Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arizona – Lawmakers Reviewing State Repeal of “Automatic Citizenship” - Analysis


Arizona Border - photo MSNBC

(AP) Arizona lawmakers are considering a bill that would deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, as the Federal Government continues to ignore pleas from the Governor to defend the border. In passage of Senate Bill 1070the State of Arizona mirrored Federal Laws, going a step further by softening portions of the legislation that might have included “racial profiling” in order to pass U.S. Constitutional muster. Since the passage of that bill, the State has come under fire from special interest groups, the White House and administration (who had not read the bill), and municipalities small and large within States and Commonwealths that lean left and support “open borders”.

The situation in Arizona (and other border states) had risen to the extreme: murders, home invasions, kidnapping (In fact, Phoenix, AZ now leads the nation in cases involving kidnapping), destruction of property, et al. In a state of virtual siege, Arizona’s lawmaker and Governor Jan Brewer, had to do what they could to bring attention to the situation as well as protect the citizens of the state.

The Federal government, which has, on the one hand, demonized the Arizona law, while on the other hand, doing little in way of the Fed’s actual duty to protect the border, now finds the Arizona Legislature looking at other ways to stop the influx of illegal aliens into the state.

Russell Pearce (R) State Senator is introducing legislation that would ban citizenship to children born to parents here illegally. The premise, at least one of two parents would have to prove legal citizenship status in order for the child to gain citizenship. The cry of “foul” to the 14th amendment is being shouted from the rooftops over this new angle on curbing illegal immigration in the State.
The 14th Amendment, which ensures citizens, rights reads as follows:

1. 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


“The 14th was designed to ensure that all former slaves were granted automatic United States citizenship, and that they would have all the rights and privileges as any other citizen. The amendment passed Congress on June 13, 1866, and was ratified on July 9, 1868 (757 days).

Therein lays the gist of the problem: although the language does state that anyone born on U.S. soil is considered a citizen, it was the intent of the amendment at the time that is fueling the Arizona legislature to write a contrary bill.

The AP story includes a quote from one family who felt this bill was out of hand:

Araceli Viveros, 27, and her husband, Saul, 34, are illegal immigrants from the Mexican state of Guerrero. He has been in Phoenix for 20 years, she for 10, and their 2- and 9-year-old children are U.S. citizens.
"I am so proud my children were born here. They can learn English and keep studying," Viveros said in Spanish.
She said her husband has been working hard in Phoenix as a landscaper, and their children deserve to be citizens. The lawmaker's proposal "is very bad," she said. "It's changing the Constitution, and some children won't have the same rights as other children."


The inclusion of a viewpoint from an illegal husband and wife, one of which is working as a landscaper (either illegally through an employer, or “under-the-table”, thereby paying no taxes, another crime), speaks about her children’s rights to citizenship, due to her husband’s hard work. Additionally, the non-English speaking wife, (services for Spanish language costs to the Federal Government – unknown), talks about changes to the U.S. Constitution, under which, she personally has no protection. Perhaps the AP author might have found a more sympathetic “victim”, or not.

Unfortunately, as the economy worsens, legal citizens of the United States view those who enter illegally, work her illegally paying no taxes, and have children here in order to gain access to our schools (while not paying taxes), as just another drain on the economy.

Is life so bad in Mexico? One has to ask, aside from the constant drug wars, crime, corruption, etc.,(similar to Arizona) why are they here? Mexico does not have the same generous welfare benefits, medical benefits, and prior to NAFTA, employment opportunities as the U.S. However, those in the U.S. that purchase anything from groceries to cd’s, are likely to find that “product of Mexico” label slapped firmly on the item.

The aforementioned makes it difficult for those here legally to feel for those who take advantage of the continued failure of the U.S. Federal government to enact the immigration laws currently on the books. If the Federal government would do its job, lawmakers in Arizona would not be compelled to write the attention grabbing, state saving, legislation that is so maligned by the majority of the press, as well as the estimated ten to twelve million individuals that are in this country illegally. That being said, if one expects the current administration to move to do its job protecting the border, think again, or more precisely look at day whatever of the gulf oil spill – it is this feeling of “no confidence” by the state of Arizona, and a growing majority of American’s that has prompted this state’s legislature to produce laws, conflicting or no (as States rights are also guaranteed in the Constitution, the 14th amendments intent was specific to the time, and it is a question of whether or not States’ rights trump subsequent amendments), in order to protect themselves.

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