The GOP Congressional leadership (Sheldon Adelson, proprietor) is reportedly “mulling several options that would give Capitol Hill Republicans the opportunity to vent their frustration with what they view as an unconstitutional power grab by the White House — without jeopardizing the government financing bill.” [GOP seeks creative ways to avert a shutdown|Republican leaders are trying to redirect their members’ immigration rage, by Jake Sherman and Manu Raju, POLITICO.com, November 17, 2014]. At VDARE.com, we have a helpful suggestion: the House should pass legislation in the lameduck session ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegals. That should vent some frustration—and put the Democrats (birthright citizenship is massively unpopular) in a fix.
The great Laura Ingraham, who is a lawyer, just raised the birthright citizenship issue, which she said leads to “all sorts of fraud and gaming the system.” Here’s a clip of her saying that that, courtesy of the George Soros-funded Cultural Marxists at Media Matters:
The Media Matters people titled that clip Ingraham Urges GOP To Enforce Immigration Laws By Partially Repealing 14th Amendment, and they linkedto The Fourteenth Amendment's Guarantee of Birthright Citizenship, By Elizabeth Wydra, American Constitutional Society, May 14, 2009.
Salon.com, in the usual Leftist echo-chamber style, piled on with Laura Ingraham wants to change Constitution to strip immigrants’ children of citizenship, By Luke Brinker, November 17, 2014.
But this is just wrong—automatic citizenship for the children of foreigners resident in the US is not in the Fourteenth Amendment, but is only a controversial judicial interpretation, which Congress can overrule. The text of the relevant clause says that
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.
That part about “subject to the jurisdiction” excludes a number of categories, including foreign diplomats, American Indians (whose citizenship stems from the later Indian Citizenship Act of 1924) and the children of a hypothetical invading army.
Laura Ingraham was quoted by Salon:
Responding to former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, who declared on his MSNBC program that “we’re not going to go to [unauthorized immigrants'] doors and kick them down and drag them back to Mexico and China,” Ingraham embarked on a rant against what she depicted as a weak-kneed GOP.
“Oh God, my heart is sick of hearing that,” she said of Scarborough’s comments. “We could do a lot to enforce our immigration laws. We could say you can’t — like Oregon did — you can’t get driver’s licenses. We could say that you can’t get welfare and actually enforce it. We could move to end birthright citizenship in the United States, which is opening the door to all sorts of fraud and gaming the system.”
Ingraham asserted that birthright citizenship encourages migrants to come to the U.S. “just to give birth”; many conservatives have echoed that claim, employing the pejorative “anchor babies” to refer to the children of non-citizens.
“Where are the Republicans talking about this birthright citizenship thing, by the way?” Ingraham asked. “They don’t even talk about it, when we have all these people from other countries coming here just to give birth.” [Link in original].
You’ll notice that Salon insists that “anchor baby”—which means that being the parent of an American citizen child makes you hard to deport even if you are illegal—is “pejorative”; and also that the fact that people come to America to give birth is a “claim”.
It doesn’t have to be advertised in Mexico.
(Plus, of course, anything a conservative says about illegals is either a” rant,” if spoken, or a “screed,” if written. (“Screed”, a favorite hate-word with the Left, is also a favorite of NRO’s Rich Lowry—see here and here. Funny thing.)
The point here: any mention of changing the Birthright Citizenship rule makes liberals panic. Liberals, and neoconservatives—see John Podhoretz’s rant/screed on the subject, and Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson’s attack on Sen. Lindsey Graham (Scalawag-SC) in the Washington Post when Graham tried to triangulate in 2010. [On immigration, Lindsey Graham abandons principle, July 30, 2010]
Accordingly, VDARE.com has been focused on the issue from our inception. We formally dealt with the history of the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, intended to supply civil rights to former slaves after the Civil War, in Weigh Anchor! Enforce the Citizenship Clause, August 31, 2001. See our “Birthright Citizenship Reform” archives.
The well-funded Leftist group People For The American Way gave us credit/blame in an $PLC-inspired attack in 2011: Citizenship in the Balance: How Anti-Immigrant Activists Twist the Facts, Ignore History, and Flout the Constitution. (At one point in PAW’s report, it claims to be “Upholding the Constitution for all Americans.” Upholding the Constitution for all Americans—even if they aren’t American.)
What most people don’t realize is that this business of “where you’re born” doesn’t control citizenship (although Americans are familiar with it when they have children overseas, for example in Army or Navy bases in Japan or Germany—John McCain, son of an Admiral, was born in the Canal Zone.)
This goes with having an empire—it used to be common in Britain:
The principle involved is called jus sanguinis (right of blood). The principle that’s being used now is called jus soli, right of soil—see Steve Sailer’s “Birthright Citizenship” (A.K.A. Jus Soli) And The Cheating Of America.
The late Christopher Hitchens, brother of Peter, was born in Dartmouth, England, naturalized as a citizen of the US, and not particularly loyal to either country, wrote about the drone slaying of Arab terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, who was nominally a US citizen:
The United States happens also to be almost uniquely generous in conferring citizenship: making it available to all those who draw their first breath within its borders. For comparison purposes, try looking up what it takes for a person of Turkish origin born in Germany to become a citizen of the Federal Republic, or what is involved for a subject of the British “Commonwealth” in establishing that he or she has the right of residence in the United Kingdom. (In the waning days of British Hong Kong, there were actually British travel documents that did not give the bearer the right to reside in Britain.)
[Lord Haw-Haw and Anwar al-Awlaki, Slate, October 10, 2011]
Hitchens favored this killing on neoconservative anti-terrorist principles. But the point about Anwar al-Awlaki is that he was never really an American in the first place—his father was foreign student (a Fulbright Scholar) in Las Cruces, NM when al-Awlaki was born, and he left the US when he was seven to return to Yemen.
Why should his father’s student visa entitle al-Awlaki to commit terrorism without being killed? Why should anyone’s student visa entitle them to American citizenship for their children?
And the al-Awlaki case brings me to the “hypothetical invading army” I mentioned above. In 2004, I wrote a piece called “Children of an Invading Army”, pointing out that while 20th century armies tended to leave their wives at home, in the 19th century and earlier, they would bring their wives with them when they were invading, and sometimes they would give birth in an enemy country. (A little girl born June 19th, 1815 in Brussels was christened Waterloo Deacon, after the battle the British had just won.)
It would be ridiculous to suppose that the people who wrote the Fourteenth Amendment in the 1860s would have wanted to have the children of an invading army become American citizens.
And with 12-20 million illegals currently in the country, parts of the US have gone past being invaded and are now occupied.
If the GOP wanted to take advantage of its election victory, it would simply pass a law closing the anchor baby loophole before any Amnesty is considered—as I recently suggested under the name of The Anchor Baby Loophole Act of 2015.
At a stroke, this would end the electoral damage caused by Amnesty and the inevitable further illegal immigration, and it would remove a major magnet for that for that illegal immigration. (Of course, it wouldn’t end the labor market damage inflicted on American workers—but who cares about them?)
The U.S. could end up with a semi-permanent non-citizen population, which is unfortunate, but Switzerland lives with that.
James Fulford [Email him] is a writer and editor for VDARE.com.