.

    scared? (none / 0) (#67)
    by CST on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:07:04 PM EST
    Who is scared? Have at it.  Good luck with that.  I'm not worried in the least.

    Will never make it out of congress I guarantee it.  But vote if you want to.  Hello I'd like to see Scott brown on the record at least.


    The new Republican strategy (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by reslez on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:10:51 PM EST
    This is part of the new strategy developed by some elements of the Republican party and soon to become unspoken policy on the right. They know they're writing off the Hispanic/Latino vote and they don't care. Any voters from this bloc they can peel off with religious issues or "family values" are gravy. The new political calculus is to split the country along generational lines. The age 50+ demographic is mostly white and conservative and far better off than the young, multi-ethnic cohort below them. Older voters are deeply concerned about deficits. They're more likely to be concerned about preserving Social Security than education spending. It will be interesting to see if Republicans start to lean on those issues to consolidate these voters.

    Repubs also want to dismantle or gut SocSec -- (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by jawbone on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 11:56:55 AM EST
    But they've worked on contradictory goals in the past and have flimflammed their way to electoral victories. At least short term.

    Most older voters want their SocSec. Of course, the new approach is to two tier benefits, with oldest getting what they expected and younger people getting less. Which was done in the O'Neill/Reagan SocSec Fix of 1983.

    At the time, one extra year before getting full SocSec didn't seem like a problem. Now, that I was downsized and haven't been able to get a job due to health issues...seems like a really, really serious issue. As it is for many in my situation.


    A phyrric victory (none / 0) (#16)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:36:44 PM EST
    It might work in 2010.

    But not 2012 or 2016.  Texas could come into play with this recent attack on immigration and immigrants--especially the method by which so many Latinos became citizens....

    Look at how many school kids are Latinos....Whites will become a minority in many states--and it is that fear that grips many.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by reslez on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:40:50 PM EST
    I hope you're right, but it's a truism that older voters have a much higher voting participation rate than younger and poorer voters. The Republicans will continue to demonize groups that register disadvantaged voters.

    Keep an eye on anything that relates to status checks or card checks at polling booths. They'll try to get this stuff passed by leaning on the fears of older, whiter Americans ("OMG illegals voting"). Fox already pumps this on a regular basis.


    Exactly. They will keep Hispanic Catholics (none / 0) (#19)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:52:21 PM EST
    in huge numbers because of being anti-abortion.  From what I have found in talking to many and in reading about the group in general, that trumps the GOP being anti-immigration.

    Who the hell are you talking to? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:56:40 PM EST
    That is just delusional.

    Talking to Hispanics in my town (none / 0) (#77)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:03:47 AM EST
    but not yours, clearly.

    Of course, I consider anyone against women's reproductive rights to be delusional.

    However, I also consider anyone to be deluding themselves who does not understand the strength of Catholicism in towns such as mine.  But to hell with it; let the Dems delude themselves . . . despite the latest polls here. . . .


    Not a question of my town (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 06:58:26 AM EST
    Anecdotal evidence is pretty meaningless.

    Of course (none / 0) (#81)
    by Rojas on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 07:50:29 AM EST
    And we have all seen the great progressive achievements that resulted from putting a Democrat in the white house with large majorities in both houses.
    We all have our point of view. My experience is that Pedro and Bubba share a similar view of the eastern establishment.

    Of course re anecdotal evidence. But data (none / 0) (#89)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:13:25 PM EST
    on the number of Hispanic voters -- those legally citizens, actually registering to vote, and then actually going to the polls -- would suggest that their vote will be meaningless in my town and state, too.  

    That, however, would seem to be contradicted by the crusade of the new, extremely conservative archbishop who has pushed out the most liberal Hispanic priest and others of his political ilk.

    So, even though anecdotal and quantitative evidence would suggest that it is a waste of time to discuss the Hispanic vote beyond the coasts, I still find it worthwhile to discuss -- and not just on blogs.  Those of you on the coasts, of course, understandably may see us differently.  


    Colorado is not the coast (none / 0) (#102)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 08:04:05 PM EST
    And yet, I would venture that the immigration issue here will trump the religious institution directives. Anecdotal. At least among would-be voters. 'Hope I'm not being too optimistic.
    Things do cut lots of different ways.

    Latino Catholics (none / 0) (#25)
    by waldenpond on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:16:26 PM EST
    (or however religiously conservative) that will vote Republican because they are anti-abortion and anti-gay seem to me to be a pretty small group.  Maybe the shift to Repubs will be higher once immigration passes as I expect it will include some type of amnesty and that issue won't be on the table for that group.. but huge?  I don't think so.

    Cream, it doesn't work that way (none / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:19:36 PM EST
    Latinos in California are very reliable Democrats....

    Even when they have run the anti-choice initiatives here (for parental notification), Latinos still supported Democratic candidates....The initiatives did not drive up a hidden conservative Latino vote....


    Uh, whatever works in California (none / 0) (#78)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:05:05 AM EST
    is not the way it works out here.

    Mexico City just legalized abortion (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:23:12 PM EST
    Abortion does not drive many Latino votes....

    This is why Rove wanted immigration reform.  He knew Latinos are the key to any majority in this country.  And he knew he could not get their votes just by being anti-choice.

    This has been the never-realized pipe dream of conservatives for years.  And the Latinos more and more vote for Democrats--especially younger Latinos....


    Me (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by jondee on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:28:49 PM EST
    Im just enjoying (in some ways) the hell out of watching these "anchor baby" phobic types flailing around and desperately trying to appear relevant after screwing up everything they laid their hands on for eight years.

    Alan Keyes is Calls the Repeal the 14th Folks Nuts (5.00 / 5) (#28)
    by msaroff on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:19:53 PM EST
    And when Alan Keyes calls you crazy, you've really gone around the bend.

    Poor long suffering (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by kmblue on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:48:06 PM EST
    white BTAL.  Keep up the good fight against those helpless children.  You might lose something if you don't.

    See #54 below n/t (none / 0) (#55)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:50:59 PM EST
    I doubt seriously if this issue will go anywhere (none / 0) (#2)
    by Saul on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 02:51:05 PM EST
    They can debate the issue on the "jurisdiction there of" but I don't see any movement  especially with the very high requirements needed to pass an amendment to the constitution

    What I do understand is why the Rep want to talk about this now when it just turning Hispanics against voting for them in future elections.  Don't they see the political consequences of pushing this

    Democrats are perceived as weak (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 03:14:20 PM EST
    So, without a strong Demcocratic Party, you have the oddball extremists come out of their hiding places.

    If the unemployment rate were lower, you would not see this push against immigrants.  One, people would not look for a scapegoat, and, two,  Democrats would have prevented this stuff from happening.

    The Arizona stuff sprung forth because Napolitano was no longer Governor and able to veto this crap.  A power vacuum that allowed the wingers to scurry forth created this mess....


    And the answer to that would be....... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 03:15:09 PM EST
    Apparently not.  They're playing to their right-wing, Tea-Party-leaning base.

    This is not a new issue (none / 0) (#7)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 03:56:23 PM EST
    Carter proposed a policy and bill to strengthen the borders and strengthen penalties on illegal immigration.  

    As to jus soli, several democracies to include the UK and India have all changed their laws to a modified-jus soli within the last 20+ years to deal with immigration issues.  Reports are only 16% of the world's nations continue with pure jus soli based immigration/citizenship systems.

    So European legal precedent is (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:02:33 PM EST
    acceptable to you?

    The purpose of the UK (none / 0) (#12)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:16:22 PM EST
    reference is the repeated reliance of English Common Law as the basis defending US birthright citizenship.

    Did you miss the India reference?  How does Australia fit into a European precedent?


    Sure, the concept (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:31:49 PM EST
    originated in Medievel England.

    But the idea of our following English Common Law is different than what you might think.  

    The general principle is that the U.S. follows the English Common Law in effect in 1789 (or 1776) except as later modified by our courts.  Our law since then has diverged, obviously.

    None more pronounced a difference between us and the Brits than perhaps First Amendment Law.

    That you conservatives are all happy to quote the European (and Britain qualifies as European, no?) socialists on anything is, well... unreal.  But I have learned the new conservative script....

    Why not quote French law too--after the Revolution, they abandoned birthright citizenship too.  But the French are famous chauvinists, no?

    The U.S. is unique in its religious liberty, First Amendment freedoms and in several other respects.  No need to lower the bar because irrational fear grips others....


    The British Bill of Rights of 1689 (none / 0) (#17)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:42:46 PM EST
    established several of the same protections as our Bill of Rights.  Again, the reference to the UK was specific to the English Common Law references, even you have posted as the basis for birthright citizenship.

    Again, the list of countries/democracies that have modified their jus solis laws span the globe and are not just European centric.

    As for quoting European/British socialists, Margaret Thatcher for example is far from a socialist.  I had the pleasure of living for four years in the UK during the Thatcher premiership.  It was inspiring to watch the positive transformation of Britain from the previous regime.


    Our Fourteenth (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:51:35 PM EST
    Amendment came at very high price and is at the heart of what it means to be an American.  We built on English Common Law.  So our tradition goes way back....

    To change the rules because of irrational fear of and bigotry against Latinos is wrong imo.

    And at least some of the countries you mention are quite clear they are worried about losing their culture.  I think that is what motivates those who oppose birtright citizenship--fear of being overrun by "them."

    But knock yourself out.  You guys are just clueless when it comes to Latinos....and African Americans....and other minorities.  There is a reason not many minorities are Republicans.

    Thatcher got rid of socialized medicine?


    Yes the price paid for the 14th was quite (none / 0) (#22)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:03:53 PM EST
    high and very un-American in its methods used for ratification.

    The immigration issue is not a race issue no matter how many times it is repeated.  I don't care what color an immigrant may be, just that they follow the rules.

    Thatcher eliminated socialized housing and privatized telecommunications, utilities, transportation, auto manufacturers, etc.  The NHS was untouchable at that time but more access to private (BUPA) insurance was experienced.


    That would be the entry and naturalization rules. (none / 0) (#23)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:04:18 PM EST
    The Fourteenth Amendment (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:13:40 PM EST
    was "un-American" in the methods used for ratification?

    Please explain.  It sounds as if you have a problem with the Fourteenth Amendment.   I know it is not a favorite of conservatives, but still.

    Who owns the BBC?

    Immigration issues are all about ethnicity imo.  Nothing else explains the irrational fear and Latino bashing that accompanies this discussion.


    Thisis not an outlandish claim (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:16:41 PM EST
    The Southern states that ratified it were forced to do so in order to be readmitted into the Union.

    The Reconstruction Act of 1867 (1.00 / 1) (#30)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:23:33 PM EST
    was one of the most abhorrent acts ever enacted in the US.



    Uhhh what???? (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:30:18 PM EST
    That's insane and offensive.

    Offensive? (none / 0) (#38)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:59:34 PM EST
    As President Johnson phrased it:

    ... this tactic absolute despotism, the likes of which had not been exercised by any British monarch for more than 500 years.

    Another quote by a Republican congressman of the time called that the purpose "was to coerce Southern legislators to vote for the amendment at the point of a bayonet"

    The southern states had already been reintroduced to the union.  Then martial law as declared and Senators and Representatives from those states were prohibited from being seated until those states ratified the 14th.  

    As an attorney, you don't think that is abhorrent?  

    At least two, OH and NJ withdrew their support/ratification based on the actions resulting from the Reconciliation Act.


    What are you talking about (none / 0) (#35)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:34:51 PM EST
    I understand BTD's historic perspective....but you have a couple of comments now that show quite a sympathy for the Confederacy....

    I am not sure if you have absorbed some talking points somewhere without due consideration....

    Most abhorent.....?   What was so abhorent about it?


    That comments was nuts (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:37:05 PM EST
    Wrongheaded, bad policy, whatever you like. But abhorrent? That's just disgusting to say.

    See comment #35 (none / 0) (#39)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 06:01:56 PM EST
    I am not a pro-confederacy person.  Was born in OH and have lived in many states above and below and beyond the Mason-Dixon.

    The enactment of martial law as the "gun to the head" of any state, anywhere, is disgusting.


    Oh my, I thought that was what you meant (none / 0) (#31)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:27:01 PM EST
    An opponent of the War of Northern Agression could not have said it better....

    And I thought that the Fourteenth Amendment was considered sacred by almost everyone.  Not anymore.  Who are the real radicals here?

    The attack on the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment--clearly an effort to delegitimzie it.  Who else believes this?


    I love the 14th Amendment (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:31:57 PM EST
    But it was not you normal ratification process.

    But standing against it now is racist.

    Simple as that.


    Now that is abhorrent. (none / 0) (#76)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 10:40:27 PM EST
    Never mind..... (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 05:27:54 PM EST
    Refer also to Utah's admission to statehood (none / 0) (#101)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 07:45:47 PM EST
    So what is (4.67 / 3) (#20)
    by Warren Terrer on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 04:54:20 PM EST
    your point? That the UK parliament has the power to modify the common law that was inherited by the US? It does not.

    Let me get this straight (none / 0) (#42)
    by Slado on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 07:19:18 PM EST
    Because I think the issue of anchor babies should be up for debate I'm a racist?

    I'm confused.  

    The instant playing of the race card shows how weak BTD's political position on this is.

    Do you really think the average American supports the right of an illegal immigrants to have an anchor baby?

    That is of course the extreme example.  The argument should be about how far do we want to take this not whether or not anchor babies are legitimate US citizens.

    They're not. Simple as that.  The issue is how many people are we talking about and how big a problem is this?   If it's 50 people a year then I'd ask Mr. Graham to pipe down because we've got bigger issues.

    But when BTD plays the race card I get my gander up and am almost willing to go to bat over just one anchor baby.

    Save the race card for an aplicable subject.  If you honestly believe that anchor babies are a good thing then just say so.   Do not hide behind the shield of racism.

    ANCHOR BABY ANCHOR BABY (5.00 / 5) (#43)
    by andgarden on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 07:45:20 PM EST

    Do we also address the scourge of anchor bank accounts? Anchor plane tickets?

    For the record, yes: I believe that anyone who brings up the discussion of "anchor babies" is either a racist or intent on using racism for political purposes.

    It's no different from "welfare queen."


    Yeah, but (none / 0) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:19:33 AM EST
    it gets his "gander" up, so we need to cut him some slack.

    Fits in with Sen. Lindsey Graham's description of (none / 0) (#105)
    by jawbone on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 11:58:38 AM EST
    women "dropping kids" in the US for their citizenship.



    "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled (none / 0) (#106)
    by jawbone on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 12:04:27 PM EST
    masses yearning to be free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    Just don't drop no anchor babies on my soil!


    Five "anchor babys" in a single (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by jondee on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:01:43 PM EST
    post. That has to be the record so far.

    At the moment, and I hope forever (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by kmblue on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:42:08 PM EST
    children born on U.S. soil (with the exception of the children of diplomats) are U.S. citizens.
    Your saying that so called "anchor babies" are not U.S. citizens does not make it so.

    above (none / 0) (#52)
    by kmblue on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:45:32 PM EST
    addressed to Slado.

    curious (none / 0) (#74)
    by efm on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:27:06 PM EST
    Just curious why children of diplomats are not given U.S. Citizenship?

    I would guess because (none / 0) (#84)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 11:24:23 AM EST
    diplomatic missions are considered the soil of that country. Hence, diplomats don't actually reside in the host country. Same thing if you're born on a US military installation overseas. You are considered to be on US soil, not the host country.

    All babies are beautiful... (5.00 / 4) (#82)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 08:48:25 AM EST
    and all the beautiful babies born within our imaginary lines are as American as you, me, and god damn apple pie Slado. With or without this "anchor" prefix...the proof is in where their cute little feet first hit the ground.  American soil = American.

    So yeah...I got no problem with babies having the same shot to have a go of it here in America that we all have....why the hell not?  I need to see some real problems being caused by these infants before a debate is even necessary, nevermind a god damn amendment to the constitutuion.


    Last time I checked (none / 0) (#98)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 05:03:54 PM EST
    Babies can't live on their own.

    The real issue is does having a baby give an illegal immigrant a better shot at citizenship.

    That's the real rub.


    What answer have you found? (none / 0) (#109)
    by Jack E Lope on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 12:38:26 PM EST
    What answer have you found to the question you pose: "...does having a baby give an illegal immigrant a better shot at citizenship"?

    I think that in most cases the answer is "NO", because a US citizen must be of major age to sponsor a relative for resident status - so a civil-rule-breaking immigrant having a baby on US soil is more likely trying to give that child a leg up than to be looking forward to ~20 years of hiding.

    That can be reduced to ~10 years with good behavior - plus the legal resources for a "cancellation of removal", via immigration form EOIR-42B and a hearing before an immigration judge.

    However, since quotas have led to wait times for legal immigration sometimes exceeding 20 years, "YES" the baby born on US soil might give a shot at getting permanent resident status sooner than waiting in the quota line.

    Is the "real rub" that having a baby may help someone achieve legal residence in 10 years instead of 20 years?  That someone might become a citizen in 15 years instead of 25 years?


    BTAL (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 11:22:04 AM EST
    Would you really punish an innocent baby with something as serious as a loss of citizenship because of the actions of the mother? (fathers are irrelevant to this discussion)

    How is the baby being punished? (none / 0) (#86)
    by BTAL on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 11:30:52 AM EST
    Is a punishment for a [insert country here] baby to have the citizenship of its parent(s)?  Is it punishment to be a citizen of [insert country here]?

    If you kick a baby out (none / 0) (#93)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 02:29:02 PM EST
    Of the country where he/she is born and should have the rights that go along with that event, don't you think that's penalizing them?

    In a modified jus soli system (none / 0) (#94)
    by BTAL on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 03:19:57 PM EST
    they carry the citizenship of their parent(s).   Only in a pure jus soli system does location complicate the issue in regards to immigration status of the parents.  A version of a modified jus soli system could allow for preferred status for the child upon reaching the age of majority.

    do not come to this country permanently, in my experience.

    I would think it would be a penalty for the baby when Mexican citizen parents return to Mexico but with babies who are not also Mexican citizens.

    Though, perhaps, citizenship may not be nearly as important in daily life in Mexico as it is here, or maybe it depends on their social strata...


    Interesting results when you search the (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by BTAL on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 03:48:20 PM EST
    Wiki Mexican Constitution page for "citizen".

    Quite restrictive in some areas.

    Only chose Mexico to respond directly to your point.


    I'm not saying a child (none / 0) (#97)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 05:01:26 PM EST
    born to people who are here legally should not be citizens.

    I'm only saying the question of whether or not babies born of people in the country illegally is up for debate.

    I can be convinced otherwise but calling me racist for even suggesting otherwise is pathetic.

    Also I find it hypocritical that people would suffer the little children when they had no problem sending Elian back to Cuba.

    Is he better off?

    Why didn't he deserve to stay?

    If the child gets to stay American what about his parents?  Do they get to stay too?


    If so-called "anchor babies" are not (none / 0) (#108)
    by Jack E Lope on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 11:39:59 AM EST
    ...US citizens, doesn't that mean they are NOT subject to the jurisdiction of US laws?  Aren't they immune, as are diplomats from the country of which they are citizens?

    A question to BTD regarding the racist (none / 0) (#46)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:10:56 PM EST

    In regards to how the 14th was ratified via the Reconstruction Act of 1867:

    Is it your position that the majority can put the jack boot on the the throat of the minority as long as the end justifies the means?

    Good Lord BTAL (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by kmblue on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:44:28 PM EST
    The North won the war.  Do you suppose the South would have willingly given slaves citizenship?  To the victor, etcetera.

    I was reading his post (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by jondee on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:54:59 PM EST
    that way too, but I kept thinking "that cant be what he's saying"..

    In context, that "boot on the throat of the minority" sounds like an excerpt from a speech by some unreconstructed cracker pol in the 1860s.


    Cute but no cigar jondee (none / 0) (#61)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:58:17 PM EST
    Good Lord kmblue (none / 0) (#54)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:49:33 PM EST
    Are you in the camp that anything the majority wants then they can put the jackboot on the throat of the minority to justify their ends?

    Really, it causes me to shake my head to see liberals jumping on the bandwagon of how the 14th was passed, especially in a national discussion relating to the inequities of the minority.



    Excuse me? (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by kmblue on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:55:50 PM EST
    I repeat, the North won the war.  The South was unwilling to let former slaves have equal rights.
    Actually, it took until the Civil Rights Act in the freakin' sixties for that to change.
    I don't think we were too rough on the poor dears.
    Your mileage may vary.
    I wish you luck in your frantic attempt to deny everyone you can the rights you as a U.S. citizen enjoy.
    Fear is an ugly thing.

    there was a war (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by CST on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:57:20 PM EST
    Fought over this.  Your other arguments do not apply.  When there is a war, generally speaking the victor decides the rules.  That has nothing to do with a majority imposing its will in a democracy.  War is not democratic.  The north won the war, they made the rules.  The British find't have much of a say post-revolution either.  The south got more than that.  But you can't compare a war to the regular democratic process.

    Geezus (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:53:52 PM EST
    The South fought for slavery and you found the Reconstruction Act to be the most abhorrent aspect of the era? Really???? I mean reallly?????

    Keep jousting at the windmills BTD (none / 0) (#59)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:57:10 PM EST
    Slavery was only part of the political issue regarding the civil war and we both know that.

    States rights was the other half.

    Historical revisionism is not pretty nor honest no matter which side of the aisle is attempting the effort.


    Even if that were true (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 08:59:48 PM EST
    and it isn't, the most abhorrent thing was the Reconstruction Act, NOT the slavery thing?



    I see you have chosen to ignore the question (none / 0) (#66)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:04:14 PM EST
    regarding the imposition of martial law to justify the end.

    Please explain just how far would you be prepared to go to achieve your goals?  

    That sir, is the consummate example of statism (for a better and less controversial choice of words).


    I have not ingored it (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:08:12 PM EST
    Indeed, when you first broached the process by which the 14th Amendment was adopted, I actually supported your factual point.

    I took exception to your idea that the Reconstruction Act was the most abhorrent aspect of the era.

    Surely you MUST agree that slavery was the most abhorrent aspect of the era.


    Yes you did acknowlede the original comment (none / 0) (#70)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:12:15 PM EST
    and I thank you for that.

    In my comments, I have not once taken the position that slavery was less evil than the 14th ratification process.  Yes, it was evil, but at least the founders were up front with their original biases with the 3/5th provision.

    The Reconstruction Act was deliberate pure evilness.  


    Your last line is just absurd (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:18:14 PM EST
    Was the 3/4 piece in the Constitution more formalistically correct? Of course.

    Was it morally repugnant? Yes. Was slavery? Yes.

    Was the Reconstruction Act? Absolutely not.

    Do the ends justify the means? Of course not.

    But comparing the ends morally, there is no comparison. Simply no comparison.

    One last point - Dred Scott was not only morally repugnant, it was formalistically repugnant. Just as was Calhoun's "popular sovereignty."

    It was a repugnant means to forward a repugnant end.


    states rights (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by CST on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:00:31 PM EST
    Like the right to have slaves.

    But you know I'm sure that was just a side note.  Unless you were a slave of course.


    and to kmblue below (none / 0) (#69)
    by BTAL on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:08:51 PM EST
    Where in my comments have I taken any position in support of slavery?  

    If you take the time to read, my position has been clearly stated that the federalist/statist control of congress after the civil war was an abomination of the spirit and intent of the Constitution.  

    With that position, those here immediately cast me as a racist.  That is a sad state of affairs.  



    I argued (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by kmblue on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:17:08 PM EST
    with your statement that slavery was only fifty percent of the issue that caused the Civil War, and that state's rights were the other half.  That is nonsense, period.

    Yup (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by kmblue on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:01:39 PM EST
    the state's rights to own slaves.

    BTAL, you are desperate.  
    Come live in Atlanta, where I reside, and learn a little history.  
    I live among people who advance the state's rights argument every day.  It's nonsense, and it's always been nonsense.


    "States rights" lol (5.00 / 5) (#71)
    by jondee on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 09:12:44 PM EST
    as it related to primarily to the slavery issue and little else..

    Though, there was that time when the South was suddenly against states rights, when it was a matter of having fugitive slaves returned to them..

    Jesus H Christ on a popsicle stick BTAL, you're not one of those neo-confederates are you?    


    Yeah skippy. (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 11:26:30 AM EST
    States rights to continue slavery. Like it or not, it was all about slavery. The states rights issue is a red herring because the bottom line is, the right they wanted was to continue slavery.

    Any argument that the civil war was 100% (none / 0) (#87)
    by BTAL on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 11:36:15 AM EST
    slavery based is only to the high school level.

    To take a position that the north was the saviors of the oppressed slaves shows a lack of the history of the time.  

    Some need to research the laws and constitutions of the northern states in their treatment of slaves and blacks.  Specifically in regards the areas of immigration, economics and freedoms.  IL, IN and OH were some of the worse offenders.


    the fact that (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by CST on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:11:03 PM EST
    some of the reasons the north did not like slavery were not always pure (didn't want to compete with free labor), and the fact that many areas in the north treated blacks despicably (sundown towns - based on the states you mentioned) does not change the fact that the primary disagreement that caused the south to secede was slavery.  And "states rights" in this case means the right to own slaves.

    I don't see anyone arguing that the north had clean hands in all of this, or that there weren't horrible racists in the north.  But to pretend the civil war was about something else is obsurd.


    MKS (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:14:11 PM EST
    posited the other day that most political conservatism was a veneer laid over and designed to conform to a dogmatic religious foundation. I find myself wondering on occasion how much of the religious foundation is another veneer laid over the desire to refight the civil war..

    Maybe (5.00 / 3) (#92)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:17:45 PM EST
    Any argument that the civil war was 100% slavery based is only to the high school level.

    Of course, maybe that's why you're the only one making that particular argument.


    Would the "slavery was a minor issue" (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Jack E Lope on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 11:33:57 AM EST
    argument be on the high-school-that-uses-Texas-approved-textbooks level?

    Of course, more correctly, I like to call it (none / 0) (#91)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 12:16:59 PM EST
    as it was: the case of Dred and Harriet Robinson Scott.  (Her basis for the freedom suit also was fascinating.)

    Anchor Babies (none / 0) (#99)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 05:09:57 PM EST

    Apparently the problem is worse then I thought.

    Again, I'm not saying the rules should be changed.  Just that it's worth some thought.

    Also, save me the hysterics over the term.

    Try linking (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by kmblue on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 05:45:43 AM EST
    to a more credible source.

    I've been googling around (none / 0) (#100)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 06:47:20 PM EST
    and have found no other sources that estimate the size of the problem, so I've found no corroboration of the numbers cited in that article, but in general I have an issue with benefits accrued through illegal activities. Call me crazy.