The Sunday morning political talk shows like ABC’s “This Week” (hosted yesterday by Christiane Amanpour) and NBC’s “Meet the Press” all took note of Lindsey Graham’s recent proposal to modify the 14th amendment so that children born to illegal immigrants aren’t automatically granted citizenship, removing a lure for people to enter the U.S. illegally to have “anchor babies.” Almost universally, he and fellow Republicans are being derided as extremists, willing to play games with the U.S. Constitution in a cynical bid to score points with constituents riled up by the whole Arizona immigration law debate.
They are not extremists; Lindsey Graham should be commended for taking on an issue that’s long, long overdue; the majority of Americans agree; and, though the constitution is a work of genius, it’s rapidly becoming antiquated and ambiguous. Our founding fathers could never envision the day when money would be equated with “speech,” when multi-national corporations would be considered “the people,” and when invading hordes would be granted citizenship.
If the founding fathers were all-knowing, the constitution wouldn’t need to have been amended in 1868 with the 14th amendment to assure that southern states would grant citizenship to slaves and their children, people brought here forcibly. Nor could the writers of the 14th amendment have envisioned that, one day, their amendment would be used to lure people here illegally. Consider that, under the 14th amendment, any children born to the families of an invading army, if born on U.S. soil, would automatically be granted citizenship, even if the invading country were eventually defeated and driven out. The situation with illegal immigrants is little different.
In addition, at a time when our founding fathers scarcely understood the extent of the still-unexplored western reaches of our continent, they could never possibly conceive of the day when our land would become so populated that we’d be utterly dependent on hostile, foreign sources of energy for our very survival while congress sat idly by and did nothing about it. Not to mention the effect upon the economy, steadily driving more of our people into poverty and dependence on government assistance. If they could have envisioned such a time, they may very well have included in the constitution a provision for congress to enact population policy and manage our population. (See https://petemurphy.wordpress.com/more-good-stuff/29th-amendment-to-the-constitution-of-the-united-states/)
I was particularly struck by the very last two paragraphs of the above-linked article:
But Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) says it’s been more than a century since the Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue — and it’s long overdue. Bilbray has been fighting since the 1990s to change the 14th Amendment citizenship clause. He says in these tough economic times, the law must be reviewed.
“When you say there’s not enough to go around for those who are here legally — or those playing by the rules — you sort of say, ‘Why do we continue to have an enticement to encourage people to break the law?'” he says.
Unbelievable! A politician who understands the crux of the situation! Clearly, there’s not enough to go around – not enough jobs, not enough energy, not enough capacity in the environment to absorb greenhouse gases. I could go on. And if there’s not enough to go around, why in the world do we encourage more and more to come here?
A couple of years ago, as an independent, I encourage others to vote for our president, based on his promise to begin fixing broken trade policy and based on the fact that there was no difference between him and his opponent on the subject of illegal immigration. Since then, the president has reneged on his promise and has actively worked to thwart efforts to stem the tide of illegal immigration. And since then, Republicans have been shifting their stance on illegal immigration, sensing that a solid majority of Americans, even including a large minority of Hispanics, want to see illegal immigration addressed without resorting to amnesty for illegals.
I hope that the Republicans are serious about this effort and not just pandering to the electorate. The constitution is in serious need of modernization and the 14th amendment would be a perfect place to start.