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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 1  

At the risk of plunging myself into a particularly large tub of hot water, let me say I find myself leaning in the direction of those who hold that this is a right that needs modification.

Traditionally, it has been a great honor to become an instant American citizen by being born here. Seems perfectly logical, too. Thousands upon thousands of immigrant families were proud to see the birth of the first of their children upon this soil.

Unfortunately, like so many "rights" in this Nation, this one has been abused. The concept of "anchor babies" has turned a joy into a con. And it seems that the only way to address this is to rewrite the rules. Citizenship comes automatically only if one or both of the child's parents are themselves legal citizens of the United States (by birth, or by naturalization).

Of course, children born to parents who have already begun the legal process of becoming citizens would be given dispensation, earning their citizenship at the same time their parents did.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 2  

It's as good an approach as any in attempting to deal with the "immigration" debacle the selectively open-bordered USA is choosing (by craven political default) to live with (...for how long?!).

My parents came to this country legally, and by law became citizens. They "earned" me my birthright thus, as far as I'm concerned.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 8:57am | IP Logged | 3  

With you on the need for modification.  Naturalization (while a laudable concept) should come with full rights and privileges.  I find it odd that David Duke or Pauly Shore are "eligible" to be President, but  Zbigniew Brzezinski or Madeline Albright are not.
That said, sure the letter of the law with "Anchor Babies" to gain permanent residency is definitely an abuse in the face of people who had to wait the whole five years.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:03am | IP Logged | 4  

I've been a citizen of three different countries.

I was born in England, so I got that one the easy way.

When I was 14, my parents became Canadian citizens, and I floated in with them.

Then, in 1988, after having lived in this country the prerequisite number of years, I became an American citizen. (In full. I do not hold dual citizenship. I do not hyphenate myself.)

All three were the proper, legal means of gaining citizenship, and while I had the obvious advantage of being White and Middle Class, I really don't think it's too much to ask people entering this country to do so legally.

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Bill Guerra
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:11am | IP Logged | 5  

As someone whose family ties in America go back many generations now (traced back to pre Civil War), I've never given much thought about achieving citizenship while growing up. As an adult, my best friends step-father is of British birth and he went through the process of becoming a naturalized American citizen. He would sometimes grumble about the "hoop jumping", but he did it all legal to assure he was legit. The day everything was finalized was a happy day for him!

I don't see what the problem is. Why be here illegally and worry about the possibility of being found out and deported?
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Marc Foxx
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:29am | IP Logged | 6  

My son is a naturalized U.S. citizen...for years, I would joke that some teacher, when explaining civics or citizenship, would trot out the "Any child can grow up to be
President..." lecture, but add "Not so fast, Dylan..."

Now, I know that my son (for various reasons) is unlikely to grow up to be President, but should an accident of birth and the place where he spent 5 months of his life
truly limit his destiny?
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Ian Carroll
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:52am | IP Logged | 7  

JB: The concept of "anchor babies" has turned a joy into a con. And it seems that the only way to address this is to rewrite the rules.

"Anchor babies" has indeed become a popular "concept" in certain quarters of the immigration debate. But if amending the Constitution is required to address the supposed problem, the concept's legitimacy has to be carefully scrutinized. 

This data is a few years old, but it suggests "anchor baby" is about as legitimate a concern as abuse of the system by "welfare queens."
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 8  

My son is a naturalized U.S. citizen...for years, I would joke that some teacher, when explaining civics or citizenship, would trot out the "Any child can grow up to be President..." lecture, but add "Not so fast, Dylan..."

Now, I know that my son (for various reasons) is unlikely to grow up to be President, but should an accident of birth and the place where he spent 5 months of his life truly limit his destiny?

It has long struck me as odd that a "nation of immigrants" will not let an immigrant hold the highest office.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:11am | IP Logged | 9  

JB: The concept of "anchor babies" has turned a joy into a con. And it seems that the only way to address this is to rewrite the rules.

"Anchor babies" has indeed become a popular "concept" in certain quarters of the immigration debate. But if amending the Constitution is required to address the supposed problem, the concept's legitimacy has to be carefully scrutinized.

This data is a few years old, but it suggests "anchor baby" is about as legitimate a concern as abuse of the system by "welfare queens."

It's not really a good idea to address a problem by saying "Well, it's only a SMALL problem."

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:18am | IP Logged | 10  

That data very carefully parses the problem into people who deliberately have children to stay here.  Obviously the vast bulk of illegal immigration is done out of a desperate desire for jobs.  If Mexico (or other places) were fully developed first-world countries (as should be the goal) then no one would bother sneaking anywhere.

The problem becomes that anyone who comes here illegally, whether they meant to or not gets residency rights because of their baby that someone who went through the system (as my Dad did) did not.

Babies happen.  Should that grant automatic residency to those that have them because their baby is by law a citizen?  I can't see it being popular to say, "well, the kid can stay but you have to go."

The problem with rules is this:  if they don't apply to everyone equally, why bother having them at all?  Likewise, if it is impossible to apply them equally (for whatever reason), they require modification.

If the US were better at Imperialism, they would adopt a stance more like the UK had, where they could use the concept of dual citizenship to gain control over other countries.  Recall Horatio Nelson himself gained a Dukedom in Italy.

We may find such practices to be a little too "Game of Thrones" for the modern day, but still.  Citizenship can be used as a weapon the other way, and the US chooses to not do that.

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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:37am | IP Logged | 11  

I really don't think it's too much to ask people entering this country to do so legally.

* * *

You have made this comment specifically about the US, JB, but would you take this view for every where? In Europe currently we have boatloads of immigrants desperately landing on the shores of Italy and Greece having taken flight from wars, famine or political persecution. It would be very difficult for them enter these countries legally.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 12  

This thread concerns only the present situation in the United States. Please don't muddy it up with matters unconnected to this discussion.
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David Miller
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:55am | IP Logged | 13  


 QUOTE:
It's not really a good idea to address a problem by saying "Well, it's only a SMALL problem."

It's not a good idea to amend the Constitution to address a small problem, either, which is the only way to eliminate birthright citizenship. Whatever so-called "anchor babies" cost the United States, even attempting to amend the Constitution will cost far more.

Such an attempt will never succeed. And while it's being attempted, the racial climate in this country will turn into even more of a toxic waste dump as everybody who supports such an amendment insists they aren't racist, while making common cause with racists. 
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 11:06am | IP Logged | 14  

David>>It's not a good idea to amend the Constitution to address a small problem,<<

Does it have to be?  (That's an actual question, I'm no lawyer).

We have plenty of laws that do not require a change of the constitution, just that they be constitutional.  The term "Natural Born" can apply to people born abroad (Like Ted Cruz), can the interpretation not be amended by simple regulation? 

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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 15  

Such an attempt will never succeed. And while it's being attempted, the racial climate in this country will turn into even more of a toxic waste dump as everybody who supports such an amendment insists they aren't racist, while making common cause with racists.

Your own "cause" must be very weak, if you have to resort to mud slinging to defend it.

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Brad Wilders
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 11:26am | IP Logged | 16  

"We have plenty of laws that do not require a change of the constitution, just that they be constitutional."

A law cannot contradict the express language of the constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment provides that anyone born in the United States shall be a citizen. So, it would require amendment.
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David Miller
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 12:11pm | IP Logged | 17  

Conrad: The issue of Birthright Citizenship is distinct from Natural Born Citizenship. Birthright Citizenship derives from the Fourteenth Amendment: "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." Outside of cranks, the meaning of those words is plain, and would require a constitutional amendment. 

Natural Born Citizenship derives from Article II: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States." While the debate over it's meaning has largely been driven by cranks, at least there is some interpretive breathing space. However, none of the recent debates have any thing to do honest interpretation. 

John: It's not mudslinging to observe that the loudest voices in favor of eliminating Birthright Citizenship are outright racists. Go over to National Review and read the comments on any of their stories on the issue. Listen to Donald Trump talk about Mexicans. If I found myself agreeing with one of those animals on anything, I'd question my beliefs about everything (it's already happened with Trump and health care reform).

Literally every single person I know who claims the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of Southern heritage and resistance to tyranny insist they don't have a racist bone in their body. I'll take their word for it, but that doesn't change that they're making common cause with the Ku Klux Klan. 

Amending the 14th Amendment will not happen. Any attempt will be interpreted by many as an attack on African Americans. And for many of the supporters, it will be. And for what? It would take decades before the savings on "anchor babies" being eliminated comes close to the financial cost of passing an amendment. Reprinting every civics text isn't going to be free. 

Finally, I like living in a country with an open door policy. In a word, it's American. 
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 12:21pm | IP Logged | 18  

Brad>>A law cannot contradict the express language of the constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment provides that anyone born in the United States shall be a citizen. So, it would require amendment. <<

Interesting.  There are exceptions in the interpretation, no?  For instance, if a foreign ambassador or embassy staff has a child in the US (presumably in a US hospital), the child is not a US citizen, correct?  It's sort of the reverse of the Ted Cruz situation, where being born abroad to non-ambassadorial US citizens outside US jurisdiction still counts as "natural born," but two Mexican citizens having a child in the US has a different rule.

What happens to a child if the parents don't want tm to be a US Citizen?

BTW, read Section 2 of the XIV amendment.  Lots of "Male" happening in the language.

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James Reese
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 12:39pm | IP Logged | 19  

the racial climate in this country will turn into even more of a toxic waste dump as everybody who supports such an amendment insists they aren't racist, while making common cause with racists.

***

Which race would be persecuted in this scenario?
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David Miller
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 20  

Are you joking?

Hispanics. Blacks. The GOP has found a two-fer.
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Brad Wilders
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 12:46pm | IP Logged | 21  

I believe that children born to diplomats are one of the exceptions because the amendment applies only to "[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof..." Diplomatic immunity means diplomats are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Not sure that applies to lower-level embassy staff. Illegal immigrants, present in the country, are subject to the laws of the United States.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 22  

Which race would be persecuted in this scenario?

++++

Are you joking?

Hispanics. Blacks. The GOP has found a two-fer.

Then, a racist is someone who supports a law that would affect EVERYONE, while a non-racist is someone who assumes such a law is targeting Blacks and Hispanics?

Did I step thru the Looking Glass again?

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David Miller
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 1:01pm | IP Logged | 23  


 QUOTE:
Then, a racist is someone who supports a law that would affect EVERYONE, while a non-racist is someone who assumes such a law is targeting Blacks and Hispanics?

That's not what I'm saying. 

I'm saying non-racists, for non-racists reasons, who support repealing the 14th Amendment, are joining a movement led by racists since 1868.

Saying it affects all Americans equally is like saying gays had the freedom to marry anyone of the opposite sex they wanted.

Repealing the 14th Amendment would be an enormous symbolic defeat for African Americans -- and the entire country. It would be interpreted as such by African Americans and by racists alike. Its repeal has been an agenda item for racists since its passage, and I don't think the cost-benefit ratio justifies the damage. 

As we've seen in Texas and Arizona, anti-immigration sure seems to mix effortlessly with Anti-Hispanic racism. Anti-immigration enforcement has lead to laws forcing American citizens with Hispanic names or Latin features to carry passports or risk detention. Again, I don't think the cost-benefit ratio justifies the damage. 

Are you telling me Donald Trump is not targeting Hispanics with this? That would be news to him, I'm sure. 
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James Reese
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 1:12pm | IP Logged | 24  



Are you joking?

Hispanics. Blacks.


***

One of these isn't a race. One of these things is an ethnic group.

Here's some Flama videos on YouTube that are both humorous and educational.

5 Misconceptions about Latinos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpeYP8CqTmY

Things White Latinos Are Sick Of Hearing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdbEMBmzo2U

Things Black Latinos Are Sick Of Hearing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3kenaY8rlw

Enjoy!
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 1:12pm | IP Logged | 25  

Whoa, who's said anything about repealing it?
I simply suggest amending it with an explicit condition to make it fair to all the people who want to immigrate legally, and may have spent years waiting for a visa, etc.
The framers couldn't see all possible outcomes, so they left a mechanism to patch stuff down the line.  Think of the 22nd.  Didn't change the existing rules, it just added a limit to them.
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