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No Citizenship for You, Anchor Baby.
August 3, 2010 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined several other key Republican leaders and conservative commentators who are calling for Congress to review the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Consitution. The Citizenship Clause has been interpreted, since the Supreme Court decision United States v. Wong Kim Ark in 1898, to give "birthright citizenship" to children born on U.S. soil to non-citizens (whom some GOP politicans call "anchor babies"). McConnell's comments are not the first time (see section "A Sensible Immigration Policy") the GOP has tried to question the clause. Some see the move as another attempt to capitalize on anti-immigration sentiment in the build-up to the mid-term elections.
posted by aught (215 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm wondering how this dovetails with the call to change the requirements for the President to be born here so the Governator can run for the White House.
posted by MikeMc at 6:33 AM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Why do they hate America?
posted by scrowdid at 6:36 AM on August 3, 2010 [22 favorites]


Its like they forgot what made the USA, the USA. Fuck these people. If we had these rules in 1810 none of these assholes would be here. Right Mitch-y you scots-irish appalachian red-neck.
posted by JPD at 6:37 AM on August 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


I don't even know what to say about these people anymore. How long before they write a no beaners amendment?
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:37 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


(no offense meant to our moonshine loving bluegrass playing friends)
posted by JPD at 6:38 AM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Or maybe they'd prefer another racial slur. I don't know...
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:38 AM on August 3, 2010


a) What. The Fuck.
b) Do these people not understand our system of government? They want Congress to review the 14th amendment?
c) If it was really about changing the Constitution, they would do it through the convention process, where they would be more likely to succeed.
posted by wierdo at 6:39 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


no no they like beaners. I mean they fantasize about the 1950's why shouldn't they use an authentic slur from that time.
posted by JPD at 6:40 AM on August 3, 2010


by "Like beaners" obviously I mean "like using the slur" obviously they've got no use for Latin immigrants except for when Tyson or IBP writes them a check to keep the INS out of the meatpacking plants.
posted by JPD at 6:41 AM on August 3, 2010


At this rate, the 2012 GOP convention's going to feature white hoods and a burning cross on the stage.
posted by EarBucket at 6:41 AM on August 3, 2010 [26 favorites]


Thank God we've got these "conservatives" to protect the constitution and defend the established order. With their help, and the help of much of the media, American politics has finally completed its gradual transformation into Swiftian satire.

If not birthright, then what do they propose serve as the basis of anyone's citizenship? Being a Republican? Go back far enough and almost no one would qualify for citizenship. We're a nation of immigrants, for fuck's sake! Disgusting.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:41 AM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


At this rate, the 2012 GOP convention's going to feature white hoods and a burning cross on the stage.


With Michael Steele as Clayton Bigsby.
posted by JPD at 6:43 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


saulgoodman, either they don't see a problem with stateless people, don't know about the problem, or don't care.
posted by wierdo at 6:44 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


My grandfather fought a war against the same type of fascist bullshit the GOP is spewing.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 6:45 AM on August 3, 2010 [51 favorites]


Luckily, it's not Congress's prerogative to simply repeal amendments. They have to pass a new amendment to repeal the old one, and to pass a new amendment takes a 2/3 majority vote in BOTH houses AND ratification by 38 states. Let 'em hold all the frickin' hearings they want, it's strictly a stunt.
posted by briank at 6:47 AM on August 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


3. Louie Gohmert
A month ago, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) warned that birthright citizenship was a national security issue -- involving a diabolical 30-year plot by some very patient terrorists: "I talked to a retired FBI agent who said that one of the things they were looking at were terrorist cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system. And it appeared they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby. They wouldn't even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life."


Gohmert hey? That sounds German to me. Are you sure you aren't from a Nazi sleeper cell? Or maybe a Bismarckian terror squad that's been in deep cover for the last 95 years? We don't know you can't be trusted.
posted by JPD at 6:49 AM on August 3, 2010 [19 favorites]


Does this mean I have to go back to Ireland and/or Germany?
posted by swift at 6:50 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are there any Presidents who were children of immigrants? That'd be cool.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:50 AM on August 3, 2010


"Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..."

Oh wait, on second thought, fuck you, poor, tired and huddled.

Removing birthright citizenship will fundamentally change the the vision of what America represents. Whatever happened to the melting pot? Oh, right, fondue is best served white.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:52 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do these people not understand our system of government? They want Congress to review the 14th amendment?

That's how all the previous constitutional amendments have begun.
posted by Jahaza at 6:53 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Vile. Simply vile
posted by slapshot57 at 6:55 AM on August 3, 2010


Wait, so they're saying the Constitution isn't perfect?
posted by albrecht at 6:55 AM on August 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


So basically this upcoming election is going to be all about froth mouthed racism. Lovely. They're going to win big, aren't they?
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Andew Jackson's parents were both Irish immigrants. Thomas Jefferson's mom was British, and most recently Herbert Hoover's mother was Canadian.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:56 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Given the way the demographics are going, I figure that over any long run there could be no better way for a U.S. organization to become wholly irrelevant than to alienate Latinos.

Stay the course, GOP. If you need any more rope to hang yourselves, let me know.

(Not to suggest that turning into a your-papers-please society for Latinos or any other outrage these idiots fantasize about is in any way acceptable collateral damage, or that we shouldn't be fighting it every step of the way.)
posted by Zed at 6:58 AM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Vote. Make sure your friends vote. Use Facebook in November to get out the vote, close districts can be made closer or won. Never give the ruling class another vote. Ever. They want everything.

George Carlin was right, It's their club and YOU are not invited, they hate you.

Fear goes away with facts.
posted by Freedomboy at 6:59 AM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


We know (because they are crazy bigots not bigoted crazies) that when they say they want to repeal the 14th Amendment they mean the citizenship clause, but if they insist on just saying "We should review/repeal the 14th Amendment" it sounds to people with even a scant knowledge of the Bill of Rights like they're also calling for getting rid of little things like Due Process and/or Equality.

I mean, I knew they hated latinas, blacks and women AND that equality became icky to them when the gays wanted it AND when the courts aren't a backdoor for saving oil companies they're against those judicial mofos too...but I had no idea that they would carry a grudge about that whole Williamson v. Lee Optical Co thing for 60 years. But I guess if corporations can't have rights, no one can.
posted by Chipmazing at 6:59 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


And I say that as someone who can trace my ancestors back to the early 1700s (mom's into geneology). These people have twisted what it means to be an american
posted by slapshot57 at 6:59 AM on August 3, 2010


Can't they just secede already?
posted by oddman at 7:00 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy fucking shit. I mean, well...

I've been saying for the last few years that there's a really big difference between the relationship of the radical right to the mainstream right and the relationship of the radical left to the mainstream left; specifically, that while the radical left and mainstream left really, really don't like each other, the mainstream right and radical right mingle freely.

Now, for awhile, suggesting that the GOP and the racist fringe right were heavily saturated with fellow travelers was called slander or paranoia or conspiracy theories. The rise of Ron Paul in 2007, followed by his crushing primary defeats in early 2008, pushed the radical right into the sun and gave people a good look at how a man could be both part of the radical survivalist right and a respected Republican Congressman.

And then there was Obama. Obama drives the right absolutely, shriekingly, out of their minds. They could keep their cool while the man in the White House was George Bush, but the moment it became clear that Barack Obama was to be president, a large number of otherwise mainstream Republicans lost their fucking minds and started spewing all manner of radical fringe-right rhetoric and associating with the fringes. Still, if you suggested that there was no difference between the racist psycho fringe and the mainstream of the GOP, you were considered unserious or histrionic.

And now this happens.

We cannot any longer deny the plain reality of what is in front of us: the Republican Party is in the hands of the extremist, racist right. The positions of the sorts of organizations which are tracked by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center are becoming, and in some cases have become, the positions of the GOP. In the 90's, the Gingrich-led Republicans used bomb-throwing rhetoric to describe their positions. In the 2010's, the GOP is using bomb-throwing rhetoric because their compatriots and allies are quite literally bomb throwers. Timothy McVeigh is now only slightly to the right of the Overton Window.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:00 AM on August 3, 2010 [46 favorites]


Jahaza wrote: "That's how all the previous constitutional amendments have begun."

I don't think attempts at previous amendments have begun with attempts to legislate away another amendment. I could be wrong, though, as I haven't extensively studied the circumstances surrounding most of the amendments to our constitution.
posted by wierdo at 7:00 AM on August 3, 2010


I would like Congress to begin reviewing the citizenship of GOP senators and representatives. I haven’t made a final decision about it, but that’s something that we clearly need to look at. Regardless of how you feel about the various aspects of immigration reform, I don’t think anybody thinks that’s something they’re comfortable with. See how easy that works?
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:01 AM on August 3, 2010


Revoking a 142-year-old plank of the constitution to create a generation of stateless people is not conservative, it is radical. Requiring hispanic citizens to provide their papers on demand or face jail is not conservative, it is radical. Withdrawal from the UN, abolition of the Department of Education, and privatization of Social Security and Medicaid are not conservative policies, they are radical policies. Amending the constitution to revoke the citizenship of the current President because he won the Nobel Prize is not conservative, it is radical.

The Republican Party is not a conservative party, it is a radical party.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:02 AM on August 3, 2010 [91 favorites]


I don't think attempts at previous amendments have begun with attempts to legislate away another amendment.

Well, I can think of one.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:03 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, will their rallying cry be "Anchors, away!"?

Xenophobia and paranoia are such a heady mix. Throw in power and senility and this is who we have leading the country.

I can't believe anyone takes these "conservatives" seriously; they are all over the board philosophically. Protect the unborn, but fuck the born. Uphold the Constitution, until the parts we disagree with. Stop the immigrants at all costs, but don't hassle the corporations hiring them (and keep your mitts off my nanny, too.) Liberals are dangerous commies, but conservatives are principled Americans. We can't afford to extend unemployment benefits for 10% of the country (we're broke, don'tya know), but spending 300 times that amount on tax breaks for 2% of the population is okey-dokey.

The only solace I can take these days is that most of these guys are old and white, and this country is, quite literally, outgrowing them. Patience. Patience. Patience.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:03 AM on August 3, 2010 [15 favorites]


Are there any Presidents who were children of immigrants? That'd be cool.

There was one whose father came from Kenya. That probably doesn't have anything to do with this becoming an issue now, though.
posted by EarBucket at 7:03 AM on August 3, 2010 [30 favorites]


So in the US when a migrant has a baby on US soil, what legally happens to the status of the parents? what exactly are they worried about aside from brown people?
posted by shinybaum at 7:04 AM on August 3, 2010


MrMoonPie: Are there any Presidents who were children of immigrants? That'd be cool.

Only good ol' Andrew "Rough 'Em Up, Fuck 'Em Up" Jackson was the son of two immigrant parents, but Thomas "I Water My Trees With Blood" Jefferson, James "Doughface, And NOT 'Cause I'm Fat" Buchanan, Chester "Even Mark Twain Liked Me" Arthur, Woodrow "Making The World Safe For Democracies That Eventually Elect Hitler" Wilson, Herbert "Damn I'm Depressed" Hoover and that guy with the funny ears in the White House all had 1 immigrant parent.

Source!
posted by Chipmazing at 7:06 AM on August 3, 2010 [16 favorites]


Amending the constitution to revoke the citizenship of the current President because he won the Nobel Prize is not conservative, it is radical.

Fascinating. Have we already forgotten that Obama wasn't the first president to win a Nobel?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:07 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty wrote: "Well, I can think of one."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they accomplish that by passing another amendment repealing the first, not a law changing the definition of "intoxicating liquor"?
posted by wierdo at 7:09 AM on August 3, 2010


I don't think attempts at previous amendments have begun with attempts to legislate away another amendment. I could be wrong, though, as I haven't extensively studied the circumstances surrounding most of the amendments to our constitution.

The 21st amendment is an exception.
posted by explosion at 7:10 AM on August 3, 2010


My grandfather fought a war against the same type of fascist bullshit the GOP is spewing.

I was flipping through channels last night and I stopped on fox news for a few minutes. They had some douche bag with what I suppose was supposed to be some kind of town hall meeting style conversation about the Arizona bill. These fucking idiots were basically saying that police should have the right to stop anyone black, white, latino, asian and ask them for some kind of papers proving citizenship. The scary thing is that this type of shit is already happening.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:10 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Granted, the Nazis would not have exercised as much restraint as the officer in this particular video did.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:11 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Never give the ruling class another vote. Ever. They want everything.

Then who, exactly, am I supposed to vote for?
posted by ryanshepard at 7:12 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


A change to the Constitution is an amendment. If you want to amend an amendment, then you pass another amendment. Like the 19th established Prohibition and the 21st repealed it. So the 21st isn't an exception, it's the norm.

The Republicans are just playing to the peanut gallery. Start talking about amendments and citizenship and the extreme right will go completely nuts. The Tea Parties are relatively sane compared to some of the constitutionalist fruitcakes.

But why don't they just come out and say that they really want to repeal the 13th?

This will go nowhere, but it might contribute to atmosphere of political violence that the looney right is indulging in.
posted by warbaby at 7:12 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm glad that Congress wants to review the whole "natural-born citizen" garbage. The 14th amendment should have covered that more clearly, but instead they used a different term than the original Constitution. Obviously Congress just intends to clarify that there is no difference between a natural-born citizen and a citizen.

That is what they're doing, right? No?

Oh.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:13 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Being born in America-- that's how I would define being American, what other definition could there possibly be (aside from all the hoops you have to jump through in order to become a naturalized citizen)? How could they possibly word the amendment? Both parents have to be a citizen? One of your parents has to be a citizen?

My family was here before the constitution was ever dreamt of but my daughter's father was an illegal immigrant before I married him. She is 100% American.

Yeah, this is crazy ass shit that isn't going to fly.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:13 AM on August 3, 2010


So in the US when a migrant has a baby on US soil, what legally happens to the status of the parents? what exactly are they worried about aside from brown people?

Nothing specifically, except for the possible long-term prospect of family-reunification based immigration for parents and other relatives someday. It's also been in the news that many anti-immigration agitators think education and health care costs are rising because of the burden of children of undocumented workers, and that cutting government costs includes excluding health care and education coverage for (currently U.S. citizen) children of the undocumented -- so I imagine denying those children citizenship would be their first step toward banning them from schools and hospitals.
posted by aught at 7:14 AM on August 3, 2010


I'm wondering how this dovetails with the call to change the requirements for the President to be born here so the Governator can run for the White House.

Has any prominent pundit or elected official seriously brought that idea up at any time in the last three or so years? Or rather, at any point after Schwarzenegger's approval ratings dropped below 60% or so?

And doesn't that pretty much speak for itself?

Are there any Presidents who were children of immigrants?

Not presidents, but suggested GOP nominee Bobby Jindal is the son of Indian immigrants. Prominent racist Michelle Malkin was also born to non-citizen parents on a student visa in Philadelphia. By every interpretation of the GOP's talking points here they would both be considered "anchor babies."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:14 AM on August 3, 2010 [17 favorites]


So, am I reading this correctly that they're trying to alter the terms of an amendment through legislation, not through ratification of another amendment? They really do depend on the stupidity of their constituents, don't they?
posted by Mavri at 7:15 AM on August 3, 2010


So when are they going to rename themselves the BNP?
posted by zarq at 7:18 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'll admit that, being on the conservative end of the MeFi spectrum (a position that puts me, I think, still, far left of most of the US) it wouldn't especially break my heart to see the law changed so that children of people in the US illegally had no claim to US citizenship. Many of the people espousing this notion are racists, but that doesn't make the idea itself inherently racist.

I don't object to the principle, but I do object to the demagoguery. I think debating it falls into a trap. The point is to get the Tea Party angry at scapegoats, while getting the liberals to spend energy fighting on the enemy's ground. It perverts the national discussion so as to talk only about the right wing's issues, and it distracts us all from debating and working on real solutions to real problems. I'm pissed off that our "leaders" are spending their time whipping up anger against an utterly trivial percentage of new citizens and while our manufacturing base lies in ruins, and natural resource crunches loom ever closer, while our health care is a national disgrace, and half our schools are dysfunctional.

Don't worry about that boarded-up factory! Worry that these teeanage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs might be competing with you for that job stocking shelves at Walmart!
posted by tyllwin at 7:19 AM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


There are, it's worth noting, an awful lot of indigenous North Americans who take serious issue with the whole "nation of immigrants" cliché. Your heart's no doubt in the right place, but it's really a problematic way of characterizing things.
posted by wreckingball at 7:22 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


it wouldn't especially break my heart to see the law changed so that children of people in the US illegally had no claim to US citizenship.

Why?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:22 AM on August 3, 2010


Stop the immigrants at all costs, but don't hassle the corporations hiring them

Surely, this is the biggest thing. Is it even being talked about? Jeebus, what better place to police illegal immigration than at the workplace? Gotta produce a document to work (don't you?) Gotta have a record of your employees, dont' you? Some agency's gotta review those documents anyway, don't they?
posted by Trochanter at 7:22 AM on August 3, 2010


Xenophobia and paranoia are such a heady mix. Throw in power and senility and this is who we have leading the country.

It has always been this way. Paranoia and xenophobia aren't new. They pre-date the founding of this country. Isolationism has been a hallmark of American politics since Colonial days. Take any point in our history and there you'll find a political faction calling for us to separate ourselves from foreigners and their entanglements, as well as curtail immigration. "Fuck you, I've got mine" is practically an American motto.
posted by zarq at 7:23 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Two things:

1) Procedurally, this isn't a futile move. If Congress passes an amendment and three-fourths of state legislatures do too, it becomes the next amendment to the Constitution. That's just how Article V works. If you're going to call them stupid for proposing something like this, at least get your story straight. It's not going to happen because there's no way two-thirds of both houses of Congress are going to go for it, not because it's procedurally invalid.

2) The vast majority of countries in the world don't grant citizenship based on one's geography of birth. The US is a distinct minority there. Arguing some version of "this is what makes America great" is, in essence, an argument from American exceptionalism. It's pretty damn funny to see all the people who yell at the Right for believing that there's something special about America defending birthright citizenship on those grounds.
posted by valkyryn at 7:26 AM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


How could they possibly word the amendment? Both parents have to be a citizen? One of your parents has to be a citizen?

In the UK it was changed in 1983 from 'born in the UK' to 'born in the UK and lived here for ten years', at which point the status of the parents becomes irrelevant. There used to be a huge mess about fathers having to be married as well - that didn't change until the mid 90s. Very bad idea.
posted by shinybaum at 7:28 AM on August 3, 2010


Trochanter wrote: "Jeebus, what better place to police illegal immigration than at the workplace?"

The border, perhaps?
posted by wierdo at 7:30 AM on August 3, 2010


More re: batshit — http://bit.ly/dqgT64. Somone not on an iPhone can make it a link. It's about a GOP candidate's experience of drumming up TP support. Scary.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:30 AM on August 3, 2010


Fascinating. Have we already forgotten that Obama wasn't the first president to win a Nobel?
Nor the second.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:30 AM on August 3, 2010


My grandfather fought a war against the same type of fascist bullshit the GOP is spewing.

Well, don't let the fight stop there! Pick up your firearms and shoot to kill! METAPHORICALLY. You know, with your votes! Load your rifles with votes, break into the houses of leading Republicans (which I have conveniently marked on this map, using gunsight markers) and MURDER THEM in the elections it's a metaphor really
posted by FatherDagon at 7:31 AM on August 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


The Republican Party is not a conservative party, it is a radical party.

I've come to the same conclusion, only with the minor addition; it's a radical party whose central theme is one of bigotry.
posted by quin at 7:31 AM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Plenty of people are children of immigrants. I guess the point they'd like to resolve is, are your parents people who are in the country through the normal induction process, or do they just happen to be here and undocumented?

What do other countries do?
posted by adipocere at 7:33 AM on August 3, 2010


As long as the world's governments work to ensure that capital flows freely across borders, efforts to prevent labor from doing the same are reprehensible.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:35 AM on August 3, 2010 [23 favorites]


So it's looking like the GOP has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners?
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:35 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


The vast majority of countries in the world don't grant citizenship based on one's geography of birth.

So? The vast majority of countries in this world aren't democratic, either.

Jus soli is a way for developed countries to increase the size of their populations, and dozens of them most certainly do invoke a form of it including a number of major democratic powers: US, Canada, UK, Australia, France and Germany all either respect jus soli or a modified version of it which also includes a form of jus sanguinis.

The US does not solely observe either convention.
posted by zarq at 7:36 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's pure despicable politics. All of them know that denying citizenship this way isn't going to fly, and changing the 14th amendment so it will is practically impossible. It's just all rhetoric to heat up the anti-illegal immigrant base (i.e. a sizable portion of the Tea Party).
posted by forforf at 7:37 AM on August 3, 2010


Tangentially related to the ongoing and increasing tea-partyification-by-pandering state of the GOP: (conservative) casualty of the Tea Party.
Inglis is a casualty of the tea party-ization of the Republican Party. Given the decisive vote against him in June, it's clear he was wiped out by a political wave that he could do little to thwart. "Emotionally, I should be all right with this," he says. And when he thinks about what lies ahead for his party and GOP House leaders, he can't help but chuckle. With Boehner and others chasing after the tea party, he says, "that's going to be the dog that catches the car." He quickly adds: "And the Democrats, if they go into the minority, are going to have an enjoyable couple of years watching that dog deal with the car it's caught."
I suppose "the Democrats" will have lots of yucks, but I'm not so sure the actual country will be having a great time of things, but the rolling ball of clown car and mangled dog is probably going to be less funny if you're down in the subdivision it's plowing through. I might have lost control of that metaphor.
posted by Drastic at 7:38 AM on August 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


I guess they really do embrace a "living" Constitution.
posted by edgeways at 7:38 AM on August 3, 2010


The only solace I can take these days is that most of these guys are old and white, and this country is, quite literally, outgrowing them. Patience. Patience. Patience.

I hate to be Debbie Downer but I had exactly the same thought when I was 15-- back in 1972.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:39 AM on August 3, 2010 [20 favorites]


Why wouldn't it break my heart? Because I don't think it's an essential US value or a requirement to be a civilized country.

Most countries don't do it, and I wouldn't hang my head in shame if we adopted a policy on children of illegal aliens more similar to what would be the norm in other states. Mind you, I don't crusade for it. I hate using it as a convenient target of blame, the "welfare cadillacs" of the 2010's. It's a red herring. But I can't work up strong feelings about our country going to hell because our criteria for citizenship by birth was closer to most of Europe's.

That said, I'm talking about people who had no legal right to be in the US in the first place. It would bother me a lot to say that the child of someone legally in the US was not automatically entitled to citizenship. because I think that is, if not essential, then at least a tradition I am loathe to part with.
posted by tyllwin at 7:41 AM on August 3, 2010


The republicans/tea party should have some kind of weird, freakily not right American flag, like the bad guys from Jericho.
posted by Artw at 7:43 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmm, how far back do they want this go? I'm pretty sure at least some of my grandparents were born before my great-grandparents became American citizens. In fact, I'm not 100% sure all my great-grandparents were citizens.

Do I get to pick where I get deported to? Ireland, Sicily, or the Czech Republic...
posted by JoanArkham at 7:47 AM on August 3, 2010


You know, this is just too much. First we give them perfectly good reservations, then we give them lucrative casinos, now we want to make them the only citizens? Where does it end?

Wait, what?
posted by The Bellman at 7:47 AM on August 3, 2010 [25 favorites]


Never give the ruling class another vote. Ever. They want everything.

If control of the White House and both chambers of Congress doesn't make the Democrats "the ruling class", it's hard to imagine what would.

And yet anyone unwilling to vote for them gets insulted as a "Naderite", etc.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:48 AM on August 3, 2010


And yet anyone unwilling to vote for them gets insulted as a "Naderite", etc.

Or to vote in primaries for candidates some of them approve of within their own parties.
posted by zarq at 7:50 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeebus, what better place to police illegal immigration than at the workplace? Gotta produce a document to work (don't you?) Gotta have a record of your employees, dont' you? Some agency's gotta review those documents anyway, don't they?

Well, see... The last point there is the problem. The review process is supposed to be done by the employer, and that's pretty much where the buck stops. There is no requirement that the employer contact the INS if they find an undocumented worker. There isn't even a requirement that certain kinds of documentation be presented -- the person applying for work gets to choose what they submit to meet the I-9 requirements. And there is no verification process for the documents presented -- the employer is required to take them on face value as being authentic if they reasonably appear to be authentic. And there is no requirement that employers keep copies of the documents they have reviewed for the I-9 form.

The penalties for having incorrect or missing I-9 paperwork for employees amounts to small fines ($100-1000) per incident. It's really not much of a penalty, overall.

So, no. Unless Immigrations And Customs Enforcement decides to audit your business, there is no actual review being done of employer worker records to verify whether the I-9 forms on file are even filled out properly, let alone whether the documents presented were authentic or not. And when such audits do take place, they are few and far between.
posted by hippybear at 7:51 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fascinating. Have we already forgotten that Obama wasn't the first president to win a Nobel?

Nor the second.


Nor the third.
posted by felix betachat at 7:52 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nor the third.

I see what you did there.
posted by aught at 7:54 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


The only solace I can take these days is that most of these guys are old and white, and this country is, quite literally, outgrowing them. Patience. Patience. Patience.

About that...be really patient. Today's middle-aged white guys are tomorrow's old white guys and demographic shifts or no the economic and political power in this country will be concentrated in their hands for a loooong time to come.
posted by MikeMc at 7:55 AM on August 3, 2010


With the mainstream media still predicting huge gains, if not an outright takeover the House of reps, while the repubs tilt so far right it would make George Wallace blush. It's easy to see who the corporations want to win.

It will interesting to see if the American people buy the drivel being touted by the media.

Keep in mind the self identified TP party is only about 4% of the population as a whole. they do NOT represent the mainstream view of the average American, probably not even the mainstream view of most self identified republicans either.

I'm hoping that the repubs, who are already counting seats and assigning roles from their upcoming election wins, daily embracing even more radical views all while kowtowing to Wall Street, will be sent yet another message from the American people.
posted by Max Power at 7:55 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


About that...be really patient. Today's middle-aged white guys are tomorrow's old white guys and demographic shifts or no the economic and political power in this country will be concentrated in their hands for a loooong time to come.

Unless we kill them! ALL OF THEM! Right? Right?

Oh, is that not where we were going with this? Oh...ok..sorry...got a little ahead of myself. *sigh* Ballot not the bullet, ballot not the bullet, ballot not the bullet...
posted by Chipmazing at 8:00 AM on August 3, 2010


Well, thank God for the General. At least somebody is taking this seriously.

Somebody needs to get these Republicans more interested in gladiator movies.
posted by warbaby at 8:01 AM on August 3, 2010


Andew Jackson's parents were both Irish immigrants. Thomas Jefferson's mom was British, and most recently Herbert Hoover's mother was Canadian.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 AM on August 3


yeah, but they were all "white" of the european kind.
posted by liza at 8:01 AM on August 3, 2010


2) The vast majority of countries in the world don't grant citizenship based on one's geography of birth. The US is a distinct minority there. Arguing some version of "this is what makes America great" is, in essence, an argument from American exceptionalism. It's pretty damn funny to see all the people who yell at the Right for believing that there's something special about America defending birthright citizenship on those grounds.
posted by valkyryn at 10:26 AM on August 3


America is exceptional.

The people on the right don't believe "that there's something special about America," They believe there is something special about their white ancestry is threatened by immigrants. This is also why these same people wouldn't support a mormon like Mitt Romney or an italian-american like Guiliani.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:01 AM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


So when are they going to rename themselves the BNP?

I'm sure they don't want to take the chance that their followers might mistake the B for "Black", the P for "Party" and the N for what they meant to say and would say if it weren't for liberal media bias. (of course, Obama is setting up for White Slavery didntchaknow?)
posted by yeloson at 8:03 AM on August 3, 2010


I didn't even need to open this thread to anticipate the response: fascist Republicans LOL. Racism. Knees jerk.

Fact is that citizenship as a right of being born in a country is rare. Only the US and one or two other countries permit this which makes U.S. law - as it is - sort of radical.

The constitutional reasons for this are clear: to ensure that slaves born in the US would be granted citizenship and would not be deported by the former Confederate states who were forced to accept this law (and U.S. supremacy) at gunpoint. This reason is no longer valid or necessary so why not change the law to bring the US inline with 99% of the rest of the world.

My children one born in London and one in Stockholm to American citizens did not get UK or Swedish citizenship (just bloody good and free healthcare.) Why should a child born to a Brit or Swede born in the US not be treated reciprocally?

Also all of those poor foreigners born in the US will forever be required to file tax returns regardless of where they live in the world. My kids have never lived in America, but when time comes they will be required to file returns as if they lived there. While they are at it the Tea Party could change that law too and bring the U.S. into international norms.
posted by three blind mice at 8:04 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


fascist Republicans LOL. Racism. Knees jerk.

You forgot: "shoes fit."
posted by felix betachat at 8:08 AM on August 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


Fact is that citizenship as a right of being born in a country is rare. Only the US and one or two other countries permit this which makes U.S. law - as it is - sort of radical.

What are you talking about?

Jus soli.
States that observe jus soli include:

Antigua and Barbuda[3]
Argentina[3]
Barbados[3]
Belize[3]
Bolivia[3]
Brazil[3]
Canada[3]
Chile[4] (children of transient foreigners or of foreign diplomats on assignment in Chile only upon request)
Colombia[3]
Dominica[3]
Dominican Republic[3]
Ecuador[3]
El Salvador[3]
Fiji[5]
Grenada[3]
Guatemala[3]
Guyana[3]
Honduras[3]
Jamaica[3]
Lesotho[6]
Malaysia[3]
Mexico[3]
Nicaragua[3]
Pakistan[3]
Panama[3]
Paraguay[3]
Peru[3]
Saint Christopher and Nevis[3]
Saint Lucia[3]
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[3]
Trinidad and Tobago[3]
United States[3]
Uruguay[3]
Venezuela[3]

[edit]Modification of jus soli

In a number of countries, the automatic application of jus soli has been modified to impose some additional requirements for children of foreign parents, such as the parent being a permanent resident or having lived in the country for a period of time. Jus soli has been modified in the following countries:

United Kingdom on 1 January 1983
Australia on 20 August 1986[2]
Republic of Ireland on 1 January 2005[2]
New Zealand on 1 January 2006[2]
South Africa on 6 October 1995[2]

France also operates a modified form of jus soli

German nationality law was changed on 1 January 2000 to introduce a modified concept of jus soli. Prior to that date, German nationality law was based entirely on jus sanguinis.[2]

Modification of jus soli has been criticized as contributing to economic inequality, the perpetuation of unfree labour from a helot underclass,[2] and statelessness.

On the other hand, in places like the United States, jus soli is credited with the nation's ability to integrate various nationalities and with much less social strife and difficulties than other countries[citation needed]. Although jus soli was formally stated in the Fourteenth Amendment, judicial authorities recognize that the philosophy was integral at the conception of the country's constitution.

Children born to foreign diplomats are usually not granted nationality of the country they were born in, even in countries that practice jus soli.

posted by zarq at 8:12 AM on August 3, 2010 [37 favorites]


Also all of those poor foreigners born in the US will forever be required to file tax returns regardless of where they live in the world. My kids have never lived in America, but when time comes they will be required to file returns as if they lived there.

Explain this to me, please. My cousins are all dual citizens of the US and their respective home countries (France & Germany) and none of them have ever had to pay US taxes by nature of not being employed in the US.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:12 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


The constitutional reasons for this are clear: to ensure that slaves born in the US would be granted citizenship and would not be deported by the former Confederate states who were forced to accept this law (and U.S. supremacy) at gunpoint. This reason is no longer valid or necessary so why not change the law to bring the US inline with 99% of the rest of the world.

I'm pretty sure the people behind this law specifically want it to allow the former Confederate states to deport the children of today's slaves.
posted by enn at 8:13 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fact is that citizenship as a right of being born in a country is rare. Only the US and one or two other countries permit this which makes U.S. law - as it is - sort of radical. [...] While they are at it the Tea Party could change that law too and bring the U.S. into international norms.

I'm sure this is the reason the Right came up with this idea: They want the US to be more European.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:14 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


C'mon, GOP, the 14th amendment was the last good thing you did!

Maybe after they're done with this, they can review the 13th amendment, which has brought them no end of trouble.
posted by klangklangston at 8:17 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


tyllwin: what exactly would be the advantage of not having birthright citizenship?
posted by creasy boy at 8:18 AM on August 3, 2010


I thought immigration births were the reason why we weren’t in a demographic crisis a la Europe?

Oh wait, I forgot that having a white majority (for a incoherent and ever changing description of ‘white’) was far more important than having a sustainable population.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:18 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


You forgot: "shoes fit."

Perhaps, but the basic argument is not illogical or unreasonable. Do children born to American citizens in Canada or Mexico automatically get Canadian or Mexican citizenship? Hell no.

As it is unlikely that the rest of the world will change their laws to accommodate U.S. practice - which would be fine - why is it so unreasonable that the US change its laws to create a balanced, reciprocal situation?
posted by three blind mice at 8:18 AM on August 3, 2010


This is also why these same people wouldn't support a mormon like Mitt Romney or an italian-american like Guiliani.

I'm nitpicking here but is there actually a prominent pundit or popular web source anywhere that actually dismissed Giuliani because of his ancestry? Because I lived in the New York area for his entire stint as Mayor and DC for the 2008 election cycle and I never heard that, ever, like, at all. In fact Giuliani's major plus to the conservative right was his above and beyond advocacy of killing the hell out of foreign people.

Why would the right care about Italian-Americans? They wet themselves daily over the two that are on the Supreme Court. Giuliani was opposed by the right because of his earlier stances in favor of reproductive choice and gun control. Of all the complaints I heard about Giuliani his race sure as heck wasn't ever one of them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:20 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Explain this to me, please

All US citizens have to file returns - even if they've never lived here. Functionally unless they make a few hundred K they'll never owe taxes.

In real life I'm not sure if the IRS really goes after the children of expats who have never been to the US.

Global Taxation really is something the US is virtually alone in pursuing.
posted by JPD at 8:20 AM on August 3, 2010


your heart's no doubt in the right place [re: "nation of immigrants" rhetoric], but it's really a problematic way of characterizing things.

Sure, but it's not just a cliche: it's the standard-issue, patriotic trope that nationalist types in America have used in extolling the virtues of the American system (and even incorporated into school text books) for generations. Virtually every child whose gone to public school in America recognizes it as the official dogma of the American national myth.

This "nation of immigrants" trope is part and parcel of the national myth that the establishment political orthodoxy in America has promoted since virtually the beginning: the fact that the spirit of the phrase is now so clearly belied--even flouted--by the rhetoric and actions of these authoritarian crytpo-fascists and oligarchs in the Republican party only helps to bring into sharp relief the extent to which these Republicans are anything but the conservative American patriots they make themselves out to be. (It galls me to no end how they describe themselves as "Republican" and "conservative" while throwing every ounce of their political muscle into dismantling the Republic and radically revising our core national myths, all with the press helpfully reinforcing their subterfuge).

That the modern-day Republican party could betray the spirit of core American myths such as this one so conspicuously and deliberately demonstrates the extent to which the contemporary Republican party truly is, as argued upthread, a radical party, rather than one that can in any meaningful sense be called "conservative." The fact that the press is incapable of calling the Republicans on this point, dutifully characterizing them as "conservatives" at every opportunity, only abets these liars in their ongoing project to revise popular understanding of America's history and cultural identity on a scale that would make even Stalin blush.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:22 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


why is it so unreasonable that the US change its laws to create a balanced, reciprocal situation

because the other countries are wrong. Immigration is a net good. If other countries can't see that, too bad for them.
posted by JPD at 8:23 AM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


three blind mice wrote: "Also all of those poor foreigners born in the US will forever be required to file tax returns regardless of where they live in the world. My kids have never lived in America, but when time comes they will be required to file returns as if they lived there. While they are at it the Tea Party could change that law too and bring the U.S. into international norms."

Your kids can always renounce their citizenship. (presuming they have other citizenship, of course) Having never lived here, it will be less of a hassle than it is when they think someone is doing it to evade taxes.
posted by wierdo at 8:23 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]



I didn't even need to open this thread to anticipate the response

And a valuable contributor you are!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:23 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sure this is the reason the Right came up with this idea: They want the US to be more European.

Awesome idea for a campaign ad: "Mitch McConnell wants to change the law to take away the citizenship of NATURAL BORN AMERICANS. You know who has a law like that? That's right, FRANCE! Tell Mitch McConnel to take pack up his cheese and get the hell back to France. Paid for by the partnership for a cheese-eating-socialist-free America and Home Depot."
posted by The Bellman at 8:24 AM on August 3, 2010 [12 favorites]


I didn't even need to open this thread to anticipate the response: fascist Republicans LOL. Racism.

O.M.G., I hate when that happens. Like sometimes my mom sends me emails with titles like "Pictures of a Cute Kitty!!!" and like I don't even need to open it to anticipate that my response to the cute kitten will be "Wow, what a cute kitten". My response to policies formulated based on electoral calculations and racial hatred is often predictable too.

But I mean you're right. Jus Solis is so rare that only those crazy radical/insignificant countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesotho, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela do it. 99% percent of the world doesn't. It's definitely not the norm in the Western Hemisphere nor the ONLY system utilized in North America.
posted by Chipmazing at 8:24 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Explain this to me, please. My cousins are all dual citizens of the US and their respective home countries (France & Germany) and none of them have ever had to pay US taxes by nature of not being employed in the US.

Here. Read it and weep:

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.

"YOUR WORLDWIDE INCOME IS SUBJECT TO U.S. INCOME TAX, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU RESIDE."

And thanks zarq. I was wrong and I stand corrected.
posted by three blind mice at 8:24 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


why is it so unreasonable that the US change its laws to create a balanced, reciprocal situation?

Can you be more precise about the conditions under which the US modify its laws to match a global standard? Because otherwise, I'm thinking upholding international conventions on torture and CO2 emissions might be more pressing concerns.
posted by felix betachat at 8:25 AM on August 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


Fact is that citizenship as a right of being born in a country is rare.

Fact is, that's what makes us fucking awesome.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:25 AM on August 3, 2010 [27 favorites]


Many of the people espousing this notion are racists, but that doesn't make the idea itself inherently racist.

Sure, I see your point, in that the nature of citizenship is essentially a positive law construction made by the constitution and laws, and the idea of citizen-ness is not an inherent, self-evident one. The problem, as I see it, is that it requires that level of abstract analysis to remove the obvious racism from the proposal.

Oh, and re-read the George Will op-ed. He's not arguing for a new constitutional amendment. He's arguing that the 14th Amendment doesn't actually grant birthright citizenship, and he cites this law review article as his support for this. His assertion that this re-interpretation would be a "simple reform" or would "drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments" is, understate matters, questionable.
posted by norm at 8:26 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why would the right care about Italian-Americans?

They mostly care about Catholics, but they have the sense to keep their concerns amongst their real-American selves.

You may not hear a lot of it in New York, but trust me - out here in Middle America, some people still think Kennedy only answered to the Pope.
posted by Think_Long at 8:26 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


three blind mice wrote: "why is it so unreasonable that the US change its laws to create a balanced, reciprocal situation?"

What advantage would it bring to have a reciprocal nationality law? Is there something inherently wrong with having citizenship in multiple countries?
posted by wierdo at 8:26 AM on August 3, 2010


Do children born to American citizens in Canada or Mexico automatically get Canadian or Mexican citizenship? Hell no.

Hell yes, hell yes. (In the case of Mexico, nationality is obtained at birth, and citizenship is obtained at 18 upon the rejection of all other citizenships.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:27 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also apropos of nothing else, did we really need all those 'beaner' comments earlier in the thread?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:27 AM on August 3, 2010


Do children born to American citizens in Canada or Mexico automatically get Canadian or Mexican citizenship? Hell no.

Go back and read zarq's comment and citation.
posted by peeedro at 8:28 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


If nothing else, this seems like demographic wrongheadedness on the Republican's part. I don't think a constitutional change is likely, so this just turns off more immigrants to their party. Even if it were to pass, birth rates amongst immigrant families are much higher, right?

Between this and your thread next door about the community center in downtown Manhattan, the Republican demagogues are really appealing to a shrinking base. I expect their opinion is it doesn't matter, there's plenty of time to change their tune before the project demographic swings actually take place.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:30 AM on August 3, 2010


Perhaps, but the basic argument is not illogical or unreasonable. Do children born to American citizens in Canada or Mexico automatically get Canadian or Mexican citizenship? Hell no.

I can't speak for Mexico, but in Canada? Hell yes.

Persons who are citizens
3. (1) Subject to this Act, a person is a citizen if
(a) the person was born in Canada after February 14, 1977;
(b) the person was born outside Canada after February 14, 1977 and at the time of his birth one of his parents, other than a parent who adopted him, was a citizen;
(c) the person has been granted or acquired citizenship pursuant to section 5 or 11 and, in the case of a person who is fourteen years of age or over on the day that he is granted citizenship, he has taken the oath of citizenship;
(c.1) the person has been granted citizenship under section 5.1;
(d) the person was a citizen immediately before February 15, 1977;
(e) the person was entitled, immediately before February 15, 1977, to become a citizen under paragraph 5(1)(b) of the former Act;
(f) before the coming into force of this paragraph, the person ceased to be a citizen for any reason other than the following reasons and did not subsequently become a citizen:

...

(2) Paragraph (1)(a) does not apply to a person if, at the time of his birth, neither of his parents was a citizen or lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence and either of his parents was
(a) a diplomatic or consular officer or other representative or employee in Canada of a foreign government;
(b) an employee in the service of a person referred to in paragraph (a); or
(c) an officer or employee in Canada of a specialized agency of the United Nations or an officer or employee in Canada of any other international organization to whom there are granted, by or under any Act of Parliament, diplomatic privileges and immunities certified by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to be equivalent to those granted to a person or persons referred to in paragraph (a).


Zarq thoughtfully provided a link to Jus Soli's wikipedia entry above, please read it before knocking my country's immigration laws.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:30 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


"YOUR WORLDWIDE INCOME IS SUBJECT TO U.S. INCOME TAX, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU RESIDE."

Well, awesome. So much for my theory that I didn't have to file taxes when I lived in Iceland. Of course, I didn't make any money while I lived in Iceland because I couldn't work due to residence visa snafus... so... in the end, it's a moot point.

Just when I think I have a grasp on the fuck-up-itude of US tax law, it goes to a new level.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:30 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I should have previewed. Everyone beat me to it.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:31 AM on August 3, 2010


three blind mice wrote: ""YOUR WORLDWIDE INCOME IS SUBJECT TO U.S. INCOME TAX, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU RESIDE." "

Happily, your income tax is offset by the amount you pay to (most) foreign governments and is not taxed at all under $75,000. You do still have to file even if you owe no tax, though, which is sad.
posted by wierdo at 8:32 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do children born to American citizens in Canada or Mexico automatically get Canadian or Mexican citizenship? Hell no.

Oh, I'm sorry, the answer we were looking for was "Yes, see: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Mexican Constitution of 1917.

Or Google. See Google.
posted by Chipmazing at 8:32 AM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


"2) The vast majority of countries in the world don't grant citizenship based on one's geography of birth. The US is a distinct minority there. Arguing some version of "this is what makes America great" is, in essence, an argument from American exceptionalism. It's pretty damn funny to see all the people who yell at the Right for believing that there's something special about America defending birthright citizenship on those grounds."

The vast majority of the world doesn't have the US's due process requirements, nor the strong protections of free speech and free press, nor an explicit rejection of state religion. Those all help make us great. Further, it's entirely consistent to recognize that some exceptions are better than the norm and others are worse.

So, no, that's not the talking point you want.
posted by klangklangston at 8:33 AM on August 3, 2010 [17 favorites]


Just when I think I have a grasp on the fuck-up-itude of US tax law, it goes to a new level.


Actually global taxation is a great idea. Countries that don't have it just encourage their rich folks to become tax exiles's elsewhere. Global Taxation effectively removes that option for Americans. And the exception of 75k + credit for foreign taxes paid (as well as other deductions that can come about) means that it isn't a big deal. People who get pissed off about it are usually also gaming the tax system of the country they live in as well.
posted by JPD at 8:36 AM on August 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


Procedurally, this isn't a futile move. If Congress passes an amendment and three-fourths of state legislatures do too, it becomes the next amendment to the Constitution.

it's not a futile move at all, as i suspect that they're going to decide to use the state legislatures to demand a national constitutional convention which will take up this and other issues - they'll bypass congress, as they know they don't have the votes there

thus opening up a real can of worms - before, i think people were scared of what might result from such a convention - but the current crop of republicans don't seem to be scared of anything that might result from their agenda

we will see the republican party call for this soon - if not the whole party, the tea party branch of it - and they will only need 2/3 of the states to do so, instead of 3/4s for a specific amendment

in campaigning for it, they'll throw up a balanced budget amendment, an anti-abortion amendment, a "defense of marriage" amendment and anything else they can come up with to convince various state legislators to call for a general constitutional convention

how such a convention's members would be elected - IF they were elected by popular vote - and what the proceedures would be is something i don't know

but i think this is where they're heading
posted by pyramid termite at 8:37 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Perhaps, but the basic argument is not illogical or unreasonable. Do children born to American citizens in Canada or Mexico automatically get Canadian or Mexican citizenship? Hell no."

I hate it when facts slow me down.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just when I think I have a grasp on the fuck-up-itude of US tax law, it goes to a new level.

To be fair, I think it's an attempt to prevent wealthy U.S. tax dodgers.
posted by aught at 8:39 AM on August 3, 2010


I forget the threshold (wait, here it is: $7,200 for an individual), but if you earn under a certain total dollar amount of income in a particular tax year, you don't have to file, whether you're living stateside or abroad. So if you didn't earn much, you're probably fine.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:39 AM on August 3, 2010


And thanks zarq. I was wrong and I stand corrected.

No worries! You're welcome. :)
posted by zarq at 8:42 AM on August 3, 2010


The republicans need to go. The only way we can move forward is by completely purging all Republicans from our government.
posted by mike3k at 8:43 AM on August 3, 2010


Surely, this is the biggest thing. Is it even being talked about? Jeebus, what better place to police illegal immigration than at the workplace? Gotta produce a document to work (don't you?) Gotta have a record of your employees, dont' you? Some agency's gotta review those documents anyway, don't they?

Why do you hate small businesses of America? This was an actual response I got from a relative when I brought this up. They see making the businesses deal with this as an attack.
posted by Big_B at 8:44 AM on August 3, 2010


norm wrote: "he cites this law review article as his support for this"

That article uses some rather twisted logic. The authors of the fourteenth amendment didn't intend for it to apply to illegal immigrants because there was no such thing as illegal immigrants at the time? That seems exactly backwards. Then it argues that it didn't apply to Indians not because the tribes were not, legally speaking, part of the United States (we treatied with them as if they were foreign nations), but because the members owed allegiance to their tribe.

Unless our laws are inoperative with regard to aliens present in the United States, I fail to see how that argument can possibly work.
posted by wierdo at 8:45 AM on August 3, 2010


I'm sure President Obama will get behind the policy, as a way of placating the right, in exchange for their support for something further down the road.

It's worked pretty well so far.
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:46 AM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


My "patience" comment was (slightly) tongue-in-cheek. I felt the same as Secret Life of Gravy in 1972. However, there are significant demographic changes afoot in the US. The conservative Republicans are playing to a significantly shrinking audience. Couple this with the fact that they are riding a tiger by pandering to the Tea Party, and total implosion could be closer than you think.


Synopsis by Wikipedia (the actual Census report is here):

A report in August 2008 from the U.S. Census Bureau projects that non-Hispanic whites will no longer make up the majority of the population by 2042, but will remain the largest race. This is a revision of earlier projections that this would occur in 2050. Today, non-Hispanic White Americans make up about 66% of the population. This percentage is expected to fall to 46% in 2050. The report foresees the Hispanic and Latino population rising from 15% today to 30% by 2050. Today, African Americans make up 14% of the population, in 2050 they are projected to comprise 15%. Asian Americans make up 5% of the population and are expected to make up 9% in 2050. The U.S. has 308 million people today, and is projected to reach 400 million by 2039 and 439 million in 2050.

A report from the Pew Research Center in 2008 projects that by 2050, non-Hispanic Whites will make up 47% of the population, down from 67% projected in 2005. Non-Hispanic whites made up 85% of the population in 1960. It foresees the Hispanic population rising from 14% in 2005 to 29% by 2050. The proportion of Asian Americans would almost double by 2050. Overall, the population of the U.S. was due to rise from 296 million in 2005 to 438 million, with 82% of the increase due to immigration.

Of the nation's children in 2050, 62% are expected to be of a minority ethnicity, up from 44% today. Approximately 39% are projected to be Hispanic (up from 22% in 2008), and 38% are projected to be single-race, non-Hispanic whites (down from 56% in 2008).

posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:47 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the subject of the income tax saulgoodman, a whopping 44% of citizens (do we have to call them 'legals' now?) don't pay any income tax.
posted by Chipmazing at 8:47 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


In case it wasn't clear, my last post was referring to BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP FOR CHILDREN OF ILLEGAL ALIENS: AN IRRATIONAL PUBLIC POLICY by LINO A. GRAGLIAJOHN C. YOO
posted by wierdo at 8:50 AM on August 3, 2010


, but if you earn under a certain total dollar amount of income in a particular tax year, you don't have to file, whether you're living stateside or abroad. So if you didn't earn much, you're probably fine.

Since I earned exactly nothing while living abroad (which was the legal limit of what I could earn *grumble*), I shall cease worrying about an IRS audit and resume worrying about space aliens. Thanks!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:52 AM on August 3, 2010


This is the GOP signing its death warrant. If they push this, the Hispanic vote is lost to them for 50 years.

For a party that is supposedly on the upswing, they sure are acting like they are totally desparate. I think they are fullly aware of the dire straits that they are in.

The irony? The GOP forced the 14th Amendment down the throats of the Democrats in 1866.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:05 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I, for one, am proud I was born in the United States of America. I nailed that landing.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:05 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


tyllwin: what exactly would be the advantage of not having birthright citizenship?

Nothing whatsoever that I can see. I don't argue that it's a benefit. In fact, I think that we have no idea if it would be a good or a bad thing, but that I think it would be a trivial impact either way. I just argue that it isn't ipso facto racism.


Sure, I see your point, in that the nature of citizenship is essentially a positive law construction made by the constitution and laws, and the idea of citizen-ness is not an inherent, self-evident one. The problem, as I see it, is that it requires that level of abstract analysis to remove the obvious racism from the proposal.


I draw the distinction because I think there are a quite a few people who support these idea for reasons which are wrong, but non-racist. I think many of the "immigration crisis" partisans are acting out of fear that immigrants, be they of whatever race, will burden our tattered social welfare resources and siphon away jobs from people who are already here legally. That's not a racist belief. I doubt the people of Arizona, for example, would be much more enthused about a sudden influx of lily-white Eastern Europeans, nor, for that matter, of New Yorkers. If they hold these attitudes for non-racist reasons, assuming their racism is counter-productive.

They need to understand that the immigrants are fellow victims, not the enemy. Automatically dismissing them as racists doesn't further that end.
posted by tyllwin at 9:06 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the subject of the income tax saulgoodman, a whopping 44% of citizens (do we have to call them 'legals' now?) don't pay any income tax.


ok now - see if you can work out the logic for why that is. It really is a function of income inequality. Not "Those lazy poors"
posted by JPD at 9:06 AM on August 3, 2010


However, there are significant demographic changes afoot in the US. The conservative Republicans are playing to a significantly shrinking audience. Couple this with the fact that they are riding a tiger by pandering to the Tea Party, and total implosion could be closer than you think.

On preview, what that guy said even better than I.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:07 AM on August 3, 2010


I just argue that it isn't ipso facto racism.

When played in this place, at this time, in this matter, for these stakes, it sure as hell is racism.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:08 AM on August 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


I'm wondering how this dovetails with the call to change the requirements for the President to be born here so the Governator can run for the White House.

I'm amazed Schwarzenegger hasn't been kicked out of the current Republican party for being a gay-loving foreigner.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:09 AM on August 3, 2010


To quote Zalzidrax: "If you think this law could be enforced without disproportionately affecting people of a certain skin color you're delusional; if you don't care, you're racist."
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:10 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Doesn't “Anchor Babies” sound like a really weird/old-timey classist slur?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:11 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fact is that citizenship as a right of being born in a country is rare.

This is such an incredibly poor argument that it shouldn't even be considered an argument.
posted by rtha at 9:13 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Of the nation's children in 2050, 62% are expected to be of a minority ethnicity, up from 44% today. Approximately 39% are projected to be Hispanic (up from 22% in 2008), and 38% are projected to be single-race, non-Hispanic whites (down from 56% in 2008).
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:47 AM on August 3


about 10 years ago, TIME had a whole report where these numbers were expected by 2015. and i seem to remember that the shit literally hit the fan and there was running around screaming in circles that this couldn't happen and now we have these numbers pushed to 2050.

ugh. somewhere in my archives at culturekitchen.com i have references to demographic papers that refute this 2050 spin. that's why am calling bullshit on this and am going to say that the shift is happening sooner not later.

the census has always been a white-washing machine that conveniently expands the definition of white to sanctify numerically that alleged majority. given the numbers do not include undocumented immigrants and given that "white" has been so expanded as to include anybody who calls themselves so even if they are from the middle east or asia; am going to say that US-born and immigrant Latinos as the majority in the US will be happening in 4 more years, not 44.
posted by liza at 9:14 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


xenophobia is an abhorrent mental disorder and this man should be locked in a cage and beaten with a rubber hose (but then let out once a week to see his loved ones and get some therapy- also given a high quailty diet of about 70% fruits and vegetables and lean protein). We have enough space, have any of you dummies ever even seen texas? Bring on the enlightened semi-socialist one world government (look up Sweden for initial clues), and let's modify the Heinlein concept from starship troopers to mandate that everyone of sufficient mental competence and provable ethical worth be made to serve four plus years in public service.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:14 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Doesn't “Anchor Babies” sound like a really weird/old-timey classist slur?

Rings kind of like "Welfare Queen" in my ears.
posted by hippybear at 9:14 AM on August 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'm amazed Schwarzenegger hasn't been kicked out of the current Republican party for being a gay-loving foreigner.


This is demanding political consistancy where none should be expected. The Republicans are stirring this up now because they think it will get votes. The Republicans like Arnold because, even though his numbers are declining, he can get votes. The 'purity test' tea party wing is useful to get Joe Racist stirred up and win votes, but remember they are the tool, and politicians are still outcome-oriented.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:17 AM on August 3, 2010


a whopping 44% of citizens (do we have to call them 'legals' now?) don't pay any income tax.

That's not really true. It's a popular right wing talking point, and if construed very narrowly, the claim is technically correct. But it's meaningless and misleading in reality.

True, 44% of the population may not have to pay income tax when they file at the end of the year, but if you include social security and other pay check withholdings, and state and federal sales tax, no class of people in America don't contribute to the tax burden.

Since that 44% of Americans you refer to in total command something on the order of less than 10% of the annual income in America, it doesn't make sense that they would account for a much larger share of the income tax. They don't earn enough income, in total, to account for much more of the overall income tax share unless you took everything they earned. The more recent numbers have only shown an even more substantial share of all income going to the upper-end of the income scale. The numbers below are from 2001 (and by all accounts, the situation has gotten significantly worse in the intervening years due to the effects of Bush tax policies).

The bottom 40% got 12.2% [of all income in 2001].

The distribution of pretax income in the United States today is highly unequal. The most careful studies suggest that the top 10 percent of households, with average income of about $200,000, received 42 percent of all pretax money income in the late 1990s. The top 1 percent of households, averaging $800,000 of income, received 15 percent of all pretax money income.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:20 AM on August 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


Racism on whose part?

I firmly believe that the Republican leadership is utterly cynical about it. They're devoid of any principles whatsoever, even racist ones, except "I've got mine, Jack."


As for the Tea Partiers, I believe they hate a class of people "those people taking our jobs." Race is secondary. It's just a tag they're using to identify the people. They don't have some burning hate for Mexicans. They wouldn't give a damn about Mexicans or Spanish being spoken if the unemployment rate were zero.
posted by tyllwin at 9:23 AM on August 3, 2010


Bullshit, they're not going around yelling about white immigrants, or Asian immigrants, or black immigrants, or Pacific Islander immigrants. It is Latinos alone who are bearing the brunt.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:25 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I thought members of the cogent and totally coherent Tea Party were "strict Constitutionalists".

Not really.
posted by four panels at 9:28 AM on August 3, 2010


c'mon Saulgoodman -why'd you do his homework for him
posted by JPD at 9:30 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is such an incredibly poor argument that it shouldn't even be considered an argument.

Oh, I'm sorry. This is Abuse.
posted by EarBucket at 9:31 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sure President Obama will get behind the policy, as a way of placating the right, in exchange for their support for something further down the road.

It's worked pretty well so far.


What policy of the right has he "gotten behind?" In other words, what policy has he not agreed with first that he is placating the right with?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:32 AM on August 3, 2010


Race is secondary. It's just a tag they're using to identify the people. They don't have some burning hate for Mexicans. They wouldn't give a damn about Mexicans or Spanish being spoken if the unemployment rate were zero.

Maybe you haven't heard the bitter complaining about San Diego billboards in Spanish or bilingual education.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:33 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Bullshit, they're not going around yelling about white immigrants, or Asian immigrants, or black immigrants, or Pacific Islander immigrants. It is Latinos alone who are bearing the brunt.

True. But where would they find any? Latinos are, by geographical necessity, the largest bloc of illegal immigrants. Thus they're going to bear the brunt. Are you telling me you truly think things would be different if we magically replaced every undocumented Latino with an undocumented Russian?
posted by tyllwin at 9:33 AM on August 3, 2010


Fact is that citizenship as a right of being born in a country is rare.

This is such an incredibly poor argument that it shouldn't even be considered an argument.


Its called the Brooklyn Bridge argument.

The other type of citizenship argument is citizenship by "blood." How's that worked out so far?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:35 AM on August 3, 2010


Are you telling me you truly think things would be different if we magically replaced every undocumented Latino with an undocumented Russian?

Yes. We are telling you that.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:36 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Any call for an amendment - much less and God forbid, a constitutional convention - is going to make the extreme right-wing heads assplode with paranoia and frothy confusion.

For example, here is a John Birch opinion piece on the possibility of a ConCon. This is a really mild example.

The hard-core crazypants constitutionalists will (in their calmer moments) condemn it as a UN plot to enslave us all to a New World Order Black Helicopter Wingdingdoodah. That's when they are calm and have been properly medicated.

So I say, Go For It, Republicrazies! Bring on the Crazy! Let no hat go un-tinfoiled.

Lord knows the Democrats will just look for some way to split the difference with them.
posted by warbaby at 9:37 AM on August 3, 2010


Yes. We are telling you that.

Well, at that point, then, I suppose we'll have to end still disagreeing.
posted by tyllwin at 9:38 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I say, Go For It, Republicrazies! Bring on the Crazy! Let no hat go un-tinfoiled.

Yes, it's easier to make fun of them if you think they're going about this in a forthright manner and calling for a constitutional convention or an amendment. But, as I pointed out earlier, and is clear from the second link, that is not what is happening. The argument is that the 14th Amendment, which established birthright citizenship and has been recognized that way by the SCOTUS since at least 1898, was mis-interpreted, and legislation pending before Congress will "correct" this misunderstanding. George Will thinks that the constitutionality of that proposed legislation would come down to a 5-4 split when challenged, with Kennedy the swing vote. And on that count he's probably right.

I'm pretty sure this legislation won't go anywhere, but given a Republican majority in Congress, who knows?
posted by norm at 9:42 AM on August 3, 2010


Doesn't “Anchor Babies” sound like a really weird/old-timey classist slur?

And the worst part is, being naturally buoyant, babies actually make really terrible anchors.
posted by quin at 9:43 AM on August 3, 2010 [16 favorites]


Don't think about what system of establishing citizenship makes sense based on principle. Think about what system of citizenship involves the least amount of governmental intrusion into people's lives. Right now, when you're born in a US hospital, there's a birth certificate, the doctor signs it - done. Nobody needs to prove anything, show any papers, document anything. A baby comes out of a lady, doctor signs paper, end of story. Any other system will involve a greater level of governmental intrusion and oversight. The current system is the least invasive possible. Why would a change be bad? Because it would create administrative costs, and I'd rather see that money spent on, dunno, ANYTHING else. Because it would turn the hospital into a police station, and people in the country illegally would have another reason to avoid them. I'd rather have more citizens than more women dying in labor because if they seek medical help during their labor, they risk deportation.

Also, the 14th amendment is one of the best amendments and I resent any attempt to fuck with it.
posted by prefpara at 9:44 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure this legislation won't go anywhere, but given a Republican majority in Congress, who knows?

I'm pretty sure this is about securing that Republican majority in Congress by the means of appealing to racism, and not the actual changing of any laws. Beating up on gay people or muslims got old for them or something.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2010


JPD: lazy poors
saulgoodman: That's not really true
JPD: why'd you do his homework for him

I hope my last comment wasn't misconstrued (my like of the word "whopping" and its cool mouthfeel [seriously, just say it out loud. It'll make your day a bit better] may have led to such a conclusion).

It was mostly directed at the sidestrain of the argument that could mocked as "AND THE MEXICANS DONT EVEN PAY INCOME TAX, UNLIKE US, WHO DO, SO MUCH OF IT, TO OBAMA AND HIS GUERILLAS". Which, to address more specifically, isn't even true. 8 Million illegal immigrants pay into the system. They add $50 billion to Social Security annually, without getting anything out of it. The average illegal immigrant contributes $80,000 more to the system than he/she consumes.

And you're right saulgoodman, income inequality is getting worse. See Bernie Sander's fantastic article in The Nation for an update from those 2001 stats to now.
posted by Chipmazing at 9:47 AM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


In the time-cube, there are no countries.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:49 AM on August 3, 2010


Doesn't “Anchor Babies” sound like a really weird/old-timey classist slur?


classist and racist: it's an anti-immigrant version of the black slur : TAR BABY
posted by liza at 9:51 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


saulgoodman: Andew Jackson's parents were both Irish immigrants.

liza: yeah, but they were all "white" of the european kind.

I seem to remember reading that the Irish weren't considered white until sometime after the civil war.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:54 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the GOP signing its death warrant. If they push this, the Hispanic vote is lost to them for 50 years.

This is exactly my reaction. The Rs may be in position to make big midterm gains, given the weakness of the economic recovery and the sour national mood, but that won't last if they don't move to the middle where the swing independents live. (Also, there is not much enthusiasm for the Rs. People haven't forgotten what a godawful job they did from 2000-08.)

So, I fail to understand the R trend of running to the right, where at most 20% of the electorate lives. I understand even less the willingness to throw strong potential R constituent groups like Latinos under the bus.

I think the GOP has a death wish, myself. Only the Democratic party could fail to capitalize on this fact.
posted by bearwife at 9:55 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bullshit, they're not going around yelling about white immigrants, or Asian immigrants, or black immigrants, or Pacific Islander immigrants. It is Latinos alone who are bearing the brunt.

One thing at a time, PG. Measured, steady progress.
posted by kafziel at 9:58 AM on August 3, 2010


Just to clear things up JPD, I'm not some fuck-the-poor jackass. I'm more of a fuck-the-rich-but-like-seriously-have-sex-with-them-and-get-into-their-secret-rich-people-club. With the top 400 richest families doubling their wealth and halving their tax burden, its the best time to be a golddigger since that catchy Kanye song came out. Maybe even better!
posted by Chipmazing at 9:58 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a little old fashioned, in that I believe that the legitimacy of a government flows from the consent of those who are governed. Aliens in the United States for an extended period of time and are subject to the laws often have no say in US elections, and I think they should, irrespective of their status. Of course, this is a radical position, but I view Jus Soli as one way of ensuring that a class of citizens (children of illegal immigrants) have the right of political determination, where they would otherwise be denied it.

But hey, I also think that anyone who lives in the US for more than, say, five years, should automatically be granted citizenship, so you can ignore me as an extreme-left ideologue :)
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:09 AM on August 3, 2010


I seem to remember reading that the Irish weren't considered white until sometime after the civil war.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:54 PM on August 3


yup. that's why i put "white" in quotations.

whiteness is a social/political construct. it's why so many of these white supremacists in congress and government are also anti-science. they just can't allow the human genome project to deny them the privileges that their perfectly crafted definition of whiteness have given them thus far:P
posted by liza at 10:15 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


And the worst part is, being naturally buoyant, babies actually make really terrible anchors.

Well sure, unless you get smart and start mixing cement with their pablum.
posted by felix betachat at 10:16 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for clarifying your comments, Chipmazing. I realize you did specify "income tax" in your original comment, and the general point about undocumented immigrants paying more into the system than a lot of lower income, um, natural-born citizens is a good and often ignored one. The issue of increasing income inequality is one that gets swept under the rug so often in the TV media's various dog and pony shows that I tend to be a little knee-jerk about bringing it up. Especially now that the TV media seems to be increasingly committed to repeating-into-truth the Republican party line about tax cuts magically being a deficit neutral economic stimulus.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:20 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Punishing children for something they had no control over is despicable.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:26 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tyllwin: They need to understand that the immigrants are fellow victims, not the enemy. Automatically dismissing them as racists doesn't further that end.

You're correct in identying that at its heart there is significant hetero/xenophobia in the issue - "look at this other, moving into my place. Now my place also has this other, and is not like it was before! It is different! Make it un-different!". But the current DISCUSSION and the laws emanating from that discussion are racist/motivated by racism.

AZRacists/Racist in general wouldn't be thrilled by lily-white europeans moving in, but they wouldn't react like they have to Latina immigration. And I'm not just speculating here: There are 50,000 thousand illegal Irish in America. A very prominent endorser, supporter and pusher-for-passage of the Arizona Immigration Law's opinion on Illegal Irish? Amnesty! Because they work hard.

Although, to be fair, he used to like reasonable immigration reform before running for re-election caused him to catch the No-Hispanic Flu. Racism is very contagious. I always make sure to wear protective gear.
posted by Chipmazing at 10:26 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


being naturally buoyant, babies actually make really terrible anchors.

That's why you feed them the lead paint!
posted by nomisxid at 10:33 AM on August 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


Immigrants come here for jobs. That's true for the vast, vast majority of them. There are undoubtedly some who cross the border to make sure that their kids are US Citizens, but it's a tiny fraction. If you want to stop illegal immigration you tackle jobs. Everything else is electoral pandering.

Frankly, I think that you could make a reasonable case that children born in the US of people who are here illegally shouldn't get automatic citizenship (I also think that the Presidency should be open to all citizens, not just those born here). I just think it's pretty pointless and very, very hard to enforce without a big ol' oppressive government poking its nose into everything (and not that easy to enforce even then). It's also worth noting that a non-trivial percentage of illegals actually entered the country legally and then overstayed a work or travel visa, so it is possible for the child of illegals to have been born when one or both parents were technically legal. Try sorting that one out.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:34 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


What policy of the right has he "gotten behind?" In other words, what policy has he not agreed with first that he is placating the right with?

Okay, are you asking which right-wing policies that Obama advocates, or which right-wing ones he initially didn't advocate, but later chose to advocate?

Because, at this point, I really can't tell a lick of difference.
posted by The Giant Squid at 10:53 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"'I talked to a retired FBI agent who said that one of the things they were looking at were terrorist cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system. And it appeared they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby. They wouldn't even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life.'"

Man I sure wish governments could hold themselves to this kind of long term planning on a regular basis.
posted by Mitheral at 10:55 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


McCain, on whether we should repeal birthright citizenship: "I support the idea having hearings."
posted by defenestration at 11:04 AM on August 3, 2010


I talked to a retired FBI agent who said that one of the things they were looking at were terrorist cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system. And it appeared they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby. They wouldn't even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life.

I'm sure that retired FBI agent went on to expound on the evils of forcing kittens into jars causing their bones to take on the jar's shape and thus become decorative objects. Then he told a story about this escaped killer who had a hook for a hand...
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:06 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


idea *of* having hearings, rather. D'oh.
posted by defenestration at 11:10 AM on August 3, 2010


And the worst part is, being naturally buoyant, babies actually make really terrible anchors.

You have to weigh them down with chain migration.
posted by MikeMc at 11:12 AM on August 3, 2010


Punishing children for something they had no control over is despicable.

Perhaps. But that isn't how you want to make this argument. By that standard, "rewarding" children for something of which they had no control is irrational.
posted by valkyryn at 11:27 AM on August 3, 2010


A very prominent endorser, supporter and pusher-for-passage of the Arizona Immigration Law's opinion on Illegal Irish? Amnesty!

One of the many strange ironies in all this is that McCain was born in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone and, to eliminate ambiguities, a special panel declared that he was in fact a "natural-born citizen" when he was running for President.
posted by aught at 11:31 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's frightening how these people look at children and see enemies.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:01 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's frightening how these people look at children and see enemies.

No, they don't. Look at how they view children they like (ostensibly) when they try to fight abortion: they don't see children as enemies, but as pawns in a game. They invoke children when and where they choose, for the sake of the game.

And, as you know, pawns are meant to be sacrificed.
posted by grubi at 12:04 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


One more thing. Whenever I hear "anchor baby" I think "Santa baby".

Anchor Baby
Just place a green card under the tree for me
I've been a pretty good boy
Anchor Baby, hurry up and be born tonight (be boop, be boop be doop)

Anchor Baby
I want to stay and right now that's not okay
Been working hard all my life
Anchor Baby, just be born in the ol' USA

Think of all the fun I forewent
Picking fruits and vegetables to pay the rent
I really do believe in you
Just try to convince the GOP (be boop be doop)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:09 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rushdie, Salman, Midnight's Children. London: Penguin, 1991.

on p. 325 one of the characters talks about going on tours of US Navy ships anchored (sic) in the port of Bombay as a child, and of "the embarrassment of being in the company of dozens of highly pregnant ladies" all of whom were hoping to go into labour and deliver on the ship, thus granting their newborn US citizenship.
posted by djfiander at 12:24 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


the embarrassment of being in the company of dozens of highly pregnant ladies" all of whom were hoping to go into labour and deliver on the ship, thus granting their newborn US citizenship.

It's almost as if we're asking them to bring us their poor, tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free...
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:55 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


If nothing else, this seems like demographic wrongheadedness on the Republican's part. I don't think a constitutional change is likely, so this just turns off more immigrants to their party

Right now illegal immigration is a white hot passion among certain demographics-- equal to abortion. Just like abortion, this could be the spark that pushes otherwise apathetic people to the polls. If the Republicans play their cards just right-- keep pushing the menace of the illegal but don't actually get any laws passed to slow their numbers-- then this will continue to pay off in good results for the Republican candidates in years to come. I see you are all banking on a bigger percentage of Hispanic citizens in this country to change the game, but I wouldn't count on that if I were you; people in power tend to hang onto power by hook or by crook-- the more power they have, the less likely they will lose it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:00 PM on August 3, 2010


Reid: "They've either taken leave of their senses or their principles."
posted by defenestration at 1:05 PM on August 3, 2010


For a party that is supposedly winning, they sure do run a lot of stupid desperation plays, no?
posted by Ironmouth at 1:13 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


We must stop the creeping menace of new babies being born American!

Unless the Liberal (so-called) "Constitution" is stopped, AMERICA MAY SOON BE LITERALLY CRAWLING WITH DANGEROUS BABIES WHOSE PARENTS AREN'T AMERICAN!

Will no one stand up for America and do the right thing and declare war on babies? STAND UP FOR AMERICA! BE AN AMERICAN (UNLESS YOU'RE A BABY)!

/hamburger
posted by saulgoodman at 1:16 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reid: "They've either taken leave of their senses or their principles."

Sigh. That fact that Reid doesn't take it as a given that his opponents have abandoned all principles is part of the reason the minority party has been kicking his ass all over the Senate floor the last year and a half. Or maybe he's just being disingenuous, but that usually doesn't play well on the national stage either.
posted by aught at 1:16 PM on August 3, 2010


"My ancestors didn't travel three thousand miles from Ireland just to have the country overrun by a bunch of immigrants." -- Stephen Colbert
posted by JackFlash at 1:49 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


This alignment of corporate/industrial/financial power with dog-whistle racebaiting under the aegis of a fervently nationalist political movement is completely unprecedented and will probably end very well!
posted by Mister_A at 2:25 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is also unprecedented that this should happen in a country facing serious economic straits after expending much of its wealth in military misadventures. SRSLY this is new ground we're on here!
posted by Mister_A at 2:30 PM on August 3, 2010


classist and racist: it's an anti-immigrant version of the black slur : TAR BABY

Ah. That's what was in the back of my head all day. I forgot about song of the south too.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:43 PM on August 3, 2010


Sigh. That fact that Reid doesn't take it as a given that his opponents have abandoned all principles is part of the reason the minority party has been kicking his ass all over the Senate floor the last year and a half

Which Senate you talking about? Seriously, he's been kicking ass. (1) Stimulus package; (2) Health Care reform (Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton all failed); (3) Wall Street reform; (4) Sotomayor confirmation; (5) Kagan confirmation.

Seriously, he's getting the job done. Please look at the scoreboard. The points are on the board.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:50 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not to mention that for most Americans here, we got our citizenship through being born in the US. Simple as that.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:52 PM on August 3, 2010


Revoking a 142-year-old plank of the constitution to create a generation of stateless people is not conservative, it is radical.

Not only radical, but it's a wee-bit historically near-sighted. Didn't the Republicans force the 14th Amendment on the nation in the first place? I can't wait until they blame the Dems for it.
posted by Hylas at 5:17 PM on August 3, 2010


Pope Guilty, I apologize to you and the other commentators because I doubt that I will be able to read all the comments between yours and my response.

That said, for years I had related thoughts about some particular politician personally drawing absurd reactions from the right wing. Specifically, I thought that for whatever reason, the right wing's over-the-top reaction to Hillary Clinton meant that she would face obstacles to governing effectively that other major candidates would not face.

Having held that opinion years ago, and then watching the right's behavior regarding Obama, that shows me that I was wrong. The right wing is going to froth irrationally at anyone that doesn't come from their club. I don't see it as a reaction to the person's own self any more.

Is there something that you can point to that would dissuade me? Examples of racism seem unlikely to do it. If it was Clinton it would have been sexism or lesbian innuendo.

All that said, I'm proud of our President and most of what he's accomplished. And despite the few areas that I'm disappointed in really hurting, they don't overwhelm my assessment. So, I am still proud of our President, but I do see that one of my reasons for thinking he would do better than Clinton was false. It wasn't that HRC that drove them crazy, they were already crazy.
posted by NortonDC at 6:35 PM on August 3, 2010


"Which Senate you talking about? Seriously, he's been kicking ass. (1) Stimulus package; (2) Health Care reform (Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton all failed); (3) Wall Street reform; (4) Sotomayor confirmation; (5) Kagan confirmation."

C'mon now. A towel dabbed with my ball sweat could have gotten Sotomayor and Kagan through a Dem senate—they're moderate moderates with no real offensive records. The stimulus package and health care reform were both so watered-down, you'd think they'd be interrogated at Gitmo. And the Wall Street reform did nothing to rein in the very abuses that necessitated the Wall Street reform.

Reid has sucked less than last term, but he's still Caspar Milquetoast.
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


My wife (Japanese) and I (American) have seriously discussed the idea of trying to make sure any potential children of ours would be born in the States, rather than Japan. Since we haven't really made any strong attempts at the first part (offspring), the discussion hasn't gone all that far.

As for the tax thing, citizens living abroad have a foreign earned income tax credit of up to $92,000, although it tends to go up a little every year. Any income you make under that limit is treated as if you had no income, and do not need to pay taxes. Sadly, I'm no where near that limit, nor am I likely to be any time soon, unless the lottery works out for me.

Also, as a nice little bonus, Americans filing abroad have until June 15th to send their taxes in. It's not really all that burdensome, especially if you've got nothing in the States to be taxed on. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes once a year, and you're done. In terms of hurdles to retaining a U.S. passport, it's really not that hard.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:06 AM on August 4, 2010


Not to mention that for most Americans here, we got our citizenship through being born in the US. Simple as that.

That's what we do to respond to the right-wing when the individuals say "Just because you're born here doesn't mean you should be a citizen." Answer with "Oh? And how'd you get your citizenship?"
posted by grubi at 10:30 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


NortonDC, I'm not the biggest fan of Obama, but he's so far fulfilled the criteria I use to decide who to vote for: he's kept a Republican out of the White House.

The way that conservatives shit their pants about him is gravy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:40 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


health care reform were both so watered-down

The fact that even that made it through is a minor miracle. A little perspective, please.
posted by grubi at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2010


It's unicorns all the way down!
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2010


Some add'l links a week later:

The Nation covers the topic.

Conservative immigration reform advocate criticizes the "birthright citizenship" furor in NRO.

Washington Post article on Asian immigrants paying to have children born in U.S. that got McConnell and Graham worked up.

Rep. Gutierrez thinks Democrats should call the Republicans' bluff

posted by aught at 1:28 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rhode Island Democratic Lawmaker Goes After ‘Anchor Embryos’
posted by homunculus at 1:16 PM on August 24, 2010


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