January 27, 2011

UPDATED -- Don’t You Hate It When Reporters Seek To Deceive You

I sure do – and this reporter had me ready to start condemning the authors of this legislation.

Arizona Republicans are to introduce legislation on Thursday seeking to challenge the right to U.S. citizenship for the children of legal and illegal immigrants born in the state.

Now I was outraged – after all, I welcome legal immigrants who are here seeking to become productive and law-abiding parts of our society. Of course their children should get citizenship in the same manner as the children of natural born citizens. This legislation seems to be a monumentally bad idea – and flies in the face of every bit of citizenship jurisprudence over since the 14th Amendment passed in the 1860s.

But then you get to the middle of the article, and find that all is not as you have been led to believe.

The immediate aim of the legislation "is to trigger ... a Supreme Court review of the phrase 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' in the 14th amendment," Kavanagh told Reuters in a telephone interview.

It ultimately seeks "to deny citizenship to any child born of parents who are not citizens of the United States, be they illegal aliens, or foreigners on business or for tourist purposes," he added.

Now wait – this makes it seem that the law would seek to distinguish between those who violate our nation’s immigration laws, non-immigrant aliens legally present in the US, and legal immigrants for the purposes of granting birthright citizenship. The children of the first group should clearly not be receiving US citizenship, while there’s a strong argument that the children of those only here temporarily as non-immigrants should also not become automatic US citizens. But as I read the whole explanation from State Rep. John Kavanagh, it appears that the legislation makes no challenge to the concept that the children of legal immigrants are birthright citizens under the 14th Amendment. That fits very well with my understanding of how citizenship by birth ought to be acquired, and makes me more favorably disposed towards this legislation.

That said, I think that if enacted the legislation faces a rough road for two reasons. First, the citizenship issue is explicitly a federal matter rather than a state matter. Secondly, the weight of precedent would make the successful defense of this legislation difficult. But the reality is that this is really the only way to challenge the current practice, short of amending the Constitution. After all, our courts do not issue advisory opinions – they only make rulings where there is a real case or controversy. It would therefore take legislation like this to even get the matter before a court for consideration.

The Reuters article, though, does not really seek to inform or enlighten the reader. It begins with a dubiously accurate statement, includes an unclear quote, and doesn’t ever offer an explanation as to why there is a legitimate reason to seek this sort of legal conflict. That, therefore , really makes this article a case of journalistic malpractice by the reporters who wrote it, the editors who published it, and the news outlets that ran it. Which is too bad – the American public deserves a better examination of the issue.

UPDATE: This seems to me to be the more productive method of approaching the citizenship issue -- and quite frankly, I fail to see how anyone who is not an open-border supporting shill for illegal immigration can object to this proposal.

Two Republican senators are introducing a resolution that would end the constitutional right to citizenship that comes with being born on U.S. soil.

Rand Paul (Ky.) and David Vitter (La.) are introducing a resolution this week that would amend the Constitution so that a person born in the United States could only become an American citizen if one or more of his or her parents is an legal citizen, legal immigrant, or member of the armed forces, according to a joint press release Thursday.

This is actually the sort of policy that most nations have -- including all the European nations that liberals keep saying we need to emulate (actually, some have even stricter policies).

|| Greg, 03:41 PM || Permalink || Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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Some years ago my family and I were stationed in Germany. My 2 month old son went with us. While I was there my daughter was born. I lived there for four years. It never occurred to me that my daughter should be a German citizen or that my son who only knew Germany should stay there. We went home! I took my American born son and my German born daughter back to my home country. So I don't understand why it would be such a terrible thing for an illegal alien to bring his children back home to Mexico with him when he is deported. I do not accept the concept that because they got here somehow that now their children should be American citizens.

|| Posted by GoneWithTheWind, January 28, 2011 02:56 PM ||
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