Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Birthright Citizenship Act is Unconstitutional

Congressman Jason Chaffetz is cosponsoring a bill called “The Birthright Citizenship Act” (H.R.1868) which could amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by not granting citizenship to anyone born in the United States unless at least one parent is a U.S. citizen or national, a lawfully admitted or resident alien or is an alien serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: "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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." According to the Constitution, one's birthright as a citizen is not defined by the citizenship status of one’s parents. Denying citizenship to someone "born... in the United States" under the circumstances outlined above, would require a Constitutional amendment. The aim of this bill is to punish natural born American citizens for the crimes of their parents and in the land of “Justice for all,” I can think of few things that are more UN-American. Chaffetz’ cosponsorship is especially disappointing as he has been a strong proponent of abiding by the Constitution in regard to his work with the census and Congressional oversight of the District of Columbia. To endorse legislation as clearly unconstitutional as this is blatantly hypocritical. A lot of the furor against illegal immigrants is disproportionately aimed at those from Mexico and other Latin-American countries, not because of their numbers but because of their obvious ethnicity. Legislation such as this, while possessing a filigree of concern for the rights of American workers and accessibility to public resources by U.S. citizens, is fundamentally motivated by the racism that continues to exist in this country. One needn’t wear a swastika or a white robe to be influenced by endemic prejudice. The election of an African-American President, the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Connecticut firemen denied promotions on racial grounds and a backlash of bigoted resentment pent-up after years of political correctness and affirmative action have brought this country to a fragile point in its development as a cultural melting-pot. Just as a stretched elastic band will recoil to its slack position when cut, I fear a recoil in this country to racial attitudes of the past and bills like H.R.1868 is suggestive of such attitudes. To those who would claim to be unfairly characterized by referring to their “many friends who are (insert ethnicity here),” I would like to point out that it is possible to be a white, English speaking illegal immigrant to the United States but I'm willing to bet that if anyone were to try and round up all the illegals no one would pay attention to an impoverished Canadian even if he approached an INS agent saying, "I'm an illegal alien too, eh! Let me on the truck!"

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