Republicans complaining about the 14th Amendment and so-called anchor babies is nothing new
Just when you think the right couldn’t get worse, they outdo themselves yet again. We are actually holding legitimate conversations in the United States, in the year 2015, about ending birthright citizenship by possibly changing or repealing the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.
The conversation now being had about the 14th Amendment has gone on before this recent election cycle, but the Republican primary candidates are now giving a legitimate platform to the idea of ending birthright citizenship. This notion is wildly unconstitutional, but guys like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz keep bringing it up. Worst of all, this view seems to be widely held among Republican voters.
We recently heard the news of Jan Mickelson’s barbaric comments about undocumented immigrants. It’s gotten to the point where slavery is now a legitimate position to hold, declaring that people should once again become legal property. This sentiment, rather than being rejected, is embraced by some GOP voters.
Republicans are clearly following a racist course here with their drive to deport undocumented immigrants, and their push now to alter or repeal the 14th Amendment. Some right wingers have even suggested that the 14th Amendment does not explicitly declare birthright citizenship. Allow me to read the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment;
“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’s a pretty clear declaration of birthright citizenship. That’s plain and clear language, and there are little credible legal arguments that can be made against it. The only way to make the 14th Amendment not support birthright citizenship, is to alter the Amendment’s Citizenship Clause. Donald Trump and the Republican candidates who followed him seem eager to do just that. How low have we come as a country?
In a way, I can’t blame Donald Trump for this racist fervor. He didn’t create it, he merely gains from it. He didn’t start the fire, but he loves making it bigger. Because of the populous response he received about repealing the 14th Amendment, the rest of the GOP field immediately followed suit at incredible speed. Not surprising in my experience. ‘
The GOP and their voters have long held these racist and xenophobic sentiments against immigrants (not just undocumented ones), but few were willing to come out and say it on live television. Donald Trump doesn’t hold anything back and he’s forcing his Republican opponents to do the same.
Almost all the GOP candidates with the exception of Marco Rubio have come out aggressively in support of ending birthright citizenship, including Ted Cruz, Chris Christi, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham, and ironically Bobby Jindal.
I say Jindal’s stance is ironic because, good ol’ Bobby is (by his own definition) an anchor baby. He was born in the United States with the name Piyush (still his legal birth name) to parents who were not yet legal citizens of the country. Piyush “Bobby” Jindal got his citizenship from the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, he is not a naturalized immigrant. Yet, he has no choice now but to come out against his own right to citizenship.
Make no mistake, conservative voters have long sought to end the rights of “anchor babies.” I have had arguments on this topic for years, even before Obama was elected as President. The sentiment has gotten so bad that it is now considered mainstream discussion in some states.
The term anchor baby (a derogatory term for a child born in the United States to an immigrant) was first used in the 1980’s in reference to Vietnamese boat people. The term first appeared in print in the mid 90’s, but was used by Republicans so often during the 2006 immigration debates that the word was actually nominated as word of the year.
The main question that should be asked here, is how far will that go? Once you repeal the Citizenship Clause, what standards do we use to decide someone’s citizenship? Will we only go after the children of undocumented immigrants? What about those who immigrate on a green card? If they have kids, are they no longer citizens? What about kids already born? Does this mean that anyone’s citizenship can now come into question, or does this apply only to certain groups? How much will you bet the groups targeted are going to be mainly people with non-white skin?
Keep in mind, the Citizenship Clause also deals with citizenship of states as well. The main purpose of the amendment was to protect the citizenship rights of ex-slaves in southern states, mainly to ensure the states themselves did not revoke their citizenship. If you scrap the Citizenship Clause, then does that mean a state can decide who can or can’t be a citizen?
The racist sentiment on this issue clearly drives the white GOP voters. Trump merely tapped in to a sentiment that already existed, and has now reared its ugly head for all to see.