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McCain supports congressional hearings on birthright citizenship, Mike Huckabee approves

posted at 9:33 am on August 4, 2010 by

And now for a scrupulously-worded statement from John McCain on reviewing the 14th amendment:

Congressional hearings are always warranted when member of Congress raise the issue of amending our Constitution. Our Founding Fathers intentionally made the process of amending our Constitution extremely difficult. I believe that the Constitution is a strong, complete and carefully crafted document that has successfully governed our nation for centuries and any proposal to amend the Constitution should receive extensive and thoughtful consideration. Immediate and full implementation of the McCain-Kyl 10-Point Border Security plan will assist in addressing concerns associated with this issue.

Politico reports that McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) are but two more Senators joining a growing number of other lawmakers intent on review, including Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

McCain’s judicious remarks are reasonable, right?  Unless, of course, this is pure posturing—cautious maneuvering around a rather contentious issue during election season.  BFF peer pressure, perhaps?

“I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here,” Graham said during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake …  We should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen.”

While I agree that the issue of birthright citizenship should be addressed to protect the legal immigration process from exploitation, this new hardline approach to immigration policy from two staunch supporters of amnesty certainly smacks of revisionism and political expediency.  What else could possibly be compelling them to touch this particular issue which Congress has previously been reluctant to tackle? Wait

Blast from the past:

Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens, according to his top immigration surrogate – a radical step no other major presidential candidate has embraced.

Mr. Huckabee, who won last week’s Republican Iowa caucuses, promised Minuteman Project founder James Gilchrist that he would force a test case to the Supreme Court to challenge birthright citizenship, and would push Congress to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to remove any doubt.

Let’s be honest:  Huckabee’s the one pulling the strings around here, isn’t he?

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The 14th Amendment birth right should have never been in the Constitution. It was ripe for abuse from the beginning. Yes the slaves, then freedmen had to be allowed to immediately obtain citizenship, but the need for such a broad remedy was unwarranted.

No other country I am aware of let someone get off a plane, give birth and become an immediate citizen of the country landed in … It’s absurd.

tarpon on August 4, 2010 at 9:52 AM

No mention of McCain’s mistress bringing this up? Graham must feel so used…

MadisonConservative on August 4, 2010 at 10:16 AM

McCains stance on anything conservative expires August 24th, the day of the Republican primary here.

Jeff2161 on August 4, 2010 at 10:34 AM

This is such a waste of time; this isn’t going to go anywhere. What’s next? A review of the whole prayer in school debate? What other hot topic issue can we dredge up to make him sound conservative?

Hey McCain? You don’t have to pretend. Your supporters are that stupid. They know you don’t stand for anything but saving your own a**; they’re going to vote for you anyway! Stop lying. It makes you sound like an imbecile. Just be the same backstabbing skunk you always were, get back in office and become Mavericky Maverick McMaverick again. You can tell the bigots to shut up, get a rear end smooching from Chris Matthews, and help Barrack Obama put 30 million new voters on the Democrat rolls. Best part? Conservative Icon Sarah Palin is helping you do it! I can’t wait for the spin on this one! Go McCain! Let the GOP have it. Pork away, pal! F*ck ‘em blue.

austinnelly on August 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM

McCain supports congressional hearings on birthright citizenship, Mike Huckabee approves

Leave it to the GOP to attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of impending victory.

Let’s be honest: Huckabee’s the one pulling the strings around here, isn’t he?

As you seem to indicate, this is likely a reactionary response by McCain to Huckabee’s position.

We should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen.”

It’s the child’s fault the parents chose to enter the country illegally?

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Hmmmm.

Frankly I think they’re doing this to get in front of the wave, take control of it, burn up all of the oxygen … and then announce the whole thing is a failure and stain it so badly that nobody will want to touch the concept for years to come.

Good faith effort on their part? Don’t make me laugh.

memomachine on August 4, 2010 at 11:23 AM

The 14th Amendment birth right should have never been in the Constitution. It was ripe for abuse from the beginning. Yes the slaves, then freedmen had to be allowed to immediately obtain citizenship, but the need for such a broad remedy was unwarranted.

Jus soli citizenship is a product of our English common law foundation as is the Constitution itself.

The 14th Amendment is merely an affirmation of jus soli citizenship, as up to the time of its adoption, it was only granted to certain individuals.

No other country I am aware of let someone get off a plane, give birth and become an immediate citizen of the country landed in … It’s absurd.
tarpon on August 4, 2010 at 9:52 AM

The person giving birth does not become an immediate citizen. The child does.

Here is a list of countries that have jus soli citizenship.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Hmmmm.

“It’s the child’s fault the parents chose to enter the country illegally?”

So children can benefit from crimes committed by the parents?

Well then if someone robs a bank and then hands the cash over to their kids then it’s all good right? The kids can hang onto the cash right?

And yes it is the same damn thing. Just the cost of a public education to age 18 is worth at least $100,000 even in the states with the lowest per student cost. In a state like NJ where the cost is around $12k per student that comes out to $144k.

And that doesn’t include other programs like SCHIP, welfare, supplemental programs or other forms of taxpayer funded programs.

memomachine on August 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM

As you seem to indicate, this is likely a reactionary response by McCain to Huckabee’s position.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Huckabee “pulling the strings” was a joke. :) After reading various statements, I dredged up his ’08 remarks which I think plenty of people balked at then, if I’m not mistaken. As it’s all likely political play, I don’t take any of this too seriously…unless it actually happens and real reform (read: deportation, closing borders, streamlining legal immigration for those who honor laws) occurs in the process.

Bee on August 4, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Here is a list of countries that have jus soli citizenship.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

That’s not an encouraging list. I certainly wouldn’t be looking to any of those countries for guidance.

I’ve already said that I think this is a bad idea, and I mostly mean that politically. This will give opponents a way to make a more sincere claim that the GOP is anti-immigrant, rather than just anti-illegal immigrant.

I agree that it’s a bad loophole that’s frequently abused and should be reconsidered in some way, but I’m hoping he misspoke and instead meant that they will “not automatically” become citizens instead, as I wonder what this will mean for all born in the US. When it comes to actually implementing this law, what will it mean in practice? New forms to fill out after giving birth or something a bit more drastic? And will this mean that women will have to prove citizenship before or immediately after giving birth? I realize the bath water’s filthy, but I’m not interested in throwing the baby out with it.

I personally believe this will be worth tackling at some point, but I don’t trust either of them (in general but especially on this issue) and would rather we instead focus first and foremost on the illegals. We’re constantly hearing that there are too many to deport, and maybe that’s true, but it still makes more sense to try and deal with them (most of whom come for jobs, not to have children) before trying all of these other things, as controversy like this might make it more difficult to enforce existing law.

Esthier on August 4, 2010 at 12:40 PM

So children can benefit from crimes committed by the parents?

Conversely, so children can be prosecuted for crimes committed by the parents?

Well then if someone robs a bank and then hands the cash over to their kids then it’s all good right? The kids can hang onto the cash right?

Of course not.

However, your question seems to imply the child can be prosecuted for the parent robbing the bank and handing the cash over to the child.

And yes it is the same damn thing.

Being born is the same as committing a crime?

Just the cost of a public education to age 18 is worth at least $100,000 even in the states with the lowest per student cost. In a state like NJ where the cost is around $12k per student that comes out to $144k.

We are in agreement that raising a child is expensive for both the parents and public.

Should we stop having children because it costs too much to raise them?

And that doesn’t include other programs like SCHIP, welfare, supplemental programs or other forms of taxpayer funded programs.
memomachine on August 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM

You seem to be implying all children of all illegal immigrants are recipients of SCHIP, supplemental programs or other forms of taxpayer funded programs.

If one child of illegal immigrants does not receive these benefits, then what do we do about that child?

What is the chance the child becomes a future taxpaying citizen if this child is granted citizenship upon birth? Conversely, what is the chance the child becomes a future taxpaying citizen if this child is not granted citizenship upon birth?

My suspicion is the chance is greater in the case of the former than it is in the case of the latter.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Huckabee “pulling the strings” was a joke. After reading various statements, I dredged up his ‘08 remarks which I think plenty of people balked at then, if I’m not mistaken. As it’s all likely political play, I don’t take any of this too seriously…unless it actually happens and real reform (read: deportation, closing borders, streamlining legal immigration for those who honor laws) occurs in the process.
Bee on August 4, 2010 at 12:04 PM

I agree it is probably a case of style over substance.

I disagree on deportation. It would be a modern version of the Trail of Tears, without considering the enormous costs associated with doing so.

Securing the border is a problem, just not convinced a fence is the best way to solve the problem. That being said, I am not convinced it is not a solution either.

I do think if this country would make immigrating legally for work purposes a little easier, the illegal immigration problem might subside.

Here is an article that discusses the problem of work visas that gives some insight as to why most illegal immigrants do not bother coming here through legal channels.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 1:07 PM

That’s not an encouraging list. I certainly wouldn’t be looking to any of those countries for guidance.

Agreed, of course, with the exception of Canada.

I’ve already said that I think this is a bad idea, and I mostly mean that politically. This will give opponents a way to make a more sincere claim that the GOP is anti-immigrant, rather than just anti-illegal immigrant.

Indeed, but why just politically? These are individuals that have to be dealt with.

I agree that it’s a bad loophole that’s frequently abused and should be reconsidered in some way, but I’m hoping he misspoke and instead meant that they will “not automatically” become citizens instead, as I wonder what this will mean for all born in the US. When it comes to actually implementing this law, what will it mean in practice? New forms to fill out after giving birth or something a bit more drastic? And will this mean that women will have to prove citizenship before or immediately after giving birth? I realize the bath water’s filthy, but I’m not interested in throwing the baby out with it.

Indeed. You have identified many of unintended consequences of such an amendment.

I personally believe this will be worth tackling at some point, but I don’t trust either of them (in general but especially on this issue) and would rather we instead focus first and foremost on the illegals. We’re constantly hearing that there are too many to deport, and maybe that’s true, but it still makes more sense to try and deal with them (most of whom come for jobs, not to have children) before trying all of these other things, as controversy like this might make it more difficult to enforce existing law.

My suspicion is that the ones that do come here for jobs want to stay permanently, the others, not so much.

It seems the only means of dealing with this problem head on is to grant some form of temporary amnesty, under the condition that those who do not choose amnesty must leave (i.e. deported), and those that do choose amnesty must provide proof that they are not breaking other laws before being allowed to stay.

Of course, something must be done to keep this problem from continually occurring in the future as well.

I have to sign off here temporarily. I will come back later to view your (and Bees’) responses later.

As always, thank you (and Bee) for your civility in discussing this.

Civility seems to be fading away at this site. One can always count on you two to maintain it, even in disagreements.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Agreed, of course, with the exception of Canada.

You can except Canada. I personally wouldn’t. It’s not that it’s a bad country. It’s just not one that I think has done much of anything worth emulating.

But if I’m honest, I’d probably say that about most countries. There are very few places I think I’d enjoy living besides America. It’s a wonderful place, and I understand why people want to live here, even if it means breaking the law to do so.

Indeed, but why just politically? These are individuals that have to be dealt with.

I’m not sure we feel the same about that. McCain and Graham are pandering. They’ll also push for amnesty if possible.

My suspicion is that the ones that do come here for jobs want to stay permanently, the others, not so much.

I’m not sure I’m following you. The ones who come here for jobs, just need money. The trend, at least in border states, is to come here, work and live like sardines in tiny apartments with others who are similarly situated, send money back home, then go back “home” when you’ve saved enough only to start the whole process over again when necessary.

The people who come here for work very often don’t even want to be Americans.

It seems the only means of dealing with this problem head on is to grant some form of temporary amnesty, under the condition that those who do not choose amnesty must leave (i.e. deported), and those that do choose amnesty must provide proof that they are not breaking other laws before being allowed to stay.

I’m tempted to like this solution, but I’m not sure I believe it’ll be effective. We’ve already given people legal ways to be here, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing anything about those who decide not to take that path. What would change?

I understand that we find it a better solution to simply grant some form of amnesty, but my fear is that if we do that before making sure our borders (and green cards and visas, not all walk across the border to get here illegally) are secure, we’re only creating an incentive for more to break our laws in getting here, as they’ll be given a reason to believe that if they just wait it out, we’ll grant them amnesty as well.

Civility seems to be fading away at this site. One can always count on you two to maintain it, even in disagreements.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 1:27 PM

It is, and that’s regrettable. But it makes the civility that much more appreciated when it happens. Thanks.

Esthier on August 4, 2010 at 2:05 PM

No other country I am aware of let someone get off a plane, give birth and become an immediate citizen of the country landed in … It’s absurd.

I think the UK does that, too.

YehuditTX on August 4, 2010 at 2:41 PM

No other country I am aware of let someone get off a plane, give birth and become an immediate citizen of the country landed in … It’s absurd.

I think the UK does that, too.

YehuditTX on August 4, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Yep. And just look at the mess that’s gotten them in…

Dark-Star on August 4, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Here is a list of countries that have jus soli citizenship.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Your link doesn’t work.

Yep. And just look at the mess that’s gotten them in…

Dark-Star on August 4, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Yup.

Although I may be wrong, re: rukiddingme’s link. maybe it’s just the newborns who get immediate citizenship, like here. But still….there’s a possible future for us.

YehuditTX on August 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I think the UK does that, too.

YehuditTX on August 4, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Not according to the link rukiddingme posted (it worked for me earlier but isn’t working now for some reason).

According to the list, no EU countries do it. And with the exception of Canada, I don’t remember if any of them were even fully developed countries.

Esthier on August 4, 2010 at 3:33 PM

As always, thank you (and Bee) for your civility in discussing this.

Civility seems to be fading away at this site. One can always count on you two to maintain it, even in disagreements.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 1:27 PM

I appreciate you saying that, although I can’t promise all my interactions here have been entirely gracious. I’ve gotten pretty pissed and opened my “mouth” too many times. But, thank you nonetheless.
Apologies for not addressing your response to me yet…I’ve been busy with kid issues today. :)

Bee on August 4, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Your link doesn’t work.

YehuditTX on August 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Sorry, it was working earlier. Here is the list in a different order than what the link had.

Jus soli is observed in 16% of the world, the United States being the largest practitioner.

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]

Interestingly enough, the UK is not on the list, as they have moved away from jus soli citizenship.

I am not aware of any of the countries listed giving immediate citizenship to the parents, only the child.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 4:29 PM

I’m not sure I’m following you. The ones who come here for jobs, just need money. The trend, at least in border states, is to come here, work and live like sardines in tiny apartments with others who are similarly situated, send money back home, then go back “home” when you’ve saved enough only to start the whole process over again when necessary.

Anecdotally speaking, the ones I know (I am here in Texas as well) are here because they want to work and they want to stay. They do not go home at the risk of being caught upon return, but they do send money back to help support their relatives.

They want to become citizens, they want to pay taxes, and some have learned English so well, that just by talking to them, you would not know they were illegal immigrants. They have managed to integrate themselves into the society that you and I enjoy. The lone problem being that, how every many years ago, they risked their lives coming across the border and did so illegally.

Of course not all illegal immigrants are like this, but that is what led to the statement that my suspicion is most want to stay because of the jobs. I could be completely wrong and all the other illegal immigrants that I do not know may not have any of these qualities.

Or some of them could be like the ones I know, and then the question becomes, what do we do about them?

And then there is this:

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

There was a time not too long ago when America accepted anyone willing to get here. Granted the world is a different place today than it was then, but the fact remains that this is the best country on the face of the planet. It seems somewhat arrogant of us that are here to make it as difficult as possible to those that want to come here.

My opinion, of course.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 5:11 PM

I appreciate you saying that, although I can’t promise all my interactions here have been entirely gracious. I’ve gotten pretty pissed and opened my “mouth” too many times. But, thank you nonetheless.

There is no problem with having to get ugly with one that has gotten ugly with you first. After all we are only human.

My point here was that all too often someone will hurl a personal insult just because they disagree with another commenter.

I have never seen either of the two of you do that and I have been reading this site from it’s inception.

Oftentimes that is not what gets practiced here. I can not count the number of times someone has called someone else a childish name strictly on the basis of disagreeing.

Sometimes it is simply okay to agree to disagree.

Apologies for not addressing your response to me yet…I’ve been busy with kid issues today.

Bee on August 4, 2010 at 4:21 PM

No apology necessary. I am going to have to sign out for the same reasons.

Apology to you for dominating this thread. It surely was not the intention.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 5:28 PM

The person giving birth does not become an immediate citizen. The child does.

Here is a list of countries that have jus soli citizenship.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Well, that could also be a problem. The Maternity Tourism to the US is on the rise. Moms come here from abroad just to have their babies. The stay is a few thousand dollars and after delivery they pack up and leave. The child is a US citizen and the beneficiary of all that entails. Parents will never pay taxes, never invest any part of their lives in the country, but junior will come and get an education on Pell grants etc; just because his mom gave birth in the US. Please tell me why the US taxpayers should have to fund that. It should never be our responsibility. No more anchor babies or Maternity Tourism.

elclynn on August 4, 2010 at 6:02 PM

We are in agreement that raising a child is expensive for both the parents and public.

Should we stop having children because it costs too much to raise them?

Another strawman argument. It isn’t the cost of raising one’s children that is the problem. It is the cost to the states which provide additional support for the Illegals to raise their children here that is the problem. Funding schools, healthcare faciilities, social programs are all taxpayer paid. Most criminal entrants are not paying the taxes that support those institutions and programs but they are using them to the detriment of US citizens.

elclynn on August 4, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Well, that could also be a problem. The Maternity Tourism to the US is on the rise. Moms come here from abroad just to have their babies. The stay is a few thousand dollars and after delivery they pack up and leave.

What is the end result of this?

At a minimum, the US business receives income and the US government receives taxes from the business income. In return, the parents obtain citizenship for the child.

The income the business receives (used to pay costs such as wages which in turn are taxed), and the taxes the government receives, seem to be reasonably close to the fees a legal immigrant would pay to obtain citizenship.

The child also becomes a potential future taxpaying citizen. The potential is realized upon the child’s return.

I am not seeing the harm. Have I missed something?

The child is a US citizen and the beneficiary of all that entails. Parents will never pay taxes, never invest any part of their lives in the country, but junior will come and get an education on Pell grants etc; just because his mom gave birth in the US. Please tell me why the US taxpayers should have to fund that. It should never be our responsibility. No more anchor babies or Maternity Tourism.
elclynn on August 4, 2010 at 6:02 PM

You seem to be assuming the child (or the child’s parents) would be unable to pay for the higher education upon the child’s return.

If the child (and/or parents) are able to pay for said higher education your objection ceases to exist. Some will fall into this category. What to do about them?

If the child (or parents) are not unable to pay, would there not be a high probability that after obtaining the education and having tasted freedom, the child stays here, becomes a productive citizen, and becomes a future taxpayer, as do all descendents of same?

Another strawman argument. It isn’t the cost of raising one’s children that is the problem. It is the cost to the states which provide additional support for the Illegals to raise their children here that is the problem. Funding schools, healthcare faciilities, social programs are all taxpayer paid. Most criminal entrants are not paying the taxes that support those institutions and programs but they are using them to the detriment of US citizens.
elclynn on August 4, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Good points that are all easily remedied by having them become citizens and paying taxes to offset these costs.

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 9:38 PM

If the child (or parents) are not unable to pay,

Oops!

rukiddingme on August 4, 2010 at 9:40 PM