is being overrun by the children of illegal immigrants. He is so vexed at the thought of the
children of these criminals receiving the same rights to citizenship as ordinary God-fearing
Americans; he wants to change the 14th amendment. He's not alone. He is joined in a
xenophobic pantheon with the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Hanbaugh, Tom Tancredo,
and almost-president John McCain.
The 14th amendment grants citizenship to anyone born in this country, no matter what
the status of their parents. It amended the Constitution so the children of former slaves
could not be denied citizenship. You were a citizen of this country by birthright.
Why is it when regressives sense a problem in this country, they want to amend the
Constitution to take rights away? Too much free speech?...amend the Constitution to outlaw
flag burning. Too many illegal immigrants?...change the Constitution to end citizenship by
birthright. Too many gay partners?...amend the Constitution to prohibit same sex marriage.
It is the height of condescension to suggest the only reason people come to this country
is to stick us with their kids. If you were barely feeding your family, had few clothes, and
minimal shelter and a few miles or a few hours away there is a place where you can triple
your salary, put food on the table, clothes on your children's backs, and a roof over their heads;
what would you do?
Every year, immigrants from Mexico send back over $25 billion to friends and relatives.
It is second only to oil revenues in the Mexican economy. In the last two years, illegal
immigration has dropped over 20%. Why? There are no jobs. Children can still become
citizens if born here and yet illegal immigration is down. To quote James Carville "...it's
the economy stupid."
Boehner's new solution reveals the seamy underside of the immigration debate. He is
not proposing going after the corporations who employ all those illegal immigrants. He isn't
throwing CEO's in jail. As much as half the federal prison population is there for an immigrant-
related crime. When Walmart was discovered locking illegal workers in their stores all night,
did anyone go to jail? Raids on meatpacking plants in the midwest netted hundreds of illegal
workers. What happened to the owners of the company? Why is it regressives always go after
the poor looking for jobs when they want to gin up political fervor with their base?
Practically speaking, changing the 14th amendment would be an administrative nightmare.
Who would be responsible for determining if the mother is in the country legally? Does this
burden fall to the hospital? Hospitals have difficulty keeping patients straight. They are
bureaucratic swamps. Maybe the doctor should have to demand papers before taking mom as
a patient? Now that would do wonders for the doctor/patient relationship. What documents
would suffice? Would a birth certificate, Social Security card, baptismal certificate, passport,
or visa be acceptable? Can you tell the difference between a genuine an a fake document?
Maybe we could force every American to carry a national I.D. card. Is it lost on you the party
which says it stands for less government and a less intrusive government footprint could bring
about the total destruction of our privacy with the creation of a national data base? Oh, and
don't think it is only going to be people of color who need papers. All mothers will have to
prove they are here legally.
After the baby is born, then what? Does the baby get an administrative hearing before it
is deported? Does the baby get a lawyer? What if there is a mistake? Senator Ted Kennedy
ended up on a terrorist no-fly list and couldn't get off of it. The mistakes would be legion and
the emotional and physical carnage would be devastating.
If you are here illegally, your child can't be a citizen if Boehner and his ilk have their way.
If you are the unibomber, the underpants bomber, the shoe bomber...if you are serial killer
Ted Bundy, or the head of a violent drug gang, or Bernie Madoff who ruined entire families;
your children can all become U.S. citizens just be being born in this country.
We need a new immigration policy. For the 12 million people here illegally already, give
them a path to citizenship which rewards hard work and lawful behavior. Stop looking the
other way as the Mexican government cheats and steals from its people and fails to build the
nation's economy. Put CEO's in jail and shut down companies who employ illegal immigrants.
If the jobs dry up, so will the flood of illegal immigrants coming across the border. Stop being
scared of immigration. New immigrants inject energy, initiative, youth, and a strong work ethic
into this nation. They are good for us and are a competitive edge neither Europe nor China
can match. Leave the Constitution alone. Be embarrassed when national leaders use
xenophobia for political gain. Protect the few rights we have left! Together Si Se Puede!!!
What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please send them to