Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Republican House Minority Leader, Congressman John Boehner, is "concerned" America

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 "'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


  1. Bernie, I am surprised to read this by you:
    "Put CEO's in jail and shut down companies who employ illegal immigrants."

    Put them in jail? I have heard that jailbirds can become the toughest judges of others.
    Have you any idea what it is like for a restaurant owner to find an American citizen who is willing and able to clean off the hardened grease off the duct system above a busy stove?

    There are jobs that people glad to be here will do, and all day long with hardly a break. These jobs can't be done by Americans, and it makes no difference how many dollars an hour you are willing to pay.
    Have you ever wondered who laid out the rows in vineyards so perfectly?
    Have you thought about meat and vegetables and how they got from animals on foot and seeds in the ground all the way to your plate?

    Read John Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" and realize why so many are desperate to get here.
    Bottom line, we and our corporations, backed up by our military, continue to drain the economies everywhere in the world. The best way to handle that would be to throw those CEO's in jail -- as Harry Truman did -- if they are convicted of being war profiteers.

  2. Hey Mathscoach, pay me $30/hr and I'll gladly clean your ducts. In other words, pay me a competitive LIVING wage and this American will work for you. $10/hr is not a living wage. It's a slave wage.