The controversy over birthright citizenship, (aka `Anchor babies`), seems to one of interpretation.
Specifically, the 2nd hurdle to citizenship the 14th Amendment included; that the mother must be;
"...subject to the jurisdiction of the United States."
It appears that there are two primary interpretations. One is that the phrase means subject to our laws, and being subject to arrest for breaking them. The other interprets it to mean subject to allegiance to our country.
It also appears there are serious scholars defending each interpretation. Each of which, (interpretations), has its own base of supporters, (ie. Conservative/Liberal).
Casual reading seems to indicate the latter interpretation, (the one conservatives support), has a firmer standing. The reasons for this have been, and are, the fodder of heated debates.
What say you?
Here's a good, (I think), backgrounder on 14th Amendment Controversy
The original intent should be the guide on interpreting this. It is hard for me to believe the politicians at the time thought it would be a good idea for anyone just to come here and have a baby for the unique purpose of gaining citizenship. The fact that this is happening on a increasingly scale should be a trigger to re-examine the interpretation. This policy is not caste in stone. We can change the policy when it is appropriate to deal with new problems. We have enough of a problem dealing with undocumented immigrants and this is just one piece of the problem we don't want to encourage and make it bigger. IMHO
But your guide can turn into a club to beat you with.
In this case, I think your are right about what their intent was, and that the latter definition does seem to agree with the prelude instances concerning citizenship, (1866 & 1868). Especially so when there appear to be documented period explanations of what their intent was.
On the other hand, (and referencing the first interpretation supporters), the framers were very considered, purposeful, and concise in their choice of words and wording. Sooo....
Based on explanations and parsings of subsequent Supreme Court rulings I think the reasoning that Congress does have the power to legislate an interpretation of "...subject to the jurisdiction of the United States." without a need to amend the Constitution is correct.
Let's just hope this never goes before the Supreme Court or they will completely rewrite it based on their mood for that day. I personally believe it should be done away with. Here along the Arizona border we not only have to pay for the illegals child delivery with tax dollars, but then the baby is a US Citizen? Something about this just doesn't seem right.
The war has started ... its on our soil already.
who started it?
the Presidents in our very midst?
~ we gotta be really really be careful the next election,
I would say.
Oh ye of little faith. Glad you chimed in Old Poolman, but come on now, I think we might have to agree that even with the perceived disastrous Supreme Court decisions in our past, they do seem to have gotten things right a lot more than wrong.
But... I cling to that optimism as I do that I will always be able to find a silver lining, because in this case you could be right.
I think it would be far better to base citizenship for new born children on the right of blood rule (jus sanguinis) when the parents are legal immigrates.
Granting anchor babies birthright citizenship on the right of the soil rule (Jus soli) of parents who are illegal immigrants is proving to not be working well for American tax payers.
... and from a conservative perspective it is also not very logical.
For "allegiance" interpretation supporters, the right of blood determination is part of the allegiance to a foreign sovereignty explanation of earlier citizenship legislation. Makes sense to me.
Seems clear there were only two groups of children who were born within the United States, but deemed outside the jurisdiction of the United States: 1) children whose parents are subjects of a foreign government and who are born within the domain of that government and 2) children whose parents are ambassadors, diplomats etc for a foreign nation. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in relation to the case of a native American seeking citezenship:
'[Native Americans] are no more "born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" than the children of subjects of any foreign government born within the domain of that government, or the children born within the United States of ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign nations' (Elk v. Wilkins, 1884)
Native Americans were deemed to be outside the jurisdiction of the US because at the time of the 14th amendment native Americans were exempted from taxation by treaty with the US government, and Acts of Congress only applied to them if it was explicitly stated within the Act. They were deemed to be "alien nations" (Elk v. Wilkins) within the territory of the United States.
Do the children of illegal immigrants sit in either of those groups? The second group is obviously not applicable in the case of illegal immigrants, as such immigrants don't tend to be ambassadors and diplomats. So we can discount that immediately. What about children whose parents are subjects of a foreign government and who are born within the domain of that government?
While such children are born to parents who are foreign nationals, they are not born within the domain of a foreign government. In other words, such children are born within the jurisdiction of the United States government, not their parent's government. If that were not the case, then that would mean diplomatic immunity would be extended to all foreign nationals within the country, not just those who are part of a diplomatic mission. Obviously that is not what was intended.
So the only time children born on US soil have been deemed to be outside US jurisdiction is in the case of native Americans (before 1924) and foreign diplomatic staff:
"The decision in Elk v. Wilkins concerned only members of the Indian tribes within the United States, and had no tendency to deny citizenship to children born in the United States of foreign parents of Caucasian, African or Mongolian descent not in the diplomatic service of a foreign country[my emphasis]. (United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898)
So it seems very clear that children born within the United States, are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States (with the exception of diplomatic staff) and are therefore (as per the constitution) citizens of the United States. As such, removing citizenship from those children, and/or discontinuing birthright citizenship for such children in the future, without an amendment, would be unconstitutional, a breach of those children's constitutional rights, and would also set a dangerous precedent.
Your statement of "within the jurisdiction of the United States government" is a great deal different than the text as stated in the Constitutional amendment. The wording in the Constitution states "SUBJECT to the jurisdiction of the United States Government". With your wording it broadly carries many different connotations. "Within" can mean the area therein or location and it can mean in accordance to a given understanding. But "Subject" to is a more defined and direct statement carrying with it more of an extenuating circumstance including how something is achieved or condition and in relationship to it coming about.
That is why this amendment has been linked to many different Supreme Court arguments including opposition to Roe v Wade in it's separation of the fetus rights from the mothers rights when defining the rights of an individual separate from the surrogate carrying the fetus. In this case according the Supreme Court it has been determined that the two are combined as is the decision of the mother. Is it a Trojan horse issue while one act is innocuous from the other until the birth and claims of citizenship occurs after the event? Perhaps in some cases but much evidence to the contrary exists within the "Anchor Baby" phenomena. It is a glitch in the law that tugs at the heart of any parent and while it may seem noble to allow the family to continue living in the US because of the child's claim to citizenship is it fair to others that follow the law and do the right thing? What does it say about us as a country which stands on the principles of fairness and justice accessible to all? Not much if we just turn the other way in defending a loophole. In other words if you cheat you win.
Thank you for the correction. That wording was an oversite on my part. Later on in the comment you see I use the terminology: ". . . are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. . . " which is the terminology intended.
Historical evidence strongly suggests that natural-born citizenship, based on being born within and subject to US jurisdiction is the fully intended meaning of the 14th amendment. First, the constitution was heavily influenced by English common law, and to make sense of it requires understanding of it within that context. The Supreme Court said exactly this in its consideration of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898:
"The interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law, and are to be read in the light of its history."
The concept of natural-born citizenship had been well established in English common law prior to the time of the 14th amendment:
"All persons born within the dominion of the Crown (with the very limited exception before stated*), whether of British or foreign parents . . . are to all intents and purposes British subjects and owe allegiance to, and are entitled to protection from, the Sovereign of the realms. [my emphasis]" (Nationality: or The law relating to subjects and aliens, Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, 1869)
*The exception related to those whose parents were accused of high treason etc.
Note how the language and structure of the 14th amendment are influenced by the language and structure of this English common law principle. It's within this context that we should interpret the intended meaning of that amendment. That is exactly what the Supreme Court have repeatedly done. For example in the case of Inglis v. The Trustees of Sailor’s Snug Harbor (1830) the Court said:
"That the father and mother of the demandant were British born subjects is admitted. If he was born before the 4th of July, 1776, it is as clear that he was born a British subject. If he was born after the 4th of July, 1776, and before the 15th of September, 1776 [when the British again occupied New York, where Inglis was born], he was born an American citizen, whether his parents were at the time of his birth British subjects or American citizens. Nothing is better settled at the common law than the doctrine that the children even of aliens born in a country while the parents are resident there under the protection of the government and owing a temporary allegiance thereto are subjects by birth. [my emphasis]"
This demonstrates the use of the English common law principle - where you are born confers your rights and protections as a subject, not who your parents are - was used as part of US jurisprudence, and became the template for the principle of natural born citizenship in the United States (with only some slight changes to wording) well before the 14th amendment. Another example:
"Before our Revolution, all free persons born within the dominions of the King of Great Britain, whatever their color or complexion, were native-born British subjects; those born out of his allegiance were aliens. Upon the Revolution, no other change took place in the law of North Carolina than was consequent upon the transition from a colony dependent on a European King to a free and sovereign State; British subjects in North Carolina became North Carolina freemen; and all free persons born within the State are born citizens of the State. The term "citizen," as understood in our law, is precisely analogous to the term "subject" in the common law, and the change of phrase has entirely resulted from the change of government. The sovereignty has been transferred from one man to the collective body of the people, and he who before as a "subject of the king" is now "a citizen of the State." [my emphasis](State v. Manuel, 1838)
In other words, when the former British colony became the United States, the English common law principle of natural born citizenship changed only inasmuch as "subject" became "citizen". But we can also find clues that go back even further that prove that this was indeed the established common law meaning in the US:
"It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth however derives its force sometimes from place and sometimes from parentage, but in general place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States; it will therefore be unnecessary to investigate any other. [my emphasis]" (James Madison, 1789)
And yet more (from the first legal treatise ever published in the US):
"It is an established maxim, received by all political writers, that every person owes a natural allegiance to the government of that country in which he is born. Allegiance is defined to be a tie, that binds the subject to the state, and in consequence of his obedience, he is entitled to protection… The children of aliens, born in this state, are considered as natural born subjects, and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens. [my emphasis]" (Judge Zephaniah Swift, A System of the Law of the State of Connecticut, 1795)
And yet more:
"Therefore every person born within the United States, its territories or districts, whether the parents are citizens or aliens, is a natural born citizen in the sense of the Constitution, and entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining to that capacity…Under our Constitution the question is settled by its express language, and when we are informed that, excepting those who were citizens, (however the capacity was acquired,) at the time the Constitution was adopted, no person is eligible to the office of president unless he is a natural born citizen, the principle that the place of birth creates the relative quality is established as to us. [my emphasis]" (William Rawle, A View of the Constitution, 1829)
And even more. The case of Lynch v. Clarke (and Lynch) centred around the question of whether a girl born in New York, to Irish parents (who were not citizens) was herself a US citizen and entitled to inherent the part of her fathers estate that was in the US. Justice Clarke wrote:
"First. It is insisted by the defendants that the rule of the common law is to govern this case on the point of alienage. It is an indisputable proposition, that by the rule of the common law of England, applied to these facts, Julia Lynch was a natural born citizen of the United States [my emphasis]" (Lynch v. Clarke (and Lynch), 1844).
In fact there is so much historical evidence that the 14th amendment reflected a well established common law principle of natural-born citizenship in the United States (regardless of parentage), which was itself modelled on the English common law principle, that I don't believe any reasonable person could dispute it.
In case after case the Supreme Court ruled on the principle of natural born citizenship noting that the alienage of the parents is irrelevant to the citizenship if the offspring (as per the original English common law principle). The only historical exceptions I have found relate to those whose parents are on diplomatic mission (as per custom and practice), those who were members of a recognized native American tribe (due to the unique relationship between native American tribes and the US government), and those who were part of a hostile invading nation (as per custom and practice). And the second exception was superseded in 1924 by the Indian Citizenship Act, which ensured all native Americans were afforded the rights and protections of US citizenship.
So natural born citizenship based on where you were born and not who your parents are, is a well established common law principle that dates back to medieval England, and became a well documented part of US jurisprudence as with many other principles of English common law which became the basis for the constitution.
Is the principle of natural born citizenship beneficial and unproblematic in the 21st century? I believe that is a separate discussion to the constitutionality of the principle. On the subject of constitutionality, according to US jurisprudence, failing to afford children born in the United States the rights and protections of natural born citizens, would be unconstitutional. And I don't believe that is controversial. I think it's well established. I think it is almost certain that the Supreme Court would strike down any legislation that attempted to do so as unconstitutional (likely quoting some of the decision above to establish that precedent). Therefore regardless of the benefits or problems that may be associated with natural born citizenship, to strip those children of their citizenship, and discontinue the practice of that principle, I think it is clear that an amendment to the Constitution would almost certainly be required.
You make a very good case but the determination of the 14th amendments intent is rather muddied basing it on British and common law understandings. If it were intended to apply to all born within the jurisdiction without the "subject to" wording I would have no problem even with your references to outside influence. ie. British law. However, when applied to intent which is always the harbinger of any argument the term "subject to" carries a special meaning into the vernacular of the argument. Black and white reality of the law as some would find simplistic at best and problematic at worst it deserves review as the intent of dropping the baby within the borders of the US for citizenship and family consideration is beyond the scope of the law as it was written. That is why "subject to" is the modifier in the case. Because the Supreme Court has decided one way or the other is not germane to the argument as it has interpreted it and judged it thusly without having a decision on the "Anchor Baby" reasoning currently employed by illegal immigrants.
Subject to what we may ask? Location? We know the location can only mean the states within the jurisdiction of the US including whatever trust territories are included. Persons related to the confines of the jurisdiction? It is the same result. But law within those jurisdictions also includes what laws have been broken and by who. If the mother is here illegally she is in violation of the law and should be deported with as much expediency as the system can allow. As a fugitive is she allowed the protection any other law biding citizen is allowed? Only as far as human rights show necessary. So what of the baby? In essence we should keep the baby and send the mother away if the letter of the law is to be followed. But what a horrendous thing to do let alone the liabilities of raising the child within the system adrift from their parents. So because of the baby the law is subverted to grant the baby citizenship and overlook the illegal act of the parents effectively breaking the law to enforce the law.
Your interpretation of the "subject to" phrasing overlooks the logic of the violation. Separating the two mutually inclusive actors in the case to adhere to a law otherwise created to fix something 150 years ago and then discounting it to excuse the criminal is why we are at this juncture. If anything this needs to be reviewed for clarity and determination rather than left to interpretation that condones criminal behavior.
Once again I am not saying the child should receive no consideration because they have been haplessly thrown into this situation but here comes that intent again. In most cases it is the intent of the parents to confound the law with an emotional solution sans a legal one. The legal solution should be as it was intended of waiting to enter the country legally and have a child legally within the confines of the US. The slaves were brought here against their will and when freed were told they and their offspring had no claim to citizenship and not the other way around by coming here of their own volition to have a baby on US soil for it to be a US citizen. That was the intent of the law.
I take your point that the amendment has not been considered by the Supreme Court in relation to the the concept of "anchor babies" which can be considered a novel circumstance. That might serve as justification for the Supreme Court to hear a case, but the Court's existing interpretation is unequivocal and I don't see how the Court would be able to arrive at a different interpretation.
I'm aware of the argument about partial, territorial jurisdiction vs. complete, political jurisdiction. The idea being that foreign nationals may be within jurisdiction of the US, but not subject to it. So for example a tourist who visits the US is within US jurisdiction (they have to follow the laws of the land, and can be prosecuted if they break those laws) but are not subject to US jurisdiction (they cannot be drafted to serve in the armed forces, cannot be called to serve on a jury, cannot be prosecuted for treason etc). And that makes sense in isolation. The problem is that when you apply that reasoning to the constitution, it changes the intended meaning of the 14th amendment. That interpretation would mean that only children born in the US, and whose parents are US citizens, could be deemed to have US citizenship. Historical records tell us that is not the intended meaning or purpose of the 14th amendment.
As you rightly say, the well documented intention of the 14th amendment was to ensure African Americans were conferred citizenship. In that respect the amendment effectively reversed the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision. There was already legislation to this effect (Civil Rights Act of 1866) but the concern was that this could be repealed by a later Congress. So the framers of the 14th amendment intended to enshrine the principle within the constitution. The interpretation outlined above effectively removes the ability of the 14th amendment to fulfil its purpose. It would mean that African Americans born within the United States, but whose parents were not born within the United States and therefore not citizens (e.g. those brought over on slave ships) could not be conferred citizenship. That would be contrary to the purpose of the amendment.
So the Supreme Court held that the nationality (and citizenship status) of the parents has no bearing on a child's citizenship, as in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898. The parents in this case were "domiciled" in the United States. They were not citizens of the United States. According to the alternative interpretation (which was expressed in dissent) the parents were not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States because technically they still held political allegiance to the Emperor of China. However the majority interpreted "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" to mean being required to obey US laws. They took the view that the Citizenship Clause of the 14th amendment had to be considered in light of the existing common law, jurisprudence (birthright citizenship was historically the dominant legal principle in relation to citizenship in the US), and the intention of the 14th amendment (which would be circumvented by any other interpretation). And in my opinion, the decision reached by the 6 - 2 majority in this case makes the most sense in relation to those considerations.
Bringing this into the modern era, I can't see how the legality of the parents presence in the country changes any of the arguments that were already made in US v. Wong Kim Ark. To confirm that, in Plyler v. Doe (1982) the Court specifically rejected the idea that illegal immigrants to the United States are are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. So I can't see how the existing interpretation of jurisdiction is by novel concepts like "anchor babies" etc.
If the issue is that such practices have made the meaning of the 14th amendment no longer beneficial, fine, but that is for Congress to address not the Supreme Court. The Court's role is to determine whether measures taken by Congress to address such issues, are constitutional, not change the meaning of the Constitution to accommodate different political and cultural circumstances.
I agree with your arguments and that Congress needs to address the issue of illegal Immigrant parents allowing to go untouched because of their offspring's rights to citizenship. Leaving a re-evaluation of the current law the way it is written up to the Supreme Court may be disastrous as we have seen with other laws grossly misinterpreted. Fuzziness is a dangerous option to turn over to them especially with their penchant for biased judgments'.
The real crux of the matter will be who and how many will be allowed to stay?
I also want to thank you for an intelligent conversation devoid of name calling and assumptions that normally go on around here.
Yes the issue needs to be addressed, however the proposal to simply strip potentially millions of children of US citizenship, is a serious cause for concern. Immigration problem or not, I genuinely believe the American public would not tolerate the site of parents and children being dragged from their homes en masse by government officials, if that is what is being proposed. I think people would rightly call for a better solution than that. It's the government's job (with input from all the relevant stakeholders, including the public) to work that solution out.
Very interesting and informative, and likewise, thanks for keeping it civil.
I don't think striping the children of their citizenship is the most moral way of dealing with this. I still think in order to show consequences for the actions of their parents they have to go home. The children could apply for citizenship when they are eighteen or twenty and re-enter the country under a modified passport. To continue as a citizen some conditions should be met. One being a language, cultural and government course of study completed with a plan for work or further education. Once again it is the consequences for the actions that must be paid to make it fair for all who wish to come here.
The children of illegal immigrants are currently recognized as citizens and are afforded the same constitutional rights as any other citizen. The government could not forcibly remove those children from their homes, and send them to a foreign country, without impinging on their constitutional rights. So the choice is: 1) Strip the children of their citizenship so that parents and children can be forcibly removed together; 2) Continue to recognize the children's citizenship, forcibly remove the parents, and hope the parents choose to take their children with them.
In the first case: retrospectively removing the citizenship from someone who is currently recognized as a natural born citizen would have grave ramifications for every citizen. And, as you point out, is not the most ethical approach.
In the second case: if the children's citizenship is still recognized, then those taken from the country by their deported parents would be able to return whenever they want. The only way to avoid that would be to create a two tier system, where children born in the US to illegal immigrants are literally 'second class' citizens who do not have the same privileges as other citizens.
More importantly though, what provision would there be for children whose parents decide to leave them behind because they think separation is a price worth paying for their child to have the opportunities available in the US?
And in either of those cases, what would happen with adults whose parents entered the country illegally decades ago, and who now have children of their own? Would parents, children and grandchildren all be deported? How far back would it go? And if there was a cut-off point e.g. only children born within the last 10 years, how would that be justified? Why 10 years and not 8 or 5 or 14?
And of course none of that changes the inevitable result of such a policy anyway. The images of parents and children (who may be US citizens) being forcibly removed from their homes en masse by (probably armed) government officials. No amount of PR can spin that convincingly in a positive way. All it would take is one overzealous official, one child getting hurt, to galvanise people not only to disapprove of such a policy, but to actively resist it. That's obviously pure speculation on my part, but I think it's a reasonably foreseeable scenario given people's natural tendency to be protective of children. I think people would decide that harming children is too greater price to pay for the perceived benefits of such a policy. While the idea might might be resonating with some people at the moment because there is a genuine desire to do something about the issue of immigration, I think anyone who tried to run with it seriously would be committing political suicide.
Write up an amendment and when it passes, thats it. Change O Presto. No more citizenship to babies whose parents are not citizens.
No more Mr. Nice Guy.
We can't afford it.
Taking into consideration that Congress passes an amendment to exclude Anchor Babies and their families to protection from deportation with the 14th amendment I don't think it would be any worse than when Elian Gonzales was seized and sent back to Cuba. Yeah the press will have a field day but it all blew over quickly.
These people must go if the US is to have any credibility. Are we to accept that because our hearts go out to these people our laws should dissipate as a result? How are our citizens treated in other countries if they even stray into another country? They are tried as spies and sometimes shot or worse. We just want them to go home. Their presence has undermined our economy, our sovereignty and our culture. It is time to send them home. If they want to be here so badly they have an easy way towards citizenship yet they choose not to do it. Join the military. Their mere presence here is an exercise in hypocrisy. By committing an illegal act they want protection by the law, from the law they broke.
Whatever scenario you wish to present it still comes down to holding one accountable for their actions. If that person gets away with it in years it changes only who and how many are involved. Sending people back to their homes is not a cruel or ethical question. If they never lived there then they will have to start over again. They can apply to come back and wait their turn if they wish. By giving them a precedence of others getting away with it you will never stop it.
Even with an amendment, the fact is that those children are currently natural born citizens. So you would have no choice but to retrospectively strip US citizens of their citizenship. The US government cannot revoke the citizenship of a natural born citizen against their will (Afroyim v. Rusk , 1967). Either you are overestimating the public's appetite for wanting to see that happen, or I am underestimating the public's appetite for it. Evidence suggests the former.
In a survey in May 2015, 72% of the public believed that undocumented immigrants currently in the US should be allowed to stay if they meet certain requirements (affiliation: 80% Democrats, 76% independents, 56% Republicans). Of the 27% who opposed allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally, only 17% favored a "national law enforcement effort to deport all immigrants here illegally".
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 … migration/
Gallup has a figure of around 19% overall in favor of "Deporting all [illegal immigrants] back to home countries", and 79% overall in favor of allowing illegal immigrants to either stay for a limited time, or staying and gaining citizenship.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/184577/favor … rants.aspx
So I don't think a policy of mass deportations is going to be implemented any time soon. And, due to the requirements for amending the constitution, I think it would be politically impossible for such an amendment to be passed by Congress, let alone be ratified.
But it's not just a choice between deporting all illegal immigrants, or doing nothing at all. That's false dichotomy. As the rounding up of parents and children en masse at gunpoint (how else would they be compelled?) is obviously not something that is likely to happen soon, how about considering some reasonable alternatives? I can't see what is unreasonable about these proposals:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul … t-2013.pdf
You have great links to polls that find your opinion quite valid. But are polls the basis by which we should base an amendment? We have seen where polls indicate something one way but when put to the test and in the solitude of the voting booth they are off and in some way by a vast margin. Instead of basing a policy on a poll which would be very convenient for those it favors this needs to be debated on the floor of Congress. Mind you I don't have a lot of faith that the slime bags have a ethical or moral bone in their bodies, the debate should be made and voted on nevertheless.
Better yet if we really wish to make a real dent in the illegal immigrant status in this country lets institute a ironclad verifiable green card system whereby employers are held accountable for hiring illegal immigrants. They would not be here if it were not for the opportunities they have exploited and those who exploit their below average wage demands. Hefty fines should be levied and for second and third offenders jail time will sober up any employer liable for the practice.
This everything is okay bull$3!t we have tolerated for so many years has to have an end. People may say those that are for deportation are racists or bigots but we did not break the law. They did, and now with a huge hole in the law they want to force their way through the back door based on the US's lack of a backbone or ethics? It's time we grew a backbone and stood up for what is right and not what is just economical and expedient.
You're right, polls alone should not be the sole basis for amendments to the constitution, or public policy in general. Moreover just because a majority of people believe something, that doesn't mean it's right. But I think public opinion must be a factor when considering public policy. Surveys tend to be a reasonably accurate indicator of public opinion in most cases. So even with all the caveats that we know apply, surveys can be useful, because some indication of public opinion is better than none when considering policy.
And I agree, a policy that approaches the issue from different angles seems the most sensible approach. From making the border itself more secure, to holding businesses that employ undocumented immigrants accountable, I think a whole range of alternative measures to mass deportations, are possible and can address the issue effectively, if a sensible conversation can be had on the subject.
Unfortunately although many people (from the left and right sides of the political spectrum) recognize that immigration is a genuine concern, sometimes the reasonable voices asking for sensible immigration reform, are drowned out by hateful voices who have another agenda altogether, and it's hard to filter one from the other. So people who express concerns about immigration can be mislabelled, preventing the subject being discussed properly.
Even those among the moderate voices sometimes express their concerns in a way that sounds like they personally hate those individuals who enter the country. Most of those individuals just want a better life for themselves and their family. Is there any human being who can't relate to that desire? It would be foolish not to address the social problems caused by the issue of undocumented immigrants, but I think people's fears and concerns must be tempered with compassion and understanding. That's not being 'soft'. It's just a recognition that people in dire circumstances will always try to do better for themselves and their families. Let's not despise them for that. A lot of the rhetoric at the moment sounds as if people do.
A country founded on the principles of liberty and opportunity will always be a magnet to people who are without those things. That's an inescapable fact, and in many ways it's good thing. The challenge is in ensuring that the flow of people is controlled so that the system is not overwhelmed. It's not a lost cause. There are things that can be done. But I think keeping cool heads will play an important part of that. Rhetoric that stereotypes undocumented immigrants as being 'rapists' and 'murderers' etc. is counter-productive. It plays on people's concerns and elicits fear, which leads to hatred. I think the best stance to adopt in addressing this issue is firmness tempered with fairness, and reason tempered with compassion.
" I think the best stance to adopt in addressing this issue is firmness tempered with fairness, and reason tempered with compassion."
Ah you make a good point but what is firmness when applied to this situation? Is firmness to not allow any more to enter? Or is it how long the Illegal immigrant has set up residence here that is the deciding severity of the penalty? While the amendment reads and is interpreted in a totally different way than it was intended, only to be abused by the illegal immigrant, does it mean because of it's ambiguity the US is at fault and should overlook the illegal act?
I did not break the law but should I and many other working people in this country be made to compete with them and when I do so be paid lower wages because of the prevailing circumstances? Who is it fair for then?
In terms of what is 'firm' and what is 'fair' in relation to children born in the US to undocumented immigrants, the current proposal is that their parents register to qualify for a path to citizenship that includes: "passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line, behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally". https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immig … itizenship
I think that is firm, because it ensures that people who entered the country illegally have to pay an appropriate penalty for breaking the law. So the illegality of entering the country is not just ignored. And they would still have to go to the back of the line behind people who are trying to enter the country legally. In addition, although they would be required to pay their taxes: " . . . people with provisional legal status will not be eligible for welfare or other federal benefits, including subsidies or tax credits under the new healthcare law". That certainly seems firm to me.
But I also think it's fair to the children of undocumented immigrants, who themselves have done nothing wrong and have broken no laws. Punishing those children by deporting them to a country they may have never even been to is not only unfair, but also unjust in my opinion. It's also fair to US citizens in general 1) because it means everyone playing by the same rules and 2) because current US citizens will not have to subsidize those who entered the country illegally through the provision of social benefits.
I also think it's reasonable, because deporting 11 million people is not practical. It would cost a significant amount of money and take around 20 years according to one estimate. It's sensible to acknowledge that undocumented immigrants exist in society, bring those people out of the shadows and onto a legitimate path to citizenship where they can contribute fully.
And it's compassionate because 1) we all recognize that wanting to improve our situation is a universal human drive. I do not believe people entering the country illegally are all "rapists" and "murderers". I believe they are mostly just people striving for liberty and opportunity, as are we all; 2) the potential harm caused by forcibly removing possibly millions of children who have only ever known the US as their home, is incalculable. It would cause immense emotional and psychological trauma not only to the children, but also their parents, and even the officials who would be asked to implement that policy. I think such a policy goes beyond firmness. It would be brutal, cruel and unjust. Especially when alternatives like those outlined above are available.
But of course dealing with undocumented immigrants already in the country is only one part of addressing the issue. This has to be done in conjunction strengthening the border, and cracking down on companies that hire undocumented immigrants in the first place, which is the cause of the low wages you mention. If companies were heavily penalised for hiring undocumented immigrants, such cheap labor would no longer be an option.
I don't think I have seen any other practical proposals on immigration that are as firm but fair, reasonable but compassionate. If you know of any, I'd be happy to hear about them.
I understand what you are saying about the children being innocent in this mess and want them to have a method by which they can have some authority as an American citizen to reside here or coming back if deported. Being firm in making the parents learn the language and pay a penalty can go a long way but going to the back of the line waiting for citizenship is so fuzzy in that it allows them to continue in their crime until it isn't one?
I agree that going after employers who hire them is a good solution in the short term. But I would make it the way to deport them as well. Without legal status, work visas should be the only way that foreign workers could get a job here. Welfare would also be out of bounds without legal status. In 2008 when the recession hit approximately 1 million illegal immigrant workers returned home.  No one seems to be able to come to a conclusion as to how much welfare is given the illegal immigrants and what prosecution has been taken on them if any. Fact check refutes or greatly reduces the amounts claimed by conservative media. Some reasonable estimates are around 1.9 billion even though it against the law in many states to give it to illegal immigrants.  
By allowing this to continue and a softer approach to prosecuting and punishing those who do it sends what kind of message to these children? The "it's not your fault" phenomena overtaking our society will get a giant shot in the arm and teach these children that any crime is possible for review. It is just bad policy to overlook this and downplay it as you have argued.
 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor … d=98631244
 http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/cost-o … mmigrants/
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_I … ct_of_1996
To clarify, I'm not saying I want children who are born in the US to undocumented immigrants to "have some authority as an American citizen to reside here or coming back if deported". They already have that. They are currently US citizens and have the same rights and protections as any other citizen. I am saying I think it would be unjust to strip them of that citizenship (if that were possible under the constitution) and deport them to a country they may have never even been to, in order to punish their parents.
As I understand it "back of the line" means those undocumented immigrants who pass criminal background and national security checks, pay the relevant fees and penalties, demonstrate they are willing to work hard and learn English, would gain a provisional legal status (which allows them to contribute to society by paying taxes etc.) but they cannot be considered for full citizenship until the backlog of applications of people who are requesting citizenship legally has been cleared.
To these proposals, I would add an additional requirement. That of "active" citizenship. Those seeking to earn citizenship should be able to demonstrate that during the time of their provisional legal status, they have, or are, actively contributing to society. This could be demonstrated through voluntary work with a recognized organisation, involvement with sports in the community, or working with elderly people, young people etc.
But the possibility of deportation is not removed with these proposals. The provisional legal status can be revoked. Those who don't show a willingness to work, or to integrate (by learning English, active citizenship etc.) or who commit serious offenses, or who don't register, can still be deported. That option is always there. But that is very different to a blanket policy of deporting everyone (including hardworking individuals who would contribute to society) and stripping their US born children of their citizenship. As I said, I believe that would be not only unjust but also economically foolish.
In the words of the immigration paper: "It makes no sense to tell a major and sizeable group of people who are willing to work hard, learn English, pay taxes, and raise American children that they can never have access to full citizenship in this country. Indeed, this would undercut the very values that make our country strong." I agree. I think anyone who gets through the process above will have proved that they would likely be a valued member of society, and would have earned US citizenship. To clarify again, children born in the US to undocumented immigrants would not need to go through this process as they are already US citizens. The process would only be applicable to undocumented immigrants.
In terms of sending the wrong message. "Improper entry" into the US is a misdemeanor, similar in legal status to speeding, or driving without insurance. If you are found guilty of speeding etc, you pay the appropriate fine as required by law. You aren't banned from driving on the grounds that allowing you to continue sends the "wrong" message to your children. The current fines for illegal entry into the US are:
(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or
(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.
Secondly I think creating a clear path for hardworking people to become valued members of society, sends exactly the right message to the children of those undocumented immigrants. It sends the message that owning up to things you have done wrong in the past, being hard working, determined, willing to actively participate in society, are all attributes that society values and welcomes. In contrast, blanket deportations send the message that, who your parents are, is the most important thing about you. If your parents happen to be undocumented immigrants, then it doesn't matter how hard working you are, or how active you are in society, or how dedicated you are, clearly you are unworthy and should be banished from US soil (even though may have never lived in any other country). I consider that to be the opposite of what US values are about.
As I said, I have not seen any proposals that go this far towards addressing the legitimate concerns people have over immigration, while also advocating a pragmatic approach to the millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the country. It would be great to see Congress develop this further and achieve an agreement so that something could be done (even if it doesn't include everything everyone wants to see in it). But I'm not holding my breath.
The path to citizenship is what is the crux of the matter here. It is clearly outlined in the immigration laws and has not changed for a very long time. If you wish to change these laws to reflect the signs of the times then why can't we review the 14th amendment? You seem to think that there is an equality that should be observed between the ones who come here legally, the ones who are waiting to come and the ones who violated the law and in the process have settled and had children. It only emboldens those that circumvent the process even if you get your path to citizenship through Congress. The influx will not stop because the law has and will not stop it even if changed as you have outlined.
With the already overburdened resources of our government to track and deport the illegal immigrants what more resources are going to be needed to keep track of the newly accepted resident illegal citizen candidates? Who is going to verify the progress through these tiered requirements?
Many illegal workers get their jobs through fake papers and social security accounts and as well they pay taxes through payroll deductions by their employers. So the collection of taxes is a moot point as with the same fake papers some are able to collect food stamps and welfare.
As you said under the Constitution it is accepted by many that these anchor babies are indeed legal naturalized citizens. Their illegal immigrant parents in an act either planned or unplanned chose to have the baby here and now we are to change the law for acceptance of the illegal act for the sake of the child. The laws are clear and making me and all the other law biding citizens of the country change our laws to accommodate their misdemeanor or however else you wish to characterize it should not be upon us.
I still say we find a verifiable identification process for citizens to reside and work in the country and fine and or prosecute those that hire those that are here illegally. That is one way we don't have to change any laws and make the illegal immigrants go home. We the American worker and citizen are under seize for our jobs and resources. Maybe it is time to reverse that. The illegal immigrant made their decision to circumvent the law to pursue a better life for themselves and their family. Therefore Is it upon us to circumvent the law to accommodate them? According to the path to citizenship that seems to be the answer.
"...and fine and or prosecute those that hire those that are here illegally...."
Why do you think an equitable solution for the government failing to enforce its laws is to put the onus on employers?
Why do you think it is more fair or equitable for the government to tell an employer who he can or cannot hire, than it is for us to expect the government to enforce its own laws?
Do you really think employers should be held liable as counterfeit experts? Or even more basically, do you really want a situation where the government can tell you who you can or cannot hire? What about instances beyond the scope of immigration; like perhaps, ethnic quotas?
Of course that is wrong you say. The government can't tell me I have to hire a (pick a category), just to meet an ethnic or racial standard! But it is OK for the government to dictate who I can hire when it comes to immigration status.
Really? It's OK for the government to tell you who you can hire if it agrees with your philosophy, but it's not OK if you don't agree?
Come on rhansom, look beyond the partitions. It is the same thing. Government overreach. You wouldn't stand for it in other respects, yet you advocate it regarding immigration.
I only offer the solution based on a verifiable expectation of citizenship. If the employer hired illegals regardless of the law he would be doing so at his own peril. Is it unreasonable to expect an employer to do what is legal? Is "picking" on an illegal act against any moral or ethical expectation? I don't think so. I compete against illegal labor all the time and guess what it has gotten me? Lower profits and impossible pricing structures.
Am I to succumb to the growing trend of hiring illegal labor to compete with others? That is what it is coming down to. I go on jobsites where no one speaks English yet I am required to coordinate and explain complicated process's that go completely over their heads. Sometimes it comes down to using an app on my phone that translates for me. But that I have found is unreliable to the languages some of these illegal workers speak. Later I am made to redo or replace my work to make up for the miscommunication. This sometimes in the past has required me to remove my work so electrical or plumbing can be rerouted. Once again costing me precious time I could be elsewhere and materials that sometimes need to be re-ordered and waited on. Oh yeah I am compensated but usually at cost and hours. No profit there as well.
I don't know what you do or how much contact you have with the illegal workers but I am knee deep in it and it is getting worse. The biggest affect is the illegal competitors are driving the legal competition out of business. Is that fair to those employers?
No, but it is beneficial to those who care so much about non-citizen human beings. They are people too ya know. Can't we ALL live in peace, plenty and harmony?
Well... I may have been a bit over the edge in my comment. I understand your point, (and your problem).
I am struggling to decide on which side of the fence to land on this issue.
On the one hand, I think strict enforcement of of hiring laws would be helpful in the fight against illegal immigration. An easy choice when dealing with blatant offenders, but not so easy when dealing with employers that are offenders because they were fooled.
On the other hand I think it is wrong for the government to make employers their enforcement arm because the government is not doing its job. Then again, part of their job is making the rules, so is it wrong for government to ask employers to obey the rules? But... how much rule making authority do I want the government to have?
I need a third hand.
GA..... The problem is a multi faceted one I agree. But there has been resistance on all fronts yet we see complaints about the inaction of dealing with it. You have politicians who do not want anything to change as the illegal immigrants vote, or their relatives vote for those who support or do nothing about the problem. You have those who donate to candidates to keep allowing the cheap labor of illegal workers to make them the money and profits they want or compete against. You have the US citizen who does not want or will agree to a national identification card or any system claiming it a violation of their privacy. Everybody has an agenda for their wants regardless of the law. What are we to do?
We have major corporations indicted in scams to hire more illegal workers in the face of the problem. " Tyson Foods Inc., the nation's largest meat producer and processor, was indicted yesterday with six employees on charges that it conspired to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican border to work in its processing plants. 
We have the solution yet we ignore the governments responsibility. "Julie Wood, a former deputy director at ICE who now runs a consulting firm, said she'd like to see the burden of proving the legality of a company's workforce go from the employer to the government. She'd like to see a type of program, such as E-Verify, be implemented with the I-9 employment form. E-Verify is a voluntary and free program for private employers that checks a workers eligibility. 
If our privacy is the reason for our dilemma then I believe we are doomed to just accept the consequences as it erodes our way of life.
 http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/20/us/ty … rkers.html
 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/bus … s/1787213/
I agree, the influx will not stop with just a path to citizenship. That's why the proposals approach the problem from four different angles: 1) strengthen the border; 2) crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers; 3) give undocumented immigrants a path citizenship by going through a process of background checks, paying any penalties owed, learning English, then going to the back of the line; and (4) streamlining the legal immigration system.
In terms of resources: "According to CBO, the additional taxes paid by new and legalizing immigrants would not only offset the estimated cost of the Senate immigration bill, but would be substantial enough to reduce the deficit by nearly $850 billion over the next 20 years".
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul … t-2013.pdf
The key point I think you are not considering is that, ethical considerations aside, it's impractical and cost prohibitive to round up and deport 11 million people. In 2011 the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Congress that it costs around $12,500 to deport an undocumented immigrant. In 2012 the Department of Homeland Security estimated there are around 11.4 million undocumented immigrants in the US. That means it would cost $137 billion to apprehend and deport all the undocumented immigrants in the US.
In addition, Kibble said that the ICE is currently able to apprehend and deport around 400, 000 undocumented immigrants each year. At that rate it would take 27 years to deport all undocumented immigrants. Even if you increased the department's budget so that they doubled that rate, it would still take 13 years to deport every undocumented immigrant (assuming no new undocumented immigrants enter the country in that time).
http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/ … 2012_2.pdf
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112hh … g63875.htm
The total cost of improper payments for food stamps is currently $2.4 billion. That's not just fraud, that's every type of improper payment including inaccurate payments, incorrect recipient etc. So the cost of fraudulent payments is even lower than that. Even when you factor in every means tested program available, the total cost of improper payments still does not equal the cost of deporting 11 million people. And as I said previously the cost to parents, children, communities etc. in terms of the trauma, has no dollar amount. So using resources as the grounds for a blanket deportation policy makes no economic sense.
https://paymentaccuracy.gov/tracked/sup … -snap-2014
For children born in the US to undocumented immigrants, there is no change of law. The protection afforded them is an existing constitutional right. For undocumented immigrants in general, it makes sense to acknowledge the reality of the situation. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. And like it or not, it is just not economically viable to try to deport them all. It makes more sense to try to offer those people a path to citizenship, while securing the border to better control the flow of future migration.
I acknowledge and understand your point of view. but I find it difficult to blame individuals for seeking liberty and opportunity. I understand times have changed, and there are modern realities to consider, but for those desperate for the chance to have a semi-decent life, the words inside the Statue of Liberty must still ring true, even if the sentiment has faded in some parts.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
(Emma Lazarus, New Colossus)
They must enter legally.
They must become citizens legally.
Those who are already illegally here, give them a year. If they don't become citizens, send them back.
Promote public campaign/compliance to resist hiring illegals.
Secure the borders.
Would these expectations really be SO HARD?
Other countries have cracked down.
Why not us?
Bearing in mind that lawmakers have to agree before any real reform can happen, do you believe it is better to continue calling for what you consider the ideal solution (which is costly and impractical) simply because it's your ideal solution? Or do you believe it is better to accept proposals that are cost effective and economically viable, even though they are not your ideal? In other words, are you willing to let go of what you think is the ideal solution, so that something can be done?
Perhaps the entrenched idealism that leads to inaction in Congress, is just a reflection of the entrenched idealism in society in general. If individuals cannot compromise for the sake of pragmatism, then why are people surprised when Congress is unable to?
I believe a strong leader with conviction, sincerity and common sense (and no" baggage") could easily convince the naysayers. For instance, if George Washington were here he could get them to do the right thing.
Could Ben Carson?
While he has common sense, he just doesn't have the appropriate demeanor or experience in politics. We need someone who has been dealt a good hand of cards.
Trump? I am very suspicious. (He may be the Bush replacement.)
Yes, but in the absence of having the ability to resurrect George Washington, are you willing to let go of what you believe is the ideal solution, so that something can be done? Or do you believe that doing nothing is better than accepting a solution that does not meet your ideal?
Also, if all available evidence suggests that the current proposals (clear path to citizenship, strengthen the border, hold companies accountable for using undocumented workers) would be the most beneficial, then what criteria are you using to determine that those proposals are not the 'right' solution?
I do not believe in compromise.
Shoot for the stars and maybe we can reach the moon.
I'm sensing irony (at least I hope I so).
In case you're not being sarcastic, it's the inability (or refusal) to compromise that is at the heart of the dysfunction in Congress. Without compromise it's not possible to make group decisions effectively (unless the group in question is made up of robots that all think the same, so agree on everything).
As that's not the case, compromise is fundamental to the country's system of government. The nature of a pluralistic society, means it cannot be governed effectively without compromise. Government types that do function without compromise include dictatorships, totalitarian regimes, authoritarian regimes and theocracies. In short, any government type where a plurality of ideas, interests and opinions is not tolerated.
A healthy and harmonious pluralistic society, depends on people's ability to sometimes let go of what they believe is the ideal, in favor of what evidence indicates will actually work. If individuals can't or won't do that, why are people surprised when those who represent them can't or won't do it either?
You have some great links and make a strong case for overlooking the illegal act that has created this problem. To combine the innocent with the perpetrator and cleanse them both of their wrong with statistics and then make it an economical loss is equally brilliant. But the fact of the matter that Congress (I shudder to even leave this up to them) has to sort out is a chicken before the egg problem and then find an equitable solution. Your assertions that the child has all the rights of a US citizen right out of the womb trumps all solutions with regards to handling their status is at the crux of your argument and the first thing that is a question that has to be solved. In any other situation where someone commits a crime where they victimize another innocent person has a precedence that can be understood. For instance if one person steals something and sells it to a third party and then it is found out by the law what happened, the property is returned to the original owner, the perpetrator is convicted and punished and the third party is out the money and possibly convicted as well if they are found guilty of collusion in the crime. This takes place all the time and is precisely what should be replicated in the anchor baby dilemma. All the other solutions of paths to citizenship can be discussed as well but the crime committed should never be rewarded with considerations based on sympathizing with the willful illegal act.
My assertion is that any proposed immigration reform must be legislated in accordance with the constitution, as that represents the "supreme law of the land". Currently the constitution protects US citizens from being stripped of their citizenship, rounded up, and packed off to another country on the grounds of who their parents are. Campaigning to remove that protection (for certain people, deemed to be unworthy of it) is your right but, aside from the questionable ethics of such a policy, I believe doing so would have serious and far-reaching implications for all citizens. In addition, reliable evidence indicates that the blanket deportation policy you are suggesting is cost prohibitive and impractical. In short, other than assuaging people's fears of illegal immigrants, the policy you are suggesting has no real advantages, and many disadvantages.
So I'll ask you the same question I asked Kathryn: bearing in mind that lawmakers have to agree before any real reform can happen, do you believe it is better to continue calling for what you consider the ideal solution (which is evidently costly and impractical) simply because it's your ideal solution? Or do you believe it is better to accept proposals that evidence suggests are cost effective and practical, even though they are not your ideal? In other words, are you willing to let go of what you think is the ideal solution, so that something can be done? The reason I ask is because if individuals are so entrenched in their own ideals, that they cannot compromise, how can people expect Congress to?
The reason why I am pushing to export the illegal workers is quite simple. They are a very big part of the stagnant wages we have in this country. By flooding the market with cheap exploitable labor they have been able to prevent the working class to rise above their station by making it that much harder for a legal citizen to start out at a livable sustainable wage while either educating or working their way up the ladder of success. The gateway jobs are closed to anybody who does not live with somebody or many others which have the same agenda. Parents are taking in record numbers of their children as they fail to be able to get an entry level job and build their own life from there. We are creating a society of dependent people who have no hope.
This is an artificially created scenario in part due to the lack of the governments will to enforce the immigration laws by immediately deporting the illegal immigrants and by allowing trade agreements that ship what jobs are left overseas. We also have the corporate structure claiming H1B status for immigrating workers to fill jobs that Americans are supposedly not available to fill. Disney and California Edison have tried and in some cases have laid off Americans in their job functions to replace them with Indian workers at sub standard wages.
What part of America is going to be left to the worker who is trying to earn a decent living to raise a family and live with some assemblance of security? We are giving away the country to the very rich who prosper and exploit the lower class by decimating the middle class. An "it's okay" attitude opens us up to what next? It's okay to squat on other peoples land that no one is living on? How about it's okay to take a little money out of others accounts at the banks when they need to pay an electric bill? The list goes on and on as we compromise our laws with indifference and justify our actions with convenience.
Research suggests that legal status and citizenship reduces the pool of exploitable cheap labor, and has a wider economic benefit:
"The Migration Policy Institute has found that, between 1993 and 2010, naturalized citizens earned between 50 and 70 percent more than noncitizens, and also were employed at higher rates in 2010 and 2011. Most of this wage difference is explained by the fact that naturalized immigrants have, on average, higher educational achievement, better English language ability, higher representation in high-wage sectors, and more work experience in the U.S."
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul … t-2013.pdf
And that makes sense if you think about it. An undocumented worker is easier to exploit through lower wages. Even with skilled jobs, the wages are lower, because the illegal status of such workers restricts their options. The fact that undocumented workers have to work for lower wages (regardless of skill) helps maintain the pool of cheap, exploitable labor. Reducing that pool through a policy of mass deportations is one option, but available information suggests that's not economically viable, or practical. Another option is to offer a path to citizenship, with a legal status in the meantime. That's a prerequisite for being able to obtain higher paid jobs:
"The mechanisms that contribute to the citizenship premium are likely to include a number of factors, including the ability to obtain jobs and licenses for which citizenship is required; jobs that require travel, which is often easier for those with U.S. passports; and citizenship serving as a signal to employers that a person means to stay in the U.S. (in addition to a guarantee that they are legally present). This research suggests that the largest factor, however, may be the less tangible one: the greater certainty that accompanies citizenship leads to more investment, for example, in education and training, or more willingness to take the risk of starting a business".
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul … t-2013.pdf
And the fact that immigrants with legal status or citizenship can move away from the "gateway jobs" and skilled (but underpaid) jobs, not only reduces the pool of cheap exploitable labor, but also has a positive impact on the economy in general:
"The resulting productivity and wage gains ripple through the economy because immigrants are not just workers—they are also consumers and taxpayers. They will spend their increased earnings on the purchase of food, clothing, housing, cars, and computers. That spending, in turn, will stimulate demand in the economy for more products and services, which creates jobs and expands the economy."
http://dornsife.usc.edu/assets/sites/73 … in_web.pdf
The security of citizenship has a positive effect too, in that it provides greater incentive for immigrants to invest in themselves, through education etc.
"Those who plan to work in U.S. labor markets long term have a greater incentive than other immigrants to invest in human capital valued in U.S. labor markets."
http://people.terry.uga.edu/mustard/cou … enship.pdf
But the difference is that immigrants with legal status, can take advantage of their additional value in the labor market, whereas undocumented workers (even those who do have skills) cannot.
Another benefit is that the security of citizenship encourages investment, and the transition from worker to potential business owner:
"This greater certainty may lead to a range of new investments that raise workers’ productivity and benefit the economy at large, for example: obtaining tailored education and vocational training, starting a new business in the U.S., making deeper investments in their local communities and labor markets – investments they might not make if they were unsure whether they could remain in the
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul … t-2013.pdf
In addition, a path to citizenship also produces some direct economic savings:
"CBO and JCT estimate that enacting S. 744, as passed by the Senate, would generate changes in direct spending and revenues that would decrease federal budget deficits by $158 billion over the 2014 2023 period (see Table 1, enclosed with this letter). CBO also estimates that implementing the legislation would result in net discretionary costs of $23 billion over the 2014-2023 period, assuming appropriation of the amounts authorized or otherwise needed to implement the legislation. Combining those figures would lead to a net savings of about $135 billion over the 2014-2023 period from enacting S. 744."
In contrast, a policy of mass deportations would cost at least $137 billion, based on 2012 figures from Homeland Security. The current cost is likely to be higher than that now. In addition the cost of securing the border itself has to be factored in. To achieve that, the budget for the ICE would need to be increased significantly.
So if we are considering whether this is the "right" policy. In terms of the economy. I have not seen any information, from a reliable source, indicating that a policy of mass deportations makes economic sense. In contrast I have seen lots of information, from multiple reliable sources, indicating that a path to citizenship makes economic sense: it pays for itself, and actually results in an economic gain in the long run.
In terms of the constitution, I have not seen any Supreme Court decision indicating that it is constitutional for the government to strip a US born citizen of their citizenship against their will. In contrast I have seen Supreme Court decisions that indicate that this is unconstitutional.
In terms of ethics, that's more difficult because it's so subjective, but I have not seen any argument that leads me to believe that government officials forcibly removing children, who are US citizens, from their homes and deporting them to another country, is an ethical act. In contrast I have lots of reasons to question the ethics of that act, and to question the wisdom of a constitutional amendment that gives government such a power. Such an amendment seems contrary to the values of the constitution. It would protect government from citizens by failing to acknowledge those citizens rights. The constitution was framed to protect citizens from government, by acknowledging citizens' rights.
And so it goes. On every point, I see less benefit to a policy of mass deportations and more benefit to having a path to citizenship. And that is the basis on which I am concluding that a path to citizenship is the "right" policy. Given the above information, I am still unclear on what basis you are concluding that mass deportations is the best option. I understand what your view is, but I don't understand what information you are basing your view on.
Once again great points and analysis of a current situation. Your points also hinge on the premise that we are better off because the illegal immigrant worker has raised the bar by which people are hired and paid. Yes that is true while it displaces the American worker and what they could have attained with an entry level job in their youth to an adult worker with the experience necessary to earn more. The illegal immigrant worker in your analysis accounts for supplanting the American worker for what good? The American workforce? The American employer? What it does show is that through illegal action the illegal immigrant worker has not only surpassed but lowered the American workers opportunities and wage. You cannot clean up this illegal act no matter what analysis you wish to employ or show as a positive movement for the citizens or legal immigrants. The illegal immigrant has superseded the laws of this country and for their own gain created a situation where we must compromise our laws and ethics.
I understand what you are saying. The problem is that the issue is not a question of morality now. It's a question of pragmatism. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. You are perfectly entitled to express moral indignation at the way some (not all) of those people entered the country, but the reality is that you still have 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. So it's become a practical matter of how best to address that issue.
Lots of different reliable sources suggest that mass deportations would not be economically viable, or practical. And you can understand why. Imagine rounding up 11 million people. Just apprehending that number of people would take decades, and massive resources. Yet it would have next to no real benefit, other than easing some people's sense of moral outrage.
That's why others are suggesting a more pragmatic approach. An approach that says, like it or not, these people are here and there is no practical way of changing that. We can do nothing, in which case those people stay in the shadows, providing a readily available source of cheap labor, with no civil responsibility or accountability. Or we can make those who entered the country illegally pay a fine, give them a temporary legal status, and offer the chance to earn citizenship. In which case, those people can come out of the shadows, get better jobs (reducing the pool of cheap labor), become responsible (pay their taxes) and accountable (commit a crime, be deported).
Does that mean some native born citizens would be displaced from some jobs? The honest answer has to be yes, it's likely some would be. But how significant that displacement would be is debatable. For higher skilled jobs, a greater threat comes from the H-1B visas you mentioned previously, that allow companies to outsource for temporary skilled technical workers from outside the country. Bringing in people temporarily from other countries is potentially much cheaper than hiring a native citizen or a resident with legal status. That issue needs to be addressed regardless of what happens with this one.
Weighing up all the pros and cons of the situation, there just seem to be more pros than cons to earned citizenship. It's not that people think entering the country illegally is fine. It's about choosing the most pragmatic option with the least cost, and most benefit. So again, it all comes down to a compromise. You can insist on a solution you think is the moral ideal, but isn't practical or economically viable; or accept a solution that is workable and beneficial in the long run, but doesn't meet your moral ideal. In a society where people have different interests and convictions (meaning people won't always agree with each other) no compromise means no action, which is possibly the worst outcome of all.
Pragmatism is okay if you want to brush aside the point. We are a nation of laws. It is the only thing that binds us together. With all the emphasis on individual freedoms and liberties such as politics, religion and cultural bias, the law has to be at the forefront in the determination for the outcome. If not we loose our basis for liberty and justice. You see that with who gets deported and who waits to enter the country. Because of their unwillingness and or desperation the illegal immigrant who has had children put themselves first in line with no waiting. Both justice and fairness is thrown out the door because of it. If we cannot respect our own laws then what good is our Constitution and for that matter this society as a whole. 30 million illegal people in this country shows the world how very lazy we are and how compromised we have allowed ourselves to become. It is just shameful on us.
As the name suggests, the proposed Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, is intended to modernize existing immigration law so it can address this issue in a way that is practical, economically viable and otherwise beneficial to society (as all laws should aim to do). So this is not about circumventing law, or a lack of respect for law. It's the opposite. It demonstrates a commitment to making sure laws related to immigration are fit for purpose. Current immigration law is not, which is why the change is being proposed.
But although preventative measures proposed in the Bill, like strengthening the border security etc., can help control the flow of future immigration, that alone would not help address the issue of the 11 million (don't know where you got 30 million) undocumented immigrants in the country right now. Available information indicates strongly that current immigration law cannot effectively address that issue. That's why changes are being proposed that will do just that. Some may lament the fact that this situation exists, and call the current state of affairs "shameful", which is fine, but that won't improve anything. No matter how much you wish the current situation were different, the reality is what it is.
So the choice is: continue with the same old laws, that are evidently unfit for purpose and will definitely make the situation worse; make changes that evidence suggests would be of little benefit, or even make the situation worse; or use information currently available to make changes that improve the law, allowing the country to better control future immigration, while also dealing with the issue of 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. Regardless of how much people may wish things were different, the latter is the most reasonable option in my view.
You said "we are a nation of laws". Absolutely agree. But laws can be, and are, amended in response to changing social circumstances. Those amendments are (hopefully) based on reliable information that indicates their benefit. That's pretty much what the current situation is. It's not brushing the law aside, it's fixing the law, to make it more effective.
Thank you for your superb contributions to this thread.
First off I apologize for the typo referring to 30 million illegal immigrants. You are correct in stating it to be 11 million as is generally accepted.
By the book interpretation of the intent of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act seems to address the problems that are currently in debate. But you and it neglects to address the political fall out despite what the law intends. By allowing the Anchor Baby problem to be solved by overlooking the illegal immigration of these offenders, it allows a political divide to be turned into a new political front. It turns the tide in favor of electing those newly minted citizens to now vote in a block that can heavily sway elections and policy against others who do not feel the same way. It can change other laws about illegal immigration as well allowing unprecedented new laws that further affect those who have generations of time living here legally.
I am sorry but I don't buy any of your arguments where by the legal and law biding citizenry see any gain or advantage in allowing the overturning of the law for humane purposes. Instead it only threatens our sovereignty and weakens us as a whole to allow one group to over run our immigration laws because of convenience and or expense. The new political outlook will also weaken us as the bias that will be at the heart of those who profit from the change in all immigration policy will be greatly slanted towards a very large new biased voting block.
Changing laws can have unintended consequences, and it's reasonable (sensible even) to consider that when deciding public policy.
Census data for 2013 indicates approximately 18 million naturalized citizens in the country (5.8% of total population). As citizens those people are already eligible to vote. Current projections also indicate a shift in demographic for the general population (by 2050 nearly 1 in 5 US citizens will be an immigrant). Projections also indicate the Hispanic electorate (a significant proportion of naturalized citizens are Hispanic) will double by 2030.
http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2008/02/ … 2005-2050/
http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/11/14/a … e-by-2030/
http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tabl … Type=table
All these projections are based on trends formed under existing immigration law. So the shift in demographics you are referring to would not be the result of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. That shift is already predicted, even without changes to current immigration law, because it is part of the general increase in diversity of the population that will naturally happen over time.
And although I think it's right to consider unintended consequences, we need to be careful not to fall into the trap of making negative assumptions about people based on their country of birth. I think the nature of the proposed process for earning citizenship, means those who successfully go through it, may well be more responsible and civil minded than lots of natural born citizens. So although I acknowledge and understand the concern, I think it's unreasonable to conclude that someone represents a threat to society, on the grounds that they were born outside the United States. I don't think that kind of prejudgment of people is the best way to decide what public policy should be.
Your conclusion that assuming someone voting on their ethnicity is not relevant as a reason that it won't happen does not take into consideration the relationship with regards to relatives who migrate here. How can it be assumed any other way that relatives here who may or may not be naturalized citizens will vote any other way than to help their relatives gain status or benefits due to their relationship with them? If you have 11 million people here under illegal auspices with the countless others who are related and here legally, the odds are staggering what type of voting block you can employ with ease. That is a very dangerous situation indeed. With the ability to vote for immigration legislation, welfare eligibility and food stamps, healthcare and Medicaid benefits, the change can be staggering in favor of those granted instant citizenship. Your references don't address this nor are they pertinent to the argument.
I think I have a better understanding of your concerns. The legal status that would allow undocumented immigrants to reside and work in the country, does not include the right to vote. Only citizenship confers that right. So there would not suddenly be a bloc of 11 million new voters appearing overnight.
Likewise, legal status is not a shortcut to citizenship. After proving eligibility for citizenship through passing a background check, paying a penalty, learning English etc., people still have to go to the back of the line behind those who are trying to become citizens legally. Undocumented immigrants who register for legal status would have to wait at least 13 years to become citizens, while remaining in employment, and not being arrested for any criminal activity. So there will not suddenly be 11 million new (voting) citizens overnight either.
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s … 744pap.pdf
For those reasons, while the concerns you have expressed are perfectly valid, I don't think the reforms in this Bill can reasonably be linked to those concerns. The Bill does not create any new eligible voters in the mid to short term. It can't. What it does is create a path to citizenship. Not a quick path, or necessarily an easy one, but a clear path, and a fair one, that allows people currently living in the shadows to fully integrate with, and contribute to, their communities and the economy. Again, I don't know of any other proposal that accomplishes the same.
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul … t-2013.pdf
You place too much confidence in our system to weed out the huckleberries in our midst. While the popular theory is that there is little voter fraud among the constituency all it takes to vote is a drivers license and an address in many jurisdictions. The ability to stop the flow of illegal immigration is about as competent as the ability to monitor the voter registration in this country. You seem to try and counter every argument with a legal statute that will fix whatever problem there is with this issue. Let me clue you in on something. It has to be enforced which is what does not happen. That is why we are in the situation we are currently. Because of our lack of enforcement of undocumented immigrants we are in this predicament. I have no confidence in this countries ability or will to correct any of it through some new laws or the ones pending.
On another note. With what you say is the fair way to legalize the illegal immigrant worker it does nothing for many small and some large business workers to improve their pay or benefits. By displacing the American worker and lowering their wages and benefits you are saying to them, too bad for you as you will just have to suck it up and either change your occupation or just accept your fate. That does not sit well with many in an effort to allow these illegal workers to remain. It is easy for those who are paying the work force the lower wages whom it does not affect. But if you look at the stagnant wages that have affected the lower 90% of the population since the seventies it just makes those in this situation angry and dissatisfied with our government and their lack of action. This speaks volumes when you begin to see why idiots like Trump gain quick popularity among the many.
I can find no reliable evidence indicating that voter fraud is a significant problem. What information is your assertion about voter fraud based on?
I accept and agree that legislation is more likely to be effective if it is enforced. I also agree with your view that I ". . . try and counter every argument with a legal statute that will fix whatever problem there is". I think judging legislation on how well it addresses real world problems, is a reasonable way of determining whether that legislation is sensible or not. Ironically, the Bill does in fact address the issue of enforcement.
S.744 is structured in such a way that enforcement (particularly on the border) must be improved, as defined by a series of measurable targets. Achieving these targets will then "trigger" the implementation of other parts of the Bill. Those other parts of the Bill cannot be implimented uless those targets are achieved.
So for example, applications for legal status cannot start to be processed: ". . . earlier than the date upon which the Secretary has submitted to Congress the Notice of Commencement of implementation of the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy and the Southern Border Fencing Strategy under section 5 of this Act".
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s … 744pap.pdf (Section 3, Effective Date Triggers, Subsection C(2))
This means it would effectively be illegal to implement the path to citizenship aspects of the Bill, without first implementing the border security aspects of it. But it goes further. Even after applications can be processed, no legal status can be offered unless the Department of Homeland Security certifies that the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is deployed and fully operational; 700 miles of fencing is completed; 38,405 border patrol agents are deployed; the E-Verify employment verification system is in place, and a list of other requirements are implemented.
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s … 744pap.pdf (Section 3, Effective Date Triggers, Subsection C(3))
(for the minimum requirements of the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy, see section 5, sub section A(3))
So I think the Bill does a reasonable job of ensuring that improvements to enforcement are made before other aspects of immigration policy are modernized.
In relation to displacement of native workers, the 11 million undocumented immigrants are already in the country. Maintaining the status quo will not change that. On the other hand, the proposals in S.744 can: make it harder for companies to hire undocumented workers; enable undocumented workers to contribute to the economy through taxes and higher wages; improve enforcement through measures that strengthen border security; help ensure civil responsibility by making it part of the path to citizenship; improve integration by making English language skills part of the path to citizenship etc.
Si yes, better enforcement in the past would have helped prevent this from becoming the issue it has. But like it or not, that didn't happen and the current immigration system is broken and out of date. Fixing and modernizing it are a priority. Strengthening enforcement should be part of that, and it is. So as far as I can see, this Bill addresses all the major concerns you have raised, or is structured and balanced in such a way that it at least mitigates some of the potential downsides. It's not perfect (what legislation is?) but I am not aware of any other immigration proposals that have the same potential benefit and those in S.744.
My knowledge of voter fraud is based on knowing that the voter registration system in our country is seriously flawed and that it is not to much of a stretch to see where it can be abused. The other thing is that those who are here legally represent a huge biased vote that can sway the movement towards a path to citizenship especially for those who have family members in this situation. This legitimization of the illegitimate is unforgivable and wrong because of the expediency by those who have broken the law.
"and the current immigration system is broken and out of date. Fixing and modernizing it are a priority."
I can agree with this statement but the measures that are in place and being proposed are not in my opinion adequate to move forward while so many have gamed the system. The stigma and unresolved nature of who is here may suffice some to move on but it will cause many to doubt the legitimacy of the proposed resolutions to it. Moving 11 million people out of the country may not be feasible as you say but leaving so many virtually untouched by the law still sends the message that breaking the law and gaming it to meet your needs is cheating others who are doing the right thing. I know a few legal immigrants that came from Europe and they are enraged at how our country proposes to solve this problem. I can only sympathize with them and apologize for the decline in our ethical and weak justice system to effectively do the right thing by them.
It's very unlikely supporters of the Bill in Congress would remove or amend any part of it due to concerns over voter fraud, without reliable evidence indicating that is (or would be) a significant issue. With that in mind, what amendment(s) would you suggest to get the Bill passed, so that the type of fixing and modernizing most people apparently want to see, can happen?
http://www.gallup.com/poll/184577/favor … rants.aspx
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 … migration/
I have nothing other than years and common sense for your argument about voter fraud with regard to the illegal Hispanic immigrant populace. Just because there is no desire on the part of the government to enforce or investigate it does not make it impossible to exist.
Since you seem to want to use polls to make your point and I really hate getting into this as I stated from the beginning that polls are just that, polls. They reflect what the study wishes it to do.
"More than 60 percent of registered Hispanic voters do not think a pathway to citizenship for illegals would benefit the country, and most do not see it as the best way to solve the country’s immigration problems, a new poll shows." 
"Many Avoid Tough Path to Citizenship. Many Eligible Immigrants Don't Attempt Naturalization; Cost, Exam Are Cited" 
I could come up with these studies and polls all day long and it changes nothing. If you want this to happen then you and anybody else who feels the same way will argue the point. However your point is and has constantly been founded on ignoring one law in favor of another. Popular opinion is just that and has nothing to do with the principle.
 http://dailycaller.com/2015/07/17/poll- … z3mBl6TrY2
 http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014241 … 2056322192
There are so many issues with the survey you referenced, addressing them would mean going off on a complete tangent. So I'll forgo doing that in an effort to remain focused on the main subject. Suffice it to say that not all surveys should be accepted as equal and, for various reasons, I believe the results of the Gallup and Pew surveys (54% and 77% of Hispanics favor a path to citizenship respectively) are more reliable than the survey you have referenced.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/184577/favor … rants.aspx
http://www.people-press.org/2015/06/04/ … mmigrants/
The WSJ article you link to presents some good reasons as to why a path to citizenship is important, and indicates the desire of undocumented immigrants to become citizens, even though some may feel discouraged by the process. Commentators in the article suggest that "it would be unprecedented for Congress to create a status that doesn't allow citizenship" and it would be "demeaning to American history." The article also says: "A nationwide Pew survey of legal Hispanic immigrants released Feb. 4  found that 93% of those who hadn't yet been naturalized said they would do so if they could." Other commentators suggested that not providing citizenship "would slow assimilation and reduce the formation of businesses", and their was an anecdote from an immigrant who said that after gaining citizenship he ". . . felt like a first-class citizen and truly a part of this country". He went on to open his own business. I think this indicates why citizenship is important, and why there needs to be a balance between preventing a path to citizenship becoming a shortcut, and making it so onerous that nobody wants to register for it.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014241 … 2056322192
The bottom line is, people agree something needs to be done. The only way to get something done is to pass a Bill. The only way to pass a Bill is to get enough agreement in the House of Representatives (the Bill already passed in the Senate, 68 to 32).
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/r … vote=00168
So putting yourself in the shoes of lawmakers, do you think it is reasonable to ask Representatives who support the Bill, to change it because of voter fraud, without being able to offer any reliable evidence that voter fraud is a significant issue? If you look at it from the perspective of how likely that is to be agreed (extremely unlikely), then the question becomes how willing are you to compromise?
It comes down to this: as a lawmaker, would you continue to request an amendment (even though you don't have the evidence to convince others to agree), vote yea (to progress the parts of the Bill you agree with, but at the cost of, as you see it, "ignoring one law in favor of another") or vote nay (blocking the opportunity to reform and modernize the immigration system indefinitely, despite most people agreeing that such reform and modernization is needed)? I think this type of choice is representative of the reality of political decision making.
As I have unwaveringly said throughout our conversation I would change the law as it was taken out of context when applied to those who broke the law to have children here. It was intended to address the slaves who were brought here against their will and applied to their children. The Illegal immigrants were not brought here against their will and have taken advantage by short changing the bill and have us forget that they indeed circumvented the law for their own convenience and now want us to feel sorry for their plight.
Deporting this many illegal immigrants would be a massive undertaking and that is why many American people in many ways are too lazy and therefore unwilling to right the wrong. I know this is an unfavorable position to take and I fear a doomed result will be the result. I do not accept any of your arguments for the path to citizenship nor the efforts of congress to fix this in this acceptable manor. The lack of action by them speaks volumes to where the whole thing is headed. They only reflect the laziness this whole country suffers from with our freedoms. This is why lady justice is holding the scales wearing a blindfold.
Ok, but members of Congress have to translate your views into real-world actions. So would you advise your Representative to: 1) request amendments (and convince others to agree by providing evidence of their benefit); 2) vote yay on the Bill (despite having objections, so that the changes you agree with can be implemented); 3) vote nay on the Bill (and block the reform and modernization of the immigration system indefinitely, even though everyone agrees there is a need for reform and modernization); or 4) some other political action that Representatives can take that I have not thought of, or am not aware of.
1, 2, 3 or 4?
I would choose one and make the legal aspect the reasoning behind it. It benefits the country by following the laws we have and the interpretation of them to be decided by the Supreme Court. What you suggest is deciding for others because it changes the law aggressively and in my opinion not for the better. If we loose the illegal competition we now have in the workplace our wages will eventually rise to an acceptable level. It is funny how as the illegal immigrant worker population has risen the wages have stagnated in the same timeframe. I also recognize the loss of jobs to overseas labor markets but those are mostly in the manufacturing sector. The illegal worker has made our earning power suffer because of them being here.
Then all that would remain is for you to persuade other Representatives of your view. I think that would be unlikely, and the situation would reach an impasse (as things so often do in Congress nowadays). On the bright side, at least option 1 does not close the door completely on negotiation.
What's interesting about this is that I think you have a sincerely held belief you are right. I have a sincerely held belief that I am right. Luckily, within the context of an online discussion, this is of no consequence. We can just disagree. But I think our views are (generally) representative of the two main parties' on this issue. If they just disagree, nothing gets done. So I wonder, should people encourage Representatives not to move an inch on the issue, or should people encourage mutually beneficial compromises? Which begs the, when is it right to stick to a principle, and when is it okay to compromise for the sake of moving things forward? I'm not convinced people in Congress know the answer to that question. To be fair, I'm not convinced people in general society fully know the answer to that question either.
What is at stake is the principle as you say. It is not a matter of compromise because principles are what define us as people and us as a nation. If we compromise this (breaking the law for expediency) then all bets are off. What else is up for compromise? Our thoughts, our feelings or our freedom? Giving away what makes us who we are will only make us weaker for it. Yes I can see where you may think I want to be right as we all do. But as I have said before we are a nation of laws and what are we if we are so willing to compromise them to make it easier for those who won't respect them?
As I said, I think you are sincere in your belief that these proposals undermine the rule of law. I am equally sincere in my belief that they strengthen the law by making it more effective in addressing existing social conditions.
What concerns me, is the disconnect between public opinion, and what Congress does. I know you have an aversion to surveys but, like it or not, they are considered a valid way to gauge public opinion, so they cannot reasonably be ignored. In a comprehensive list of surveys related to immigration that goes back over a decade, the majority of surveys indicate that most people want immigration reform. And in most surveys where a path to citizenship is an option, most surveys indicate that people favor that option. Yet to this date, the number of actions relating to immigration reform that have resulted directly from agreement in Congress is: zero. Congress has made no reform of the immigration system whatsoever (as far as I am aware). Instead, it has taken an Executive Order from the President for any action to be taken at all.
Although you are entitled to disagree with the majority view, and try to persuade the majority they are wrong, I do not believe that you (and the politicians who share your view) should be able to block action on the issue just because you don't like it. That defeats the object of having a democracy.
Unfortunately this situation is repeated with many different issues. The majority of the public agree that something needs to happen. Congress does nothing, or does the opposite. A study into this issue (I know you don't like studies also, but reliable studies are a valid method of sharing knowledge) indicated: ". . . economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence". In other words lobbyists and special interest groups have more influence over government policy than average citizens. That cannot be a good thing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tu32CCA_Ig (video summary of study)
http://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/defa … cs.doc.pdf
You may not mind this situation in this instance, because it works in your favor on this particular issue, but that doesn't mean it's good governance, and if it does not impact you on this issue, then it will on another.
So I am grateful for you taking the time to explain your view in a reasonable way, and I welcome the opportunity to explain my own. But in a functioning democracy, public opinion (particularly the majority view) should have a strong likelihood of influencing lawmakers (with very few exceptions). In a broken democracy, public opinion has little influence on the decisions of lawmakers, as is the case here.
"In a broken democracy, public opinion has little influence on the decisions of lawmakers, as is the case here."
And well it shouldn't be. Public opinion is not necessarily according to the law neither should it be as opinion and law are two different expressions. While you believe and wish to prove through surveys and studies what the general public wish it never the less does not relate to fair and just nor ethically legal. Your studies ignore the plight of legal immigration of those who wait and earn a way into the US. What does a path to citizenship hold for them? No retroactive accommodation or recompense can or should be employed to relieve their hard work and patience. Expedience and reward should not be an answer for those who break the law to scam another law.
Statutory law should be determined by the people, through the mechanism of government. It should not be determined by government, through the mechanism of the highest bidder. The law is what society collectively agrees it should be, it's not something that exists independently of people.
And I remind you that the core principle at the heart of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, is the notion that the people are not ruled by government, but instead government is a servant of the people, who are at liberty to "alter or to abolish it", or change the principles on which it is based "as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness". If the government is an instrument of the people, then it follows that laws created by government should be an instrument of the people too.
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charte … ation.html
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charte … cript.html
I also remind you that the the Constitution specifically establishes a representative democracy for the purpose of ensuring that the people's views are reflected in government. John Adams stated of such an assembly that: "It should be in miniature, an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason, and act like them." (John Adams - "Thoughts on Government", 1776)
http://www.masshist.org/publications/ap … d=PJA04dg2
So if the majority of people believe immigration law should be reformed in a certain way, then Congress not only needs to take that into account, but it has an absolute duty, to take that into account. The government exists only by the consent of the governed. So statutory law, like the government that creates it, should be ". . . of the people, by the people, for the people". Anything else is contrary to the principles and values the country was founded upon.
I think it is right that all views, including the minority held view, are carefully considered. And the Constitution establishes rights and protections, and a system of government that ensures that happens. But if Congress fails to act on immigration reform when the majority of people agree that is necessary, then Congress is failing in its duty to represent the people.
It is the American people who tell members of Congress what to do, through expressions of their interests and values. That is the basis of lawmaking in the United States. Instead Congress is telling American people what to do, based on the expressions and interests of wealthy donors. That is the symptom of corruption and a broken democracy.
So I categorically and fundamentally disagree with your view on how laws should be formed. I understand that you disagree with the majority view, and I absolutely respect your right to do so, but I cannot accept that it's right for Congress to flout its Constitutional duty to reflect the interests and values of the people it is supposed to represent. That is currently what it is happening with this issue, and many others.
"I cannot accept that it's right for Congress to flout its Constitutional duty to reflect the interests and values of the people it is supposed to represent. That is currently what it is happening with this issue, and many others."
That is what is happening. How do you propose we change it?
Term limits for members of Congress.
Support the Constitutional amendment (HJR48) introduced by Rep. Richard Nolan, declaring that: "the rights protected by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only".
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-con … olution/48
Or the Constitutional amendment suggested by Justice John Paul Stevens: "Neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns." (Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, 2014)
The latter of these suggested amendments would more effectively address campaign finance reform, because it speaks directly to the issues raised by Citizens United v. FEC. The former suggestion, while also useful, does not directly address the issue, because corporate personhood was not the overriding factor in the majority opinion.
These would be good places to start. Any other suggestions?
Like Kathryn's "logically," our "Seems clearly," are obviously different perspectives.
Your clear explanation of the children is only clear if you interpret jurisdiction in an `authority' reference only, and if you do grammar charades with the sentence structure.
I don't think it is clear at all. I lean towards the `allegiance' framework interpretation.
We could throw authoritative links at each other all day, but it would be a sandlot effort compared to the pro-ball talents that have been debating this issue from its inception.
I was surprised at your use of the Elk v. Wilkins case as support for your perspective. So much so that I was driven to check other sources offering explanations, critiques, and documentation.
I came away agreeing with the linked Backgrounder and puzzled that you read the decision, and the court's statements as you did.
Here is a snippet from that court's definition;
The Court defined the jurisdictional requirement of the Citizenship Clause as requiring a person to be:
“…not merely subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their political jurisdiction, and owing them direct and immediate allegiance.”
Seems clear to me that isn't a court endorsement of the `authority' definition of jurisdiction.
The other aspects of the case; tribal nations as foreign nations, nation within a nation, etc. also appear to me to bolster the logic of the `allegiance' side of the debate.
In searching for a source of the inclusion of the word domain, relative to your use of it; "... born within the domain of that government..." I discovered there is more in the Elk v. Wilson case that is directly related to the correct interpretation of the "jurisdiction" debate.
In Chief Justice Taney's statement to the plaintiff the following snippet made clear his perception of "jurisdiction;"
"... The evident meaning of these last words is not merely subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their political jurisdiction and owing them direct and immediate allegiance..."
(for context: skip down to page 112 U.S. 102)
But this find did not help me understand the background support you attach to your use of "... born within the domain of that government..." Care to expand on the source for the domain qualifier?
Pulling another one from the Backgrounder, an earlier court wrote this about jurisdiction;
"...“The phrase, ‘subject to its jurisdiction’ was intended to exclude from its operation children of ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign States born within the United States.”:
This court offering also seems to contradict your interpretation.
I can see why there is debate on this unsettled issue, but my brief excursion into birthright citizenship leaves me the impression that this question has an obvious interpretation that includes the `allegiance' qualifier, (not the `domain` one), and could have been easily answered with statutory legislation - not needing a Constitutional amendment.
Logically it seems clear to me that I am right and you are wrong. Na nanah nahnah!
If we wish to make it abundantly clear and by following the letter of the law we should seize the child at birth or discovery and deport the parents. Instead of adjusting the law in a humane manor to consider the rights and feelings of the offending parent, we should give them a choice of leaving the child here and going back to their country or taking the child with them. Both staying as a result due to consideration should not be incumbent on the US but a decision based on what is legal while holding onto their parental rights. If we wish to leave it up to interpretation we have the current mess as it is. If we follow the letter of the law then we will need to raise a whole lot of orphans.
… naturally, they should go home with their parents.
Its just like the insurance issue: No insurance? Well we here in the ER will treat you anyway.
We are just too nice.
Unfortunately, niceness sets precedence and is used against us.
Road to hell is paved with good intentions ...
There seems to be some argument that we don't really have a "letter of the law" to follow.
We have the 14th Amendment and its attached controversy and debate, and then we have a government policy that just seemed to evolve into birthright citizenship. No laws codifying the amendment's intent, and no statutes clarifying the framework of our policy.
Even though I believe the 2nd requirement for citizenship involving jurisdiction that implies the requirement of allegiance to our nation is the correct interpretation, I can see the validity of the birthright by soil challenge. I just disagree with it.
"we have a government policy that just seemed to evolve into birthright citizenship"
Therein lies the problem. The political solution is to claim a legal stance and then apply a moral solution while pandering to a crowd for support. Is it important to have clarity at that point in lieu of the chaos that surrounds it? Not if you are looking for votes. You have sanctuary cities that harbor the illegal immigrants in spite of the laws to deport them. Is it such an altruistic act in which these cities are participating? According to varied sources there is a mixture of reasoning's that stretch from lack of funding to hold prisoners that are illegal immigrants until ICE can pick them up to not offending the illegal immigrants and their relatives to stack support in elections.
The bottom line is that the law was enacted to serve as a platform for the freed slaves after the Civil War to have a definition of their citizenship and rights by it. None of them came here to have a baby to become a US citizen. The law as it is currently being interpreted and abused in essence breaks another law to enforce it and no one wants to change or clarify it because of their own prejudices. Even with a determination or clarification I fear the 11 million already here illegally will be retroactively granted legal status. At that time what other laws can we subvert and make legal just by ignoring them?
Just to clarify, it's not my interpretation of "jurisdiction", it's what I believe is the the Supreme Court's interpretation. I am trying to outline the Court's reasoning for that interpretation as I see it. But I wasn't really referencing the "jurisdiction" debate in my first comment to be honest. I was using Court opinions like Elk Vs. Wilkins to outline the two different categories of children born in the United States who are not subject to US jurisdiction: 1) children whose parents are subjects of a foreign government and who are born within the domain of that government and 2) children whose parents are ambassadors, diplomats etc for a foreign nation. The use of "domain" comes straight from Elk Vs. Wilkins, as I previously quoted:
'[Native Americans] are no more "born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" than the children of subjects of any foreign government born within the domain of that government, or the children born within the United States of ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign nations' [my emphasis] (Elk v. Wilkins, 1884)
From this comment we can derive the two categories above, which seem to have been applied by the Court. In the case of Elk v. Wilkins, citizenship was not conferred because the person in question fell into the first category as his parents were deemed to be subjects of an "alien nation" (Elk v. Wilkins, 1884) and, although he was born within the territory of the United States, he was also born within the the domain of the Winnebago Tribe. But we know the case of native Americans was considered a unique situation, because the Court later said so in States v. Wong Kim Ark. And we know the Court's understanding of Elk Vs. Wilkins was accurate because the same person, Justice Gray, wrote the opinions for both cases:
"The decision in Elk v. Wilkins concerned only members of the Indian tribes within the United States, and had no tendency to deny citizenship to children born in the United States of foreign parents of Caucasian, African or Mongolian [Asian] descent not in the diplomatic service of a foreign country[my emphasis]. (United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898)
In other words, just because the unique situation with native Americans means they are not subject to US jurisdiction, that does not mean children born in the US of foreign parents are not subject to US jurisdiction. The only time that is the case is if they are children of foreign diplomats.
And this is where the importance of the "domain" qualifier comes in. It is what differentiates John Elk from other children of foreign parents born within the United States. We see that even clearer if we compare the cases of Wong Kim Ark (who was conferred citizenship) and John Elk (who was not). Both were born in the United States, neither had parents who were diplomats, both had parents who were subjects of a "foreign" government. The one main difference in their circumstances is that John Elk was deemed to have been born within the domain of that government (the Winnebago Tribe) and Wong Kim Ark was not.
So the main point I was making is that, like Wong Kim Ark, the children of immigrants (illegal or otherwise) do not fall into either of the above categories of people not subject to US jurisdiction, so based on the constitution as it is, must be conferred citizenship. This aligns with the reasoning the Court used in US vs Wong Kim Ark and has used since (most recently in 1982).
Ultimately I think the issue can only be resolved in one of two different ways. Either Congress enact legislation that addresses the issue. I think it's be very likely that would be challenged in court and, depending on the exact nature of it, might be struck down by the Court. The other way is for Congress to introduce an amendment to the constitution that addresses the issue. Either way the onus is on Congress to act, not the Supreme Court. This is an issue for the legislative branch, not the judicial branch.
As with many other examples of life, this discussion illustrates why Baskin-Robbins has been around so long.
Greater and more knowledgeable minds than mine have weighed in on this question... and the debate continues. So I don't feel too out of place disagreeing with your interpretation.
I spotted the use of domain in the Elk case, but have not come across it as a qualifier in any other statements... yet. My interpretation of its importance gives it much less weight as a deciding factor than you obviously do.
Considering various political and constitutional arguments, and the various court decisions, (which it has been shown can be cherry-picked for supporting statements for either side), my impression is that it is the phrase about jurisdiction that is the character of the amendment.
Although the Wong Kim Ark case is more supportive of your position in the majority, (the minority dissent saw things differently), I think it was too specific to a particular set of circumstances to be viewed as a court determination of the correct interpretation for the majority of cases, especially when considered with other cases and court statements that I think support the opposite interpretation.
I would bet that some researcher somewhere has tallied the various court standings. It would be interesting to see that scorecard. But from my perspective, the cases and supporting presentation in the originally linked Backgrounder show that `Birthright Citizenship by soil' is an incorrect application of the amendment.
So far, following the Backrounder's presented cases, and others found through their references, the Wong case is the least supportive of my position, but is also the least applicable to the general question.
And referencing your contention that domain makes a deciding difference. I don't attach as much importance to the distinction. I found several instances where court statements supportive of my contention spoke of dominion in the light that being out of a foreign nation's dominion did not reduce that nation's claim to the allegiance, and rights of citizenship from their citizens.
I am certain to be doing further reading on this, but for now I think both sides have a legitimate base for their positions, but am strongly inclined to believe that birthright by soil, (yeah, I know the correct term is jus soli), is an incorrect determination that first came into being because the issue of "Anchor Babies" was not one of major magnitude, (nor even political consideration), in our early history, and was thus formulated by the surface interpretation of the "jurisdiction" phrase.
I also think the interpretation debate will have to be directly addressed either by legislation or the courts to put this matter to bed.
ps. I still think I am more right than you are, but am no longer confident enough to call you wrong. So no "Na nanah nahnah!" this time.
"Benefits. Most benefits Americans would regard as “welfare” are not accessible to illegal immigrants. However, illegal immigrants can obtain welfare benefits such as Medicaid and food stamps on behalf of their U.S.-born children. Many of the welfare costs associated with illegal immigration, therefore, are due to the current birthright citizenship policy. Put another way, greater efforts at barring illegal aliens from federal welfare programs will not significantly reduce costs because their citizen children can continue to access the benefits. Nationwide, 40 percent of illegal alien-headed households receive some type of welfare. In some states, the rate is higher: in New York, 49 percent receive welfare; in California, the rate is 48 percent; in Texas, it is 44 percent; and in Georgia, 42 percent of illegal alien-headed households receive welfare.5 Only 19 percent of households headed by native-born citizens make use of a major welfare program."
"The overwhelming majority of the world’s countries do not offer automatic citizenship to everyone born within their borders. Over the past few decades, many countries that once did so — including Australia, Ireland, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malta, and the Dominican Republic — have repealed those policies. Other countries are considering changes."
"No European country grants automatic citizenship to children of illegal aliens."
"The global trend is moving away from automatic birthright citizenship as many countries that once had such policies have ended them in recent decades."
"14th Amendment history seems to indicate that the Citizenship Clause was never intended to benefit illegal aliens nor legal foreign visitors temporarily present in the United States."
(perfectly fine backgrounder, if you ask me.)
"14th Amendment history SEEMS TO? indicate that the Citizenship Clause was never intended to benefit illegal aliens nor legal foreign visitors temporarily present in the United States."
14th Amendment history (edit) INDICATES that the Citizenship Clause was never intended to benefit illegal aliens nor legal foreign visitors temporarily present in the United States OR THEIR BABIES.
Q. At what point do babies get to be citizens?
A. Their parents must be citizens FIRST.
Is it so hard for the left and the corrupt right to follow the established precepts of the Constitution?
No Kathryn, you are wrong. At this point, the question of interpretation still remains unsettled, so the precepts you refer to are yet to be determined. Our Congress has the power, (I believe), to establish an interpretation. Even the court's have indicated such, and also stated jurists see this as an issue that should be decided by the people's legislation instead of the courts.
But, politicians being what they are have chosen to let our government quietly slide into an adopted policy of `soil` birthright. So no, a baby's parents don't have to be citizens. And it is not the Constitution's, or the Court's fault.
I am not wrong.
Logically, jurisdiction only applies to citizens. The baby of an illegal alien is not automatically a citizen. Where is this stipulated? exactly? It doesn't even make sense. A "natural born citizen" is born to CITIZENS only. The child and his parents would have to apply and go through the steps to become citizens at some point. What prevents them from doing so?
The threat of deportation?
I don't know the laws.
As shown by this thread, Your "logically" and the "logically" of others, and the Court's "logically" are more likely to be at odds than agreement.
If the interpretation that "jurisdiction" was defined to be subject to our laws and arrest for breaking them, then the current standing for Anchor Babies is legal and legit.
My impression is that the conservative interpretation of "...jurisdiction of the United States...", as applied to the "owes allegiance" criteria will be the one the Court ends up deciding if our Congress does not address it.
… to comply with the law?
only CITIZENS are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
Could always finish building the wall and have the illegal babies born here pay for it , of course they would have to borrow the money from their parents ! ..........................come on people , that's funny!
Just heard on John and Ken talk radio: The fourteenth amendment was made for the babies of slaves! John said we need another amendment to prevent what is happening, (welfare benefits granted to illegal alien babies,) (usually Mexican and Chinese) but he said, nowadays it is impossible to make new amendments.
"The businesses, known as “maternity hotels” or “birthing centers,” present a headache for local government and law enforcement because it is not necessarily illegal for foreign nationals to give birth in the U.S. Many agencies openly advertise services offering assistance in getting newborns a U.S. passport and extolling the benefits that come with American citizenship, including public education and immigration benefits for parents."
"Taiwanese, Korean and Turkish mothers are also known to engage in birth tourism, but the practice has become particularly popular in recent years with the newly wealthy Chinese middle class."
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-m … story.html
Section 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."
1 grant citizenship to, make a citizen, enfranchise, give a passport to.
The baby of an illegal alien is not automatically under the jurisdiction of the US government.
A slave was not an illegal alien.
The letter of the law should not be mangled to suit whatever agenda some government official deems
currently appropriate for his own self-chosen cause.
… argue away
til' a better day.
Thats the way
The palm trees sway.
Thoughts of gold,
Words of mold.
Til better shown,
Gold thoughts I own.
I suggest anyone who is for allowing the "anchor babies "issue to remain and flourish take a look at reproductive rates for Hispanics as compared to other minorities , already in America . Take a look at several stats ! Kind of a wake up call .
<"If our privacy is the reason for our dilemma then I believe we are doomed to just accept the consequences as it erodes our way of life.">
Why should we now enforce and create new laws?
To preserve the country.
Why should people comply with the new laws ?
To preserve the country.
It would be a win win, if they could just see it that way.
But, will they????????
We used to be a nation united in our principles and needs for all. The years have eroded that ethic to the rights of the individual over the good of the whole. We now are told to celebrate our differences as opposed to our similarities. It is now the needs of the individual over the needs of the many. How does that compare to our little insurrection with England. Could we have won our independence as a scattered bunch of individuals looking out for our own interests?
we have become way too lax, nonchalant and easy going.
Calm, composed, unconcerned, cool, [calm, cool, and collected], cool as a cucumber; indifferent, blasé, dispassionate, apathetic, casual, insouciant; laid-back.
To clean a very dirty room you have to start somewhere.
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