Thursday, November 17, 2005
Our Newest Op Ed
- By Warner Todd Huston
You may have heard the term "anchor baby"? This term is used by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to describe babies born within the borders of the USA, its territories and protectorates to foreign nationals, babies that are then used by these illegal immigrants to gain access to US social services as well as entry into the country.
As things stand today, any child born within US territory is an automatic citizen. And, since we are a compassionate people, we cannot just have babies running around as citizens without allowing their parents some legitimacy, even if shadowy, to live in the US to raise and support that child. Hence, the "anchor" part of the moniker. Illegals have babies to make sure that they are allowed to stay in this great country more often than is comfortable, for sure.
Congress may be re-visiting this concept and looking toward taking away the automatic part of being born a citizen for some, instituting stricter guidelines..........
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Tell you what, though. I am being beat up by some anti-immigrant conservatives on some other sites over THIS one, I hate to say!
Being called an "open borders advocate", which I am most assuredly NOT!
The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to protect the rights of native-born Black Americans, whose rights were being denied as recently-freed slaves. In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard clearly spelled out the intent of the 14th Amendment by writing:
"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. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country."
It also seems to me that, despite claims to the contrary, since specifics are NOT in the Constitution, you are still left parsing the word "jurisdiction".
But all this is still beside my original point, even if I am somewhat wrong (or at least conceivably wrong in a legalist debate on parsing the word "jurisdiction"), we are still running away from the border issue.
I say FIX the border problem, and this temporary citizenship issue will cure itself.
Lastly, this whole thing is a problem because of overweening, cradle to the grave social programs, NOT birth OR Constitutional issues. If those programs didn’t exist, people wouldn’t be falling all over themselves to HAVE "anchor babies" in the first place!
So, you are left in the unenviable position of attacking the Constitution and IGNORING the border and the over socialist social programs.
1) aggressively target employers who pad their bottom lines by exploiting desperate people. The biggest obstacle to this though is the 'campaign contribution'.....Just like human smuggling and drug trafficking, lobbying is an industry unto itself...especially for those who don't care to shut off the flow of cheap labor.
2) use the military......of course, there's no practical humane way to stop millions of people from just showing up, however the 4th Amendment says that the federal govt. has a responsibility to protect each of the states against invasion. With that being said though, see #1 above to make this option more effective.
3) guest-worker program....However, again this is open to more fraud and abuse by the lobbying industry. People who are making a bundle either from the human trafficking itself or the savings from exploitable, cheap labor will eventually get to those who would be responsible for controlling & enforcing it. With that being said though, there are some industries that clearly have labor shortages and should have the right to import people, but shouldn't abuse this right to drive down everyone's wages by saying that they can't find anyone (who incidentally won't work for 50 cents a day) to work.
As for Senator Howard and the wording of the 14th Amendment....Again I ask, what if he had left the other part out and it read:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, 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 life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
So what difference does it make from the way that you already interpret it? Strictly speaking from a logic standpoint, then it would have to make some sort of difference.....If I said that I have "apples AND oranges", would you interpret that to mean that I only have apples?......
Still, I agreed with a whole lot of your proposals for that "fix" of the border.
As to your question about apples and oranges:
You wonder why they put the word "jurisdiction" in the Constitutional amendment if it didn't "mean" anything. But you are assuming that YOUR interpretation of the word INCLUDES the parsing that I was referring to in my original article.
That is where our argument arises. I never SAID the word was meaningless or that the amendment is read the same with or without it, so you are making a strawman argument here. The question comes down to what, if anything, does "jurisdiction" mean in the context of the Constitution.
However, I can grant you that the original Senator meant that "illegals" wouldn't be covered. Though, I see no proposal that would have delineated WHO really WAS even in the Senator's original quote. He is just as vague in his off-amendment language as we was in the amendment itself, unfortunately!
I am glad we are able to have this discussion, though. It is a necessary thing to clarify what we want as a nation, for sure. I guess my biggest lament is that we continue to put band-aides on fingers when the arm has about fallen off!
But this is a reach that strains credulity for a constructionist such as myself. (After all, a child born of perfectly patriotic parents might grow up to be the next Michael Moore!)
One more comment on this....
As a constructionist, then you should appreciate the fact that the founding fathers left the provision in to change the Constitution periodically through the use of amendments to address the concerns of ever-changing times. Because of this provision, then it remains a very flexible document and there is nothing there that can never be altered and/or appended to. An example of this is the Volstead Act of 1920 (aka "Prohibition" or the 18th Amendment), which was later repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. So it is not without precedent for previous amendments to either be repealed completely or to be redefined.
In the case of the interpretation of "jurisdiction", then the Congress is perfectly within its right to specify the appropriate interpretation (whatever that may be) if it so chooses so long as it reflects the overwhelming will of the people of the United States of America. I am somewhat like you in that I would not care for the fact that another constitutional amendment would have to be drafted to repeal the 14th Amendment because of its "vague" and "ambiguous" language and replaced with a newer version to reflect modern times....However, given the fact that this particular issue has national security implications, then if it were to come to that conclusion, then I would be all for it.
As you said, that child of patriotic parents could grow up to be the next Michael Moore.....but even worse...that child could grow up to be the next Mohammad Atta!
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