Aug 4, 2010

Immigration and the 14th Amendment

Have you heard about the 14th Amendment? It gives citizenship and all legal rights to anyone who is born in this country. When it was adopted, it meant to enfranchise people who had been born here but were discriminated by the political & legal system, on the federal and mostly state levels. Now some conservatives, including many state Republican parties, want to repeal this amendment because they say illegal immigrants shouldn't be rewarded by having babies here!

First, babies to illegal immigrants is not a problem but it's a distraction. It's a rallying point for the conservatives and the tea baggers. It may be beneficial to them short term but it'll help put this GOP on the sidelines in the future. The Hispanics especially favor the Dems by 65-70% at the ballot box. The immigration issue will further solidify this block behind the Dems in increasing numbers. Much like other immigrant groups that have favored the Dems for generations, because they found their way via the big city political machines controlled by the Dems. In addition, the Latinos are a growing block. In about a generation, the Caucasians (white Euros) will be a minority in the US.

The present day anti-immigrant stance isn't new. The Know Nothing Party and others had expressed the same views targeting the Irish and other "inferior European immigrants."  As one framer put it at the time, "we are entirely ready to accept" that under the proposed amendment, "children born here" of immigrant parents "shall be declared by the Constitution of the United States to be entitled to civil rights and to equal protection before the law with others." In two landmark decisions, the Supreme Court verified this "clear constitutional mandate" of birthright citizenship, ruling in 1982 that the "fourteenth amendment extends to anyone, citizen or stranger" regardless if "a person's initial entry into a State, or the United States, was unlawful." [source]

Just a few minutes ago, there was a piece on NPR where Young Americans For Freedom and that awful Ken Blackwell [we go back to Ohio, 2004] talking about the disillusionment with Obama's "hope message" and how younger people are giving up on the dream of change and whatever. Oh, and, yeah, Obama is a socialist, anti-freedom, anti-market system, and the best thing that happened to ..conservatives!  How do these people manage to convince anyone beyond their immediate cadre of interested parties is amazing. 

In the abstract, we can talk about conservatism, like we can talk about religion, and debate the philosophical points. Yet, I want you to keep in mind this: How do the vast majority of conservatives (and the faithful) understand and practice their  The present-day Repubs stand for what public policy? And, when they had control of the Executive and Congress, what did they do? A year and a half ago, when Obama took office, the country was a short step from economic (and not only) depression. Since, the Repubs have done everything to oppose everything Obama and the Dems have proposed.

So, the conservatives want more religion--the kind that goes against self-determination--more transfer of wealth to the top 2%, more wars & huge military budgets, they're anti-immigrants (legal or illegal... because, after all, those people aren't the ideal Americans, right?),  want less safety, fewer programs designed to help the least fortunate or the sick, and they promote ignorance by attacking science and the scientific method.