Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Preserve right of citizenship at birth. Said no to bill H.R. 1940, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007. It would be a betrayal of bedrock American values. Such proposals are truly absurd and Bigotry from Conservatives and extremist Republicans.
What if the U.S. stopped automatically granting citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants?
A 14-year-old Des Moines girl, the only member of her family who is a U.S. citizen, finds it hard to imagine what her life would be like if her mother had not walked across the Mexican border several years before she was born. She does, however, see what her undocumented older brothers and cousins face: They cannot get a driver's license or qualify for federal financial aid for college
She calls the idea of withholding citizenship from anyone born in the U.S. "absurd."
Yet such proposals are out there.
n April, Republican U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia introduced H.R. 1940, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007, which would limit who becomes an American at birth. Children would qualify only if they had a parent who is a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident or an illegal immigrant who is actively serving in the military. Ninety members have signed on as co-sponsors, including Republican Steve King of Iowa, Republican Tom Tancredo, Republican Pat Buchannan, and the list goes on and on.
Or go to Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's Web site. Under issues, the Texas congressman says: "End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, their incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong."
Critics of birthright citizenship believe it's a magnet. Mothers sneak into this country to deliver U.S. citizens. The "anchor babies" qualify for benefits, such as government health insurance. When the babies become 21 years of age, they could legally bring close relatives to live here. The critics hold up ending birthright citizenship as the solution to the nation's illegal immigration crisis.
It is not the answer, not as a practical measure and not as a measure of the nation's character.
If birthright citizenship ended tomorrow, desperately poor people from Latin America and elsewhere still would slip into the U.S. for jobs. They still would have children. Because the children would not be citizens, a permanent underclass would grow, with no allegiance to the U.S.
The answer to the nation's immigration crisis is enforcing strong border security while raising U.S. immigration quotas to reasonable levels and creating a broad guest-worker program with safeguards against exploitation.
The nation cannot afford to write them off.
Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the Constitution's 14th Amendment, Section I, ratified in 1868: "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."
It would be a betrayal of bedrock American values. Such proposals are truly absurd.