The House Republicans announced today (January 7) that Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) would assume the chair of the immigration subcommittee. Gallegly has a solid voting record with a career A rating from NumbersUSA. But he is not the outspoken fighter that Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is. King had been the ranking Republican in the committee when the GOP as in the minority and most observers assumed that he would be chair.
It could matter. Just this week, on the day the Republican Congress was sworn in, King introduced his Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011. This would clarify the meaning of the 14th Amendment to ensure that automatic citizenship is only granted to the children of American citizens and legal permanent residents.
King's bill marked the first chance that immigration patriots have had to go onto the strategic offensive for some fifteen years. Ending Birthright Citizenship would sharply reduce the pace of the Emerging Democratic Majority—and Reconquista. The Treason Lobby has been in unmistakable panic.
Birthright Citizenship a.k.a. the "anchor baby" issue was viewed as on the fringe of the patriotic immigration reform movement as recently as a year ago. (Naturally, this did not stop VDARE.com posting its first major examination of the issue back in 2001). Reform legislation has been regularly introduced over the last two decades by Congressman Nathan Deal, who was just elected Governor of Georgia, and would usually receive approximately 100 co-sponsors. These efforts were heroic, but they went nowhere. When the Republicans were in power (1994-2006), they did nothing to advance the legislation. More recently, the Democrats of course blocked it.
Suddenly, however, Birthright Citizenship has come to the forefront of Republican politics, on both the state and local level. One early proponent, for reasons that merit further explanation, was Senator Lindsey Graham (Scalawag-SC), long the Democrats' favorite token Republican supporter of Comprehensive Immigration Reform a.k.a. amnesty. And, also this week, State Legislators for Legal Immigration just held a press conference with State Reps and Senators from Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah at which Kris Kobach, who helped write Arizona's SB 1070, unveiled model state-level legislation allowing for the issuance of separate birth certificates to children of legal and non-legal residents. This would define those who are automatic citizens because they are "subject to the jurisdiction" of the U.S.—and force the courts and Congress to take up the issue.
Gallegly did have seniority over King. And King is vice-chairman of subcommittee on Immigration, so he will still have some say in advancing the bill.
But whether or not the Birthright Citizenship bill finally gets voted on in this Congress will now be likely be up to Judiciary Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX.)
Rep Smith has long been very solid on the immigration issue. He's a veteran of the late lamented Smith-Simpson Bill embodying the recommendations of the Jordan Commission, the last strategic initiative by immigration patriots, blocked by Republican saboteurs like Spencer Abraham and the Wall Street Journal Edit Page in 1996. He encouraged Tom Tancredo to form the Immigration Reform Caucus and introduced other measures to drastically curb legal immigration in the past.
Recently, however, Smith has indicated that stopping Birthright Citizenship is not currently the top of his agenda. Last week, The Hill reported on Smith's priorities, which focused on E-Verify:
"Smith — an immigration hard-liner who will head the House Judiciary Committee next year — has said his first two immigration-related hearings will focus on work-place enforcement and E-verify, a program allowing employers to check the legal status of potential hires.
"'They are what I call '70 percent' issues — 70 percent or more of the American people support those efforts,' Smith told Politico last week.
"Still, those efforts are tamer than proposals Smith and King have championed in the past, including a bill empowering states to become their own immigration enforcers and another overturning the long-held interpretation of the 14th Amendment as granting citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal residents.
"'We don't have any specific plans now in the early months to move on these issues,' Smith said. 'The focus is on creating jobs and protecting jobs.'" [Bleak Prospects for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Near Future, by Mike Lillis, December 30, 2010]
Of course, an anti-unemployment immigration moratorium would be the ultimate way of "creating jobs and protecting jobs". But let's not go there right now.
The Politico piece cited in The Hill's story quoted both herbivorous Beltway immigration patriots and Open Borders Republicans praising Smith's moderation. For example, Alfonso Aguilar of the pro-amnesty Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles: "People like to really vilify Lamar Smith, but he is not Tom Tancredo. He is someone who will not push legislation if he thinks it doesn't have the wide support of the American people." [Lamar Smith avoids hard line on immigration, by Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico, December 23, 2010]
And Politico quoted Center for Immigration Studies' Steve Camarota:
"Camarota said he believes Smith is enough of a dealmaker that he might even consider a modified DREAM Act [Washington Watcher Note: No doubt referring to CIS chief Mark Krikorian's DREAM Act 2.0] legalizing young immigrants, if it was coupled with a cut in legal immigration and stronger enforcement — although pro-immigrant advocates would be all but certain to dismiss it as a bad deal.
"'He is a very cautious guy, personally and politically,' Camarota said. 'Every time I have talked with him, all of his staffers, he is a very careful guy. Contrast that with someone like Steve King, who is willing to say what is on his mind.'"
(To his credit, Camarota said that Smith needed to address cutting legal immigration).
I personally respect Rep. Smith, and accept that he is doing what he believes is in the best interest of the American nation and its workers. He seems to be saying that some moderate reforms, such as improving E-Verify, could actually get passed and make a difference. He's apparently concerned that focusing on Birthright Citizenship or legal immigration may keep that from happening. (And, on another front, he's bravely begun investigating the Black Panther voter intimidation scandal).
Nevertheless, I believe this strategy is misguided. Contra Aguilar, the American people oppose Birthright Citizenship. It is not quite a 70-30 issue, but according to Rasmussen it's pretty close, at 58-33. And if a few prominent politicians articulately explain their opposition to this somewhat arcane constitutional glitch, I'm sure the percentage will go up.
More importantly, I find it pretty unlikely that even the most modest immigration control measures would make it to a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate. And there is no way Obama would sign them
So I believe that, for the next two years, the best thing the House can do is force every single Congressman in the House to go on record on ending birthright citizenship, E-Verify, state enforcement, and an immigration moratorium.
Yes, these bills will be unlikely to become laws. But they will draw the battle lines for 2012.
The Politico article included this significant prediction:
" If Smith takes too long to get to the more controversial policies, he could be squeezed by his party's conservative wing, which is anxious to make progress on issues that have been stalled while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held the gavel.
"The GOP's incoming freshman class includes dozens of members who ran on strict immigration limits, and they may not be willing to settle for a muted approach."
Regardless of whether or not the House votes on Birthright Citizenship, the State Legislators for Legal Immigration press conference makes it clear many states are going to take the issue on—and in this dynamic way, deliberately inviting political and legal confrontation.
As VDARE.com reported, a group of Open Borders protestors disrupted the press conference. Clearly not understanding—or willing to admit—that they are objectively on the same side as the Chamber of Commerce and Big Business, they demanded to know who were the "corporate backers" of the legislation.
In a shameful and intentional misrepresentation, the New York Times implied that the patriotic immigration reformers were violent
"A brief scuffle erupted when a man who was a supporter of the state initiatives seized one protester by the arm and tried to march him out of the room. Also present were supporters of the lawmakers, who clapped and cheered." [State Lawmakers Outline Plans to End Birthright Citizenship, Drawing Outcry, by Julia Preston, January 5, 2010]
The concept is clearly foreign to the New York Times.
Roll Call/CQ's Congress.org described the protestors more accurately as "interrupting" and "disrupting" the event and said they were "escorted" from the room.
It's worth noting that Congress.org saw the protestors' actions as motivated by frustration:
"The defensive moves are an about turn for immigration activists who spent the last year aggressively pushing for immigrant-friendly legislation. Now, they find themselves trying to stave off efforts such as the one to restrict birthright citizenship." [Immigration groups switch to defense, by Ambreen Ali, January 5, 2011]
This is an important point. The goalposts have indeed been moved dramatically in the direction of patriotic immigration reform.
We most remember: Whether it ultimately gets done in the U.S. Congress, the States, or both, the progress that has been made on Birthright Citizenship reform in the last year is nothing short of inspiring.
"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.