Immigration

Ignoring the Constitution Is Easier Than Amending It, Immigration Edition

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The New York Times' Marc Lacey reports that a coalition of anti-immigration politicians will be unveiling their plan tomorrow to circumvent the 14th Amendment in an unconstitutional attempt to ban birthright citizenship:

This coalition of lawmakers will unveil its exact plans on Wednesday in Washington, but people involved in drafting the legislation say they have decided against the painstaking process of amending the Constitution and may instead unilaterally restrict the issuing of birth certificates to illegal immigrants' children in their states. They know a flurry of lawsuits will follow and hope that the resulting legal conflict will be resolved in their favor.

"This is not a far-out, extremist position," said John Kavanagh, one of the Arizona legislators who is leading an effort that has been called just that. "Only a handful of countries in the world grant citizenship based on the G.P.S. location of the birth."

"Only a handful of countries." You know, once upon a time conservatives bragged about the U.S. Constitution and its unique place in the world. Now the anti-immigrant right advocates openly violating the 14th Amendment rather than following its text, history, and original meaning. And just like those "living constitutionalists" on the left, they can't even be bothered to amend the Constitution, they just reinterpret it to suit their misguided agenda.

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  1. “Only a handful of countries in the world grant citizenship based on the G.P.S. location of the birth.”

    Any word on the number of countries in the world that deny a birth certificate based on the nationality of the parents?

    1. Um, most of them. Most countries require at least one of the parents be a citizen of that country before they grant citizenship to the kid, even if both parents are resident in the country legally.

      1. How do those countries certify a birth if not with a birth certificate?

        Alternatively, why do you think a birth certificate automatically implies citizenship in those countries?

      2. Misread your comment and thought you were conflating the two.

  2. Why don’t we just put a gun in our mouths, blow what remains of our brains out, and become Europe like everyone wants us to be.

    Christ on a fucking stick.

    1. That has been my plan all along.

    2. become Europe like everyone wants us to be.

      ?Est?s loco? ?No cada uno quiere eso!

      1. ?Est?s loco?

        ?Mira! ???Es LocoSolo!!!

        And of course it’s not English, filter. Why is that a problem?

        1. Press 1 for English.

        2. ?LocoSolo? Picking coffee beans is a much better job than he deserves.

        3. As long as Loco stays solo, we’ll be okay.

  3. The gun control lobby has done a pretty good job circumventing the Second Amendment. Bush shredded the rest of the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act. Why shouldn’t we thing the rest of the Constitution is fair game?

    1. The gun control lobby has done a pretty good job circumventing the Second Amendment

      Well that puts a damper on my Plan for America?(see above).

      1. You just have to adjust the plan to use Suicide By Cop, easy fix.

  4. Wait, do these kids affect interstate commerce in some way?

    1. Lettuce see …. Yes, yes they do.

      1. Only DC politicians get to play commerce clause get out of jail free cards, Arizonans keep out.

  5. I strongly disagree with these people who want to circumvent the 14th Amendment like this. But I must admit that with the welfare state the way it is, it becomes VERY TEMPTING to join their side. We must convince them to join us and put all of that hard work and energy into ending the welfare state itself. If this were just about people picking vegetables few would have thier backs up about it the way they do. The problem is the welfare state pure and simple.

    1. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, when the border with Mexico was porous, young Mexican men would cross the border to work stoop-labor jobs for cash. After they saved up some money, they would walk back across the border and spend time with their families. Then they would repeat the proces.

      After the border was closed, it became far to onerous to cross multiple times, so young men from Mexico would come and perform stoop labor to earn some cash. After saving enough money, they would bring their families to the US and set up a home. This results in a permanent underclass that drains the welfare state.

      The more effort we spend to close the border just increases the pressure for poor peole in Mexico to get their families in the US.

      Black markets have consequences.

      1. Yes, and I agree with you on this. My only point is that I can actually see what motivates them. Some supporters of open borders try to argue that the other side is motivated by “racism” or something like that. I do not think that is the motivation for the vast majority of them.

        1. “Those supporters”, at least the ones here, already rail on and on about ending the welfare state, so it might be fair to excuse them for not bringing that up before the racism basis.

          “Oh, immigration again, huh? Well, let me start by disclosing that the welfare state should be dismantled….”, somewhat onerous requirement.

          1. Wylie, it is not useful to acuse someone who is probably not a racist of racism.

    2. Any number of things would do much more good than restricting birth certificates. And they would be constitutional. The simplest would be to make it way way easier for them to come in and work legally and increase border security so that everyone is documented as not eligible for benefits. If they’re documented, what’s the problem?

      1. Playing Devil’s advocate here, and that is all this is, they could argue that forging identification is fairly easy today. Just ask 18 year old college students. Unless your plan is to tatoo them with the Mark of Cain?

    3. I subscribe to the principle of “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Being able to be employed by anyone who wants to employ you is a fundamental right which should not be trampled because it doesn’t work well with our stupid welfare state. This is the whole problem of modern statists. They always see a government solution to the problems caused by the last government solution.

      1. True, which creates yet another problem. I once was conservative and can see from their point of view because I once held their point of view. What we need to do is use “conservative principles” to defend open borders. Part of this is showing them the true root of the problem.

      2. ^This.

        You would think this would be clear on a libertarian website like H&R, but posts on immigration tend to bring out the ‘libertarian’-leaning conservatives.

        1. I am starting to feel like Juan Williams. I expressed a feeling and stated that because of this I understand the motivations of others. I do NOT advocate what they are advocating.

          1. PIRS, my response to Zeb was written before I saw your response. As a former ‘hardcore’ conservative (no pun intended) myself, I understand what your saying. I was merely agreeing with Zeb.

            1. Thanks for clearing that up 🙂

    4. “I strongly disagree with these people who want to circumvent the 14th Amendment like this. But I must admit that with the welfare state the way it is, it becomes VERY TEMPTING to join their side.”

      This is especially so, given the feds’ refusal to address the issue responsibly. The states are bound to deal with the consequences of that failure, yet have no say at all in controlling policy, or right to self-defense from resulting financial ruin?

      Is this something the Constitution really contemplates?

      1. I do have one simple solution for a (very) small part of the problem. The recent ruling regarding in-state tuition can be solved by the various states simply ending all state aid for their respective colleges and universities.

  6. You know, once upon a time conservatives bragged about the U.S. Constitution and its unique place in the world

    We only bragged about it because it was a source of gullible cheap labor. If it was a source of gullible rich taxpayers, we’d still be bragging about it.

    1. Invisible finger, you do realize, don’t you, that this same structure of argument could be used to support socialized medicine [which I oppose]. Many times I heard the fascists say “Only a handful of countries in the world don’t have socialized medicine.” or something to that effect.

  7. THEY TOOK UR BURTH CERTIF’CATS!

    1. T’KER TIFICRRR!!!11ONE

    2. BURTH CERTIF’CATS, to god-damned hell with BURTH CERTIF’CATS! We have no BURTH CERTIF’CATS. In fact, we don’t need BURTH CERTIF’CATS. I don’t have to show you any stinking BURTH CERTIF’CATS, you god-damned cabr?n and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.

    3. RRRR TK RRRR JRRRRBBBSSSS CERTRTOFFFCTTTSZZZ1111!

  8. What’s great about being a libertarian is that there’s nothing unconstitutional about wanting–or applying–more restraints on government or stripping its powers.

    1. Yet.

      1. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of government.

        1. I believe it’s called the “commerce clause” by legal scholars.

          1. It’s just an inkblot.

            1. I saw a butterfly eating its own face, but I’m no expert.

            2. And, like, a hunnert yearz old ‘n’ stuff! Who can understand it??

              1. fuckin’ stable liberal democracies. How do they work?

        2. What is this “law” to which you refer?

          1. Also an inkblot.

  9. Yeah, some much for ignoring foreign law when determining our own.

  10. The “anti-immigrant” right is a pretty small group, so I assume you’re just slandering people who are serious about border enforcement. And of course the vast majority of us who don’t want uncontrolled immigration would balk at denying citizenship to children born here regardless of what their parents did.

    Comparing us to living-constitution lefties, whose entire political agenda depends on ignoring the Constitution, is just a tad unfair.

    1. Your assumption is wrong, but don’t let that get in the way of being offended.

      Root explains his stance explicitly.

    2. The “anti-immigrant” right is a pretty small group

      Is it though?

      Also, it’s not as if this is the only area in which conservatives advocate an absurd (mis)reading of the Constitution. How does the drug war or patriot act not require a “living” interpretation of the 4th amendment?

      Hell, they even like to ass-fuck the country with the Commerce Clause just as much as lefties do. I think the comparison is apt.

    3. The anti-immigrant right is a very small group, mainly Tancredo et al. The anti- illegal immigrant right is not small at all.

      I know, it’s not “big L” to make a distinction, but it makes perfect sense to me.

      1. If you can name one ‘anti-illegal immigrant’ conservative who is, at the same time, ‘pro-legal immigrant’ in terms of raising quotas and reducing bureaucracy I would love to hear it.

          1. Close (closer than any other conservative i’ve heard of), but not quite.

            Here’s what he says. “There are simple steps, three simple steps to solving this problem once and for all. Number one, secure the border. Number two, enforce the law. And then encourage legal immigration to enrich us, enhance us and renew us.”

            Again, I challenge anyone to cite a conservative who is ‘anti-illegal immigrant’, but who is, AT THE SAME TIME, ‘pro-legal immigrant’ in terms of raising quotas and reducing bureaucracy.

            You’ll notice Glenn is for a 3 step process (essentially holding those who are attempting to come here legally hostage to the will of the state).

            You’ll also notice that, despite being extremely long-winded, he offers no opinion as to how the US could “encourage legal immigration to enrich us, enhance us and renew us.”

        1. Yeah — without a reasonably sane way to let peaceful people come here freely to pursue a life, the “rule of law” will continue to be impossible to enforce no matter what resources we dedicate.

          Obligatory:
          http://reason.org/files/a87d15…..116079.pdf

          1. ^This.

            Current US immigration policy is no different than alcohol prohibition in the past and current drug policy.

            That chart cannot be shown enough. I lived that nightmare with my wife, and am currently living it with my sister-in-laws.

          2. That’s why I supported Bush’s proposal for a guest worker program. (Blind squirrels, nuts, etc)

            Unfortunately, those in power who support loosening immigration policy don’t want resident workers, they want VOTERS who can be convinced that they owe the Dems something.

            1. Really? B/c if I remember correctly, Bush’s proposal was shot down, NOT by “those in power who support loosening immigration policy”, but by conservatives from his own party.

              1. I’m talking about the guest worker program he proposed at the beginning of his second term, not the “comprehensive immigration reform” excretion that reared its head late in his presidency. The Dems hated the guest worker program proposal because it wasn’t a path to citizenship.

        2. Favoring the status quo immigration laws also does not make one anti-immigrant. The moniker Mr Root chooses conjures up images of the Know-Nothings and their racist ilk, who fought and discriminated against people who had come here legally…which is probably why he and other open borders advocates use it.

          1. Having been through the current immigration process for both my wife and her sisters, I can tell you that the ‘status quo’ is anti-immigrant.

            (http://reason.org/files/a87d1550853898a9b306ef458f116079.pdf)

            You really believe, ^this^ process is ‘pro-immigrant’?

          2. Ooh cool logic!
            2010 – “favoring the status quo drug laws does not make one anti-drug”

            1990 – “favoring the status quo sodomy law does not make one anti-gay”

            1960 – “favoring the status quo Jim Crow/segregation law does not make one anti-black”

            1942 Germany – “favoring the status quo Holocaust does not make one anti-Jew”

            1880 – “favoring the status quo Chinese Exclusion Act does not make one anti-Chinese”

            1860 – “favoring the status quo slavery law does not make one anti-black”

            1831 – “favoring the status quo Cherokee removal does not make one anti-Cherokee”

            etc.

  11. When I read shit like this, I start seriously thinking about taking a freighter to Chile.

    1. My grey-haired, Irish-American, parents have become hard-core anti-mexican-deport’em-all tea-partiers over the last couple of years.

      I can’t figure out exactly how that happened.

      1. They probably buy into the theory that immigration increases the supply of labor beyond demand, resulting in depressed wages and high unemployment.

        1. But it reduces the supply of labor in Mexico, so everyone there should be fucking rich by now.

    2. Yo, fuck the Reason Cruise, when do you start the one-way ocean liner service?

    3. When I read shit like this, I start seriously thinking about taking a freighter to Chile.

      The overweight baggage cost will kill you, as well as it not fitting in the overhead bin.

      However, if you pack it with a loaded Glock, you’ll sail right through TSA.

  12. “This is not a far-out, extremist position”

    That right there tells you all you need to know.

  13. We must convince them to join us and put all of that hard work and energy into ending the welfare state itself.

    I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think they see this in their heart of hearts as a breakdown of the welfare state. That may be what they use as an excuse…

  14. I think it’s wrong about would make horribly policy, but the constitutional question isn’t quite that clear-cut. The 14th Amendment says all persons “born… in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” shall be citizens. The second clause has to have some independent meaning, and it’s generally been read as applying to situations like the children of foreign ambassadors, or children born to soldiers of a hypothetical invading army. It’s not that implausible that this category includes the children of illegal immigrants.

    Like I said, I don’t agree, but it’s not as prima facie absurd as something like arguing the President-elect can be inaugurated on Dec. 10th

    1. Let me be clear.

      Everyone here is subject to my jurisdiction.

    2. I am pretty sure illegal immigrants are subject to the jurisdiction of the US. Otherwise they wouldn’t be deportable.

      1. That’s not quite right- we can deport ambassadors and their families, too.

        Rather, I think the reason they *are* “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US is because they are *not* under the jurisdiction of a foreign government, as with the ambassadors/invaders. A foreign army or an ambassador is still subject to the jurisdiction of the country that sent them, illegal immigrants are not still subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico, etc.

        1. “Rather, I think the reason they *are* “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US is because they are *not* under the jurisdiction of a foreign government, as with the ambassadors/invaders.”

          The invaders analogy is the most apt. Does the Constitution require citizenship for invaders or their families? Does any case law even remotely suggest such a thing?

          1. “The invaders analogy is the most apt.”

            Is it? A normal military invasion happens with the tacit support and control of a state, and is governed by international laws of war. A dude wandering across a border of his own volition is not remotely the same thing.

            1. A normal military invasion happens with the tacit support and control of a state

              Unfortunately, Felipe Calderon just fucked up your argument.

        2. What about the children of illegal enemy combatants?

          Or, if a prisoner at Camp X-Ray has a baby while being waterboarded, is the baby a natural born US citizen? I mean, John McCain was born in Panama and he was still allowed to run for president.

        3. They aren’t under the jurisdiction of Mexico? Why not?

          1. They absolutely are. Most states claim universal jurisdiction, but don’t apply it for reasons of comity.

        4. Rather, I think the reason they *are* “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US is because they are *not* under the jurisdiction of a foreign government, as with the ambassadors/invaders. A foreign army or an ambassador is still subject to the jurisdiction of the country that sent them, illegal immigrants are not still subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico, etc.

          Mexican illegal aliens can and do get consular ID cards issued by Mexico.

          You can’t (assuming you’re not Mexican) demonstrating that those illegal aliens are still partially under the jurisdiction of Mexico in a way that US citizens are not.

      2. You have to understand that there are two types of jurisdiction, personal and territorial. Illegals being in the US are subject to US territorial jurisdiction nut their personal jurisdiction remains with the country of their citizenship. It’s like if your residence is in State A and you commit a crime in State B, State B can punish you but you would still pay your taxes in State A not State B. State A has personal jurisdiction wherever you go but State B has territorial jurisdiction while you are there.

  15. Like any Big Government libtards, there’s a faction on the conservatard movement that has as much of a hard-on for Big Government as Rachel Maddow’s clit.

  16. said John Kavanagh, one of the Arizona legislators who is leading an effort

    What does he know. The Kavanaghs. Criminals and toothless mud farmers. Backdate your law to the 1860s and kick your own arse.

  17. I thought the “original meaning” was to keep former slave states from fucking over slaves by pretending that they weren’t native despite having resided in the U.S. for their entire lives. God knows they used any legal rationalization they could, not unlike plenty of other statists I could name.

    While I believe immigration law should be loosened, and I empathize when it hurts people who have spent almost (but not quite) all of their childhood in the U.S., and think of themselves as American, I don’t think I don’t think “birthright citizenship” really reflects our beliefs on how kids should be treated. Almost no one would say they thought it was fair to deport illegal immigrants and keep their young child in the country due to birthright citizenship — either we use kids as a human shield to let people violate immigration law, or we violate the alleged “citizenship” of those kids and deport them with their parents despite having done nothing wrong.

    We value keeping kids with their families more than we respect nationalities. The most just way of looking at things is to assume that minors don’t have true citizenship, but instead have rights under the umbrella of the citizenships of their legal guardians — they could still have passive birthright citizenship, but it would only take effect when A) they ended up without a clear legal guardian, or B) they reach their majority in the country in which they have birthright citizenship. Otherwise, they should be treated by law as if they had the citizenship of their guardians (in the case of multiple citizenships, they could claim whichever was most favorable).

    1. Isn’t the way you’re describing the relationship between guardianship and pre-adult citizenship the way it in fact works now?

      1. I believe it’s the way things are usually done, but I didn’t get the impression that it was due to law rather than policy — otherwise, the concept of an “anchor baby” would be legally impossible. If it is the law, that would be great, since we could slay the anchor baby myth, stake it, cut off the head, and stuff garlic in its mouth.

        1. Also, one must remember that policy is the new law. Voting on actual laws has the nasty effect of putting politicians on record and possibly exposing them to opposition.

  18. I will say that it is fairly ironic, for a group that invokes the Founders as much conservatives, that among the complaints against the English crown listed in the Declaration of Independence, you’ll find:

    “He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.”

    Yes, Jefferson wasn’t clamouring to flood the U.S. with Messicans, he wanted more English settlers. Still, the colonists wanted immigration laws to be loosened to increase their relative clout, and the Empire wanted them restricted for the same reason — is that actually any different than the boogeyman Mexican who just wants to bring more of his people in and give them citizenship to be part of a bigger voting bloc, and the conservative who restricts immigration based on that fear?

    1. I think part of the conservative bias against immigration is the perception that Mexicans/Latinos uniformly vote Democrat. Neal Boortz calls this “Hispandering.” (he accuses Democrats of Hispandering)

      I hear there’s a bloc of Republicans calling themselves the Tequila Party, and they’re trying to court Mexicans/Latinos away from Democrats.

      1. I would add the idea of a large voting bloc who votes for candidates that promise lax enforcement of laws that affect a certain ethnicity is also worrisome.

      2. There’s a block of gay Republicans called the Log Cabin Republicans, but it’s also clear most gays are Democrats and that most Republicans hate gays.

        Occassionally, there’s even a couple black Republicans, although most of them have already been elected RNC chairman.

        The majority of hispanics, especially non-Cuban hispanics, are Democrats. The percentage that are is increasing with the volume level of anti-illegal immigrant ranting.

        California leads the nation on this particular trend, like many others. Prior to the anti-illegal prop 187 being pushed by Republicans, California was a very purple state. Since then (after lots of hispanics changed parties, started voting for the first time, or became citizens so they could vote), it’s been quite blue.

        An anti-immigrant stance is good for the short term for the Republican party (one election cycle or so), but very, very bad long term.

    2. The situation in 1776 was obviously quite different than it is in 2010. Likewise for those who think that because mass immigration created few major problems in 1900 that the same holds true today.

      Unlike 1776, we have very little open space left that is potentially economically useful.

      Unlike 1900, we have much slower economic growth to provide work for immigrants.

      1. I think you’re wrong with your comparison to 1776. There’s actually a heck of a lot of unused space west of the Mississippi — it’s just that the gubmint owns it.

      2. But to be clear, you think the government should decide whether your observation is true, not the market, right?

        Nice historical revisionism, by the way. Since jobs for immigrants were so plentiful in the early 1900s there must not have been very much populist resentment towards illegal immigrants took’n er jerbs, right?

      3. I think the best counterargument is just to say “and look how well it worked out for the natives that time”. But anyway…

      4. “Immigration created few major problems in 1900”

        Do you even know what history is?

  19. Does this thing work as one of those legal fiction gimmicks? Like you’re not actually born unless & until they say you’re born, so you can’t be said to have been born in the USA unless you have that official say-so? Making birth a matter of law rather than fact?

    Or maybe they declare the spot you’re born on to be temporarily outside of the USA.

    1. They declare foreign ladyparts to constitute a roving embassy.

      1. Like City Crapper from the pig cartoon?

  20. Those born to illegal aliens but who have grown up here, like you and I have, are just as culturally American as you or I are. That, at least, should take that argument off the table.

    However, if the main idea is to plug the drain on the State’s resources, our conservative members of Congress can consult many untried and untrue ideas from the far left that are meant control not just immigrants but our entire population. Let’s get serious about this problem, people. None of this pecos-and-diming bullshit.

    1. Makes you wonder if conservatives (politicians) are really for cutting spending and government, or if they just say they are for the votes… hmmm…

    2. Kids who were brought into the US at age 1 are probably more “culturally American” than Amish kids who were born here. So?

      That squishy stuff can’t be allowed to become the standard for citizenship.

      1. Stick with the tried and true “born here” standard, I hear ya. Keep it simple, no bureaucratic brainpower needed. We are on the same page, brother.

      2. That squishy stuff can’t be allowed to become the standard for citizenship.

        Yes. Let’s kill them.

  21. Immigration is following the legal process to enter.

    I know of no one who is anti-immigration.

    I know of many who oppose trespass, breaking and entering and
    illegally entering the country.

    Being opposed to giving benefits to

    1. “Immigration is following the legal process to enter.”

      Is it? or did you pull that definition outta your ass?

      http://www.google.com/search?h…..d=0CBgQkAE

      “I know of no one who is anti-immigration.”

      Then you haven’t been looking hard enough.

      http://www.cis.org/

      “I know of many who oppose trespass, breaking and entering and
      illegally entering the country.”

      Ah yes, the old ‘private-government property rights’ argument. This dead horse has been severely beaten here at reason by conservatives. Just look at any comments section on any of the past posts on immigration.

      Say IM, if illegal immigrants are “breaking and entering”, how come they aren’t prosecuted?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDo-ZVK4dc0

    2. As a practical matter, it is impossible for an ordinary Mexican to legally immigrate to the United States unless they have special talents (like being a brain surgeon or something) or have existing family living legally in the United States.

  22. Being opposed to giving benefits to those who are not legally entitled is a libertarian principle.

    1. “Being opposed to giving benefits to those who are not legally entitled is a libertarian principle.”

      Should read – Being opposed to the government stealing from some to give to others (regardless of citizenship) is a libertarian principle.

    2. Very few people here will debated you on that point. But either nobody is entitled (ideally) or all taxpayers who are being forced to pay are entitled, regardless of citizenship. Since at least here in income-tax-free Texas, illegal immigrants pay their fair share in state taxes as much as I do.

      Moreover many illegal immigrants pay payroll taxes for which they never will receive a dime in return. If conservatives wanted to offer a serious solution to our coming entitlement crisis, they would cut immigration bureaucracy to the bone and increase the quotas. We NEED a flood of immigrant workers now to come here, work, prosper and pay taxes to offset the declining birthrate, as this is the only long-term solution to ween us off Social Security and Medicare gracefully without severely screwing either seniors or young workers.

      1. We NEED a flood of immigrant workers now to come here, work, prosper and pay taxes to offset the declining birthrate, as this is the only long-term solution to ween us off Social Security and Medicare gracefully without severely screwing either seniors or young workers.

        If they are legal, then they are eligible for the benefits and make the situation worse in the long run.

        1. I’m talking a solution that can enable us to get off of Social Security gradually over the course of, say, 20-30 years. Without more workers to enable us to roll away SS gradually (allowing us temporary funding for existing and soon-to-be retirees) the alternative is the mass retirement of the baby boomers resulting in going bankrupt and forcing us to simply ditch the whole system in one fell swoop. Although I personally would not mind cancelling Social Security today, I wouldn’t want to be the political party that advocates that either (hint: they will lose all power and also be known as the Libertarian Party). Importing workers is a temporary but realistic solution that would at least give us enough breathing room to transition away while reducing political fallout that would make any reform impossible.

          1. Social Security (and Medicare) are extremely popular and politically untouchable. Pretty much any politician who takes your standpoint won’t be elected.

            1. They aren’t completely untouchable when pretty much anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of economics understands the dire fiscal straits we’re in. However, the only possible way to “touch” it would be to have a pragmatic solution that won’t leave people who paid into it their whole lives starving on the streets or working until they’re 97. Combining comprehensive immigration reform with comprehensive entitlement reform would be a rare show of bipartisanship I would actually like to see.

      2. Nothing says “libertarianism” like advocating policies designed to prop up the welfare state.

        1. Again, not “propping it up” – but finding a way to deconstruct it more carefully without the political fallout that comes from violently collapsing the system on top of grandmothers everywhere. But, not even being sarcastic, nothing says “libertarianism” like ignoring political reality and reciprocally encouraging old people and the people who care about them to vote for politicians who would rather plummet towards bankruptcy while making vague assurances to address the debt problem sometime in the distant future than develop a substantial plan to get us off of it completely.

  23. Amend it if you can.

    But the sub-textual original intent argument seems misleading: it’s become a silly law, designed for something totally different than what it is used for today. I don’t understand why the link about original intent immediately brings up race and the more radical Republicans of the post-Civil War era, unless that is what the original intent of the law sought to address. There are such things as expediency, even in 1866. I’m not convinced that Jackson’s objection and its subsequent overrule are a good argument for or against the 14th to apply to illegals’ children.

    But it’s plain on its face. So amend it.

  24. “Now the anti-immigrant right advocates openly violating the 14th Amendment rather than following its text, history, and original meaning.”

    The original post is culprit in ignoring the 14th Amendment; not the ‘anti-immigrant right’.

    To quote the author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, “This 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.”

    The 14th has been changed through interpretation over the years but let us not pretend it meant what it means.

    1. But the author’s intent is, frankly, irrelevant when it conflicts with the plain meaning. It’s pretty unlikely the authors of the first amendment intended it to protect pornography, and even less so that the ratifying state legislators had that intent. (And pornography existed back then, so it’s not a case of extending their intent to new ideas)

      1. “But the author’s intent is, frankly, irrelevant when it conflicts with the plain meaning.”

        Thank goodness for this admission. I hope you’re around the next time someone quotes Madison on the Commerce Clause to me…

      2. Yeah, that’s right. The First Amendment didn’t protect pornography in 1789, and it doesn’t protect it today. I don’t care what the Supreme Court says.

      3. It’s pretty unlikely the authors of the first amendment intended it to protect pornography

        You know nothing of Ben Franklin.

    2. “This 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.”

      It’s pretty clear that the subordinate clause here is qualifying “foreigners, aliens.”

      If that isn’t plain enough, the wildly inclusive “but will include every other class of persons” — that you conveniently dropped from the end of Howard’s quote — should be.

      1. My mistake on the misquote, I ripped the quote off of a page that left the last part out in my haste.

        Your mistake on the logic fail. How can you be “born in the United States” AND a foreigner as outlined in the first line of Howard quote if the “other class of persons” applies to you as the child of a foreigner or alien? You cannot. It didn’t apply to the children it applies to today.

        My argument still holds misquote notwithstanding.

        1. Feel free to diagram that sentence any way you can to make the subordinate clause not modify “foreigners, aliens,”. Please note the lack of an “or” in front of the clause as well.

          1. That’s pretty weak sauce, dude.

            I know you want birthright citizenship for every person born on U.S. soil, but don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that the fourteenth amendment was originally understood to permit such a citizenship scheme.

            1. I am not the one misrepresenting the plain English of the text of the amendment or the plain English of the people who wrote the plain English of the text of the amendment as exactly the opposite of what they intended.

              The exception “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” plainly and obviously means “not Indians, who are sovereign unto themselves, and not children of parents who represent of a foreign government”.

              If the people writing the amendment meant “not children of foreign-born unnaturalized parents”, it would have been utterly trivial for them to say so somewhere in the copious arguments they were making. They didn’t. Why didn’t they?

            2. I know you want birthright citizenship for every person born on U.S. soil…

              Actually, that’s a mild preference based on the pragmatics of the situation. I am not wedded to it.

              What I really want is for the government to recognize and secure the individual rights of travel, residence, and employment. Since 98% of the value of US citizenship is nothing but that, I would think that the demand for citizenship itself would decline.

  25. I’m sure a commerce clause justification can be made…

  26. Sorry Reason you are completely wrong on this one.

    “It is clear the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment had no intention of freely giving away American citizenship to just anyone simply because they may have been born on American soil, something our courts have wrongfully assumed. But what exactly did “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” mean to the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment? Again, we are fortunate to have on record the highest authority to tell us, Sen. Lyman Trumbull, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, author of the Thirteenth Amendment, and the one who inserted the phrase:

    The provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ That means ‘subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.’ What do we mean by ‘complete jurisdiction thereof?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.”

    http://www.14thamendment.us/ar…..ality.html

    1. It boggles the mind that someone could read — nay, write! — the page you link to and the quotes on it and come away with the conclusion that the framers of the amendment meant to exclude anyone born of noncitizen parents from citizenship at birth.

      For instance, it says “No doubt in the Senate as to what the citizenship clause means as further evidenced by Sen. W. Williams:”

      In one sense, all persons born within the geographical limits of the United States are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, but they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States in every sense. Take the child of an ambassador. In one sense, that child born in the United States is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, because if that child commits the crime of murder, or commits any other crime against the laws of the country, to a certain extent he is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, but not in every respect; and so with these Indians.

      I would concur: no doubt indeed. When you bring up two examples — foreign diplomats and Indians — and you construct your words as though there are no other examples, that pretty clearly means that you do not mean the vast numbers of people who are not foreign diplomats and Indians but are children of noncitizen parents.

  27. Seems like conservatives support Operation Wetback II, but are pissed that the political correctness by the scheming liberal, elitist media won’t let them call it that anymore.

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