On Tuesday, Tucker Carlson opined that the upcoming election in a few days is turning out to be a referendum on immigration which is very consequential indeed.
The vote is being framed partially by a debate on birthright citizenship because President Trump has challenged the long held interpretation of the 14th Amendment. The question of meaning resides in the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction of” written by Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan which is now under overdue scrutiny.
Tucker Carlson Tonight, Transcript, October 30, 2018
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Good evening and welcome to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Just a week to go from tonight until the midterms and Election Day is finally becoming a referendum on something that really matters, immigration. Who gets to live here? What does citizenship mean? What kind of country do we want? These are not small incidental questions, which you are watching is not an argument about Russian Facebook ads or Stormy Daniels or her creepy lawyer or some other diversion designed to prevent you from thinking clearly. These are core debates. These are the arguments that every functioning democracy must have and yet ours rarely does.
Consider the question of birthright citizenship. Under current interpretations of American law anyone born on our soil automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. Context is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if your parents were terrorists or illegal aliens or foreign saboteurs, if their plane was forced down to refuel and you emerged. It doesn’t matter. If you were born on our property, you are a citizen.
In a recent interview with Axios, President Trump suggested, this is not a great deal for America. He pledged to change it with an executive order.
As of tonight, it seems likely that order would abolish so-called birth tourism. That’s where people travel to the United States solely for the purpose of having kids and winning citizenship along with the many benefits that follow from that. We’ll know more about it soon and of course we’ll tell you when we do know.
But nobody else in Washington is waiting for details. They hate it already. The very same people who have spent decades trying to gut the Bill of Rights are now lecturing the rest of us that the idea is — brace yourself — unconstitutional.
Paul Ryan for example, he is the outgoing speaker of the House. He announced his opposition to this immediately. The very idea he said is ridiculous. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PAUL RYAN: Well, you obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well obviously, obviously. Note the phrasing. Obviously, that’s what people say when they don’t feel like making a rational case for their positions, usually because they can’t. Is it really “obvious” that the Constitution requires us to give citizenship to the children of illegal aliens. Paul Ryan has no idea. He just doesn’t want to have a conversation about it. He wants you to be quiet.
In fact, as a legal matter, it is an open question. The Supreme Court has never ruled on it. But there is ample reason to believe the law does not apply to illegal immigrants or birth tourists.
Birthright citizenship arises from the 14th Amendment that was passed just three years after the Civil War and it was passed to guarantee citizenship to freed slaves. The senator who wrote the citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment, Jacob Howard of Michigan, explained the point of it on the Senate floor at the time.
“The Amendment 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.”
Again, the Amendment was designed to ensure that newly freed slaves would be treated as the American citizens they were. The point was to enfranchise African-Americans. The point was not to enable the rest of the world to scam our system, to abuse our generosity. Trump’s proposal would get us closer to the purpose of the 14th Amendment. And for that he is being denounced naturally as a racist. Listen to some of the dumb people on TV:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What used to be five years ago, 10 years ago, dog whistles to appeal to the fears of white voters now are just stated openly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The principal debate in Europe, in the United States, the real fault line that gets people going is this issue of openness. How open are we to people? How open are we to trade? And it’s this issue of national identity versus internationalism, globalism if you will. So what Donald Trump is doing is he is mining that fault line. He is working it, whether it’s birthright citizenship, whether it’s sending troops to a border that’s not under siege. We’re no longer arguing serious issues about how to regulate our economies. We’re no longer arguing serious issues say about how to fight the Cold War.
We are arguing questions about national identity and that’s not that far to get from that to issues of racism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, let’s get this straight, defining citizenship is not “a serious issue”, only in New York and Washington where serious is where to find good Barada or how to get to the Hamptons in under three hours on a Friday night. These people are total buffoons.
In fact, there is no more serious debate than the debate over citizenship. And it’s long overdue. Globally. birthright citizenship is the rare exception. It is not the rule. Canada and the U.S. are the only developed countries that have birthright citizenship. Not a single European country allows it. Out of the 54 countries in Africa, only two offer birthright citizenship. Are the other 52 racists?
How about Harry Reid, is he a racist too? Watch the former Democratic Senate Majority Leader explain his views on birthright citizenship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER SEN. HARRY REID: If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough. How about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that. Right. Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission to give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides and that’s a lot of services. Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the babies born at taxpayer expense in country, county-run hospitals in Los Angeles are born to illegal alien mothers?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now as a factual matter, that’s tougher than anything Donald Trump has ever said. Keep in mind that just four years ago that man, Harry Reid, was the top Democrat in the Senate. Try saying that today, he’d be called Bull Connor and shouted off the stage. But the questions he raised are still fair questions. Is unlimited birthright citizenship helping this country or is it hurting this country?
Under our current system, illegal immigrants who come to the U.S. and have children are eligible to receive tax credits, food stamps, other welfare benefits. Those are huge incentives. Not surprisingly, one in every 12 births in this country right now is to someone here illegally, and that total does not even include birth tourism.
Every year tens of thousands of foreign nationals come to this country on tourist visas solely to give birth to children. The Chinese are strongly overrepresented in this. One ad in China offers “high end U.S. birth tourism specialists” for just 20 grand, these experts navigate clients through the process of having a child in America.
In return for that 20 grand, their kids gain the right to Social Security, Medicare and countless other federal programs. If they come back to the U.S. for college, they get in-state tuition, federally backed student loans, financial aid, all the benefits that ought to be going to actual Americans who are drowning in college debt. This is a scam. There is no other word for it.
And by the way don’t blame the Chinese or the Russians or the Salvadorans or anybody else using the system, we’re the ones offering it. Why wouldn’t they take it? The blame lies with us. No other country would allow itself to be relentlessly exploited like this for decades and no other leadership class would side with foreigners over its own people. And yet ours does every time and that tells you everything.