Quotes of the day

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday that he “absolutely” supports ending birthright citizenship, suggesting that has been his position for years. 

“Absolutely. We should end granting automatic birthright citizenship to the children of those who are here illegally,” Cruz, who is running for president, said during an interview with the Michael Medved Show. “That has been my position from the very first day of my running for the Senate.”…

But the Texas Republican, who was himself born in Canada, also sought to galvanize off of Trump’s plan, saying that he has offered “virtually every element” in legislation and that he “led the fight against amnesty” in the Senate.


Jeb Bush doesn’t want birthright citizenship to go away, but he is calling for stronger enforcement for people who abuse it.

“If there’s abuse, if people are bringing — pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement,” Bush said on Bill Bennett’s conservative radio show, “Morning in America” Wednesday. “That’s [the] legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies’, as they’re described, coming into the country.”


Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, also speaking on the Michael Medved Show Wednesday, said, “Just because someone was born here doesn’t — even under the 14th amendment doesn’t necessarily mean that they have rights to citizenship.”…

Lindsay Graham, one of Trump’s harshest critics in the presidential race, said Trump’s platform might be “gibberish” but that the pair could actually agree on the specific issue. Floridians Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio opposed a repeal of the 14th Amendment right.

The candidate most in the crosshairs after Trump’s comment may however be Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who labeled the debate among Republicans over birthright citizenship a “stumbling block” Wednesday and asserted firmly that anyone born in the United States should automatically be a citizen.

“This has been a long tradition in America. Let’s keep it as it is, and let’s move beyond it,” he told reporters after appearing at the Education Summit in Londonderry, New Hampshire.


Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina thinks everyone should have to take the American citizenship test. “I worry that we are no longer educating citizens,” Fiorina said Wednesday during the New Hampshire Education Summit. “I think it would be a good idea, actually, if everyone had to take the citizenship test that those who are working hard to earn the privilege of citizenship take. We need to be a citizen government, it is what makes us unique. But we cannot be a successful citizen government if people don’t have common ground in the things that make us a nation.”

It’s worth noting that Fiorina didn’t say that everyone should be required to pass the citizenship test to enjoy the privileges of citizenship, just that they take the test.


Every year, 1 out of 10 births in the United States is now to a mother who is an illegal immigrant.

“Despite the illegal status of the parent, the Executive Branch automatically recognizes these children as U.S. citizens upon birth,” said Jon Feere of the Center for Immigration Studies. “The population of U.S.-born children with illegal alien parents has expanded rapidly in recent years from 2.7 million in 2003 to 4.5 million by 2010.”

Only 30 of the world’s 194 countries grant automatic citizenship, but in advanced economies, Canada and the U.S. are the only countries that grant automatic citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants. No European country has such a policy.

“The global trend is moving away from automatic birthright citizenship as many countries that once had such policies have ended them in recent decades,” Feere says. The main reason is increased illegal immigration. “If the United States were to stop granting automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, it would be following an international trend.”


US judges dispose of minor children every day of the week: it’s called “family court”. The other day, in a custody dispute between a US mother and a German father resident in Monte Carlo, a New York judge ordered the kids – both US citizens – to be dispatched to live with dad in Monaco. When two illegal immigrants are deported back to Guatemala, their six-year-old kid does not have the right to decide he wants to remain in Cedar Rapids. The judge will order that he accompany mom and pop.

And, actually, a case of US-born offspring of persons in the country illegally has never been tested before the Supreme Court. Furthermore, whatever the Constitution says, Trump is right on the merits: Not a single European nation has US-style unconditional birthright citizenship, and no Asian or African nation has it at all.

Australia: at least one parent has to be an Australian citizen or legal resident;

France: at least one parent has to be born in France;

Ireland: at least one parent has to be an Irish or UK citizen, or a permanent resident;

New Zealand: at least one parent has to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

Get the picture? There’s no point to American exceptionalism if it just means exceptionally suicidal.


Critics say that Trump’s plan is unrealistic, that it would require a constitutional amendment because the Fourteenth Amendment mandates birthright citizenship and that the Supreme Court has upheld this requirement ever since its passage in 1868. The critics are wrong. A correct understanding of the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment and legislation passed by Congress in the late 19th century and in 1923 extending citizenship to American Indians provide ample proof that Congress has constitutional power to define who is within the “jurisdiction of the United States” and therefore eligible for citizenship. Simple legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president would be constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment…

Legislation to end birthright citizenship has been circulating in Congress since the mid ’90s and such a bill is circulating in both houses today. It will, of course, not pass Congress, and if it did pass it would be vetoed. But if birthright citizenship becomes an election issue and a Republican is elected president, then who knows what the future might hold. It is difficult to imagine that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment intended to confer the boon of citizenship on the children of illegal aliens when they explicitly denied that boon to Indians who had been born in the United States. Those who defy the laws of the U.S. should not be allowed to confer such an advantage on their children. This would not be visiting the sins of the parents on the children, as is often claimed, since the children of illegal aliens born in the U.S. would not be denied anything to which they otherwise would have a right. Their allegiance should follow that of their parents during their minority. A nation that cannot determine who becomes citizens or believes that it must allow the children of those who defy its laws to become citizens is no longer a sovereign nation. No one is advocating that those who have been granted birthright citizenship be stripped of their citizenship. Equal protection considerations would counsel that citizenship once granted is vested and cannot be revoked; this, I believe, is eminently just. The proposal to end birthright citizenship is prospective only.

Political pundits believe that Trump should not press such divisive issues as immigration and citizenship. It is clear, however, that he has struck a popular chord — and touched an important issue that should be debated no matter how divisive. Both the Republican party and the Democratic party want to avoid the issue because, while both parties advocate some kind of reform, neither party has much interest in curbing illegal immigration: Republicans want cheap and exploitable labor and Democrats want future voters. Who will get the best of the bargain I will leave for others to decide.


[E]very person present in the United States is not presumed to have fealty to the United States, which is what “jurisdiction” means in the Fourteenth Amendment. And it is clearly not the case that every person born in the United States is automatically a citizen pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment: U.S.-born children of foreign diplomats are not; nor are the U.S.-born children of American Indians (they were granted citizenship by an act of Congress in 1924). Given that it is not true that every person born in the United States is an American citizen under the Constitution, how difficult can it be to read the Constitution to not require something it does not require?…

There are many people who believe in robust legal immigration and are open to the notion of some qualified amnesty for some categories of illegal aliens but who nevertheless think it is a terrible idea to grant citizenship automatically to the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens – a policy that can only encourage more illegal immigration. I am not a fan of “comprehensive immigration reform”; but if reform is to be comprehensive, and we are trying to discourage illegal immigration, why would we not address every policy that incentivizes illegal immigration?

If denying birthright citizenship seems like an offensive proposition to some, it can only be because we’ve lost our sense of what citizenship should be – the concept of national allegiance inherent in it. If a couple who are nationals of Egypt enter our country and have a baby while they are here, why is it sensible to presume that child’s allegiance is to the United States rather than Egypt? If the baby of an American couple happened to be born while they were touring Egypt, would we not presume that the child’s allegiance was to the United States?


National Republican strategists warn that catering to the most hard-line voters on immigration in the nominating contest will hurt the party in the general election, as it did the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, who endorsed “self-deportation” for illegal immigrants and attracted historically low Latino support.

“If Republicans want to be competitive in the general election, they have to distance themselves from Trump on both illegal and legal immigration,” said Alfonso Aguilar, an official in George W. Bush’s administration and the executive director of the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership, a conservative group. “His proposal on birthright citizenship is very insulting to Latinos, and every day, this is the top story on Spanish language media. Right now, if the other candidates don’t respond to Trump, Latinos will buy the argument that Republicans agree with him.”


Walker has veered to the right on abortion and other social issues, worrying some top backers. Stanley S. Hubbard, a conservative billionaire who oversees a Minnesota broadcasting company and has donated to Walker’s campaign, said the candidate has promised that he would not push a “social agenda” as president and is simply expressing his personal beliefs when asked…

Hubbard strongly opposes one immigration measure pushed by Trump this week: a call to stop giving citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States. Walker said in an interview Monday that he would support ending birthright citizenship, then said other reforms might make that unnecessary.

Hubbard said that he “might really quickly change my allegiance” if Walker pushed for such a repeal, and that he “did not get a real straight answer” from the candidate at his Tuesday lunch. But Hubbard, who came away ready write more checks to help Walker, added: “I got the feeling that he is not at all anxious to talk about taking away those rights.”


This makes a notable contrast with the typical way that conservatives approach constitutional jurisprudence. Birthright citizenship is in the Constitution, which is usually presented as a quasi-holy writ (if not actually the work of Jesus Christ himself). It is a text that must be interpreted as originally intended by those who wrote it. There can be no adapting this weird and antiquated text to new circumstances, even if large portions of it were written by 18th-century slaveowners…

So if you were dedicated to traditional conservative fetish-worship of the Constitution and suspicion of Old World habits (remember Freedom Fries?), and you also bowed to the universal belief that slavery and Jim Crow were terrible, then it stands to reason that you would think the Fourteenth Amendment was pretty good. If you were concerned with immigration, you might respond that the text is outdated and should be changed — but that’s poles apart from the typical conservative view of the Constitution. Indeed, this is how a liberal would go about arguing for the implementation of, say, the Equal Rights Amendment.

If I didn’t know any better, it’d be pretty easy to believe that xenophobia is behind the desire to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment, and that “originalism” is merely a veneer of historical legitimacy applied to ordinary political opinions that are basically unconcerned with the content of the Constitution. But that can’t be it.


Less offensive, perhaps, but no less realistic is Trump’s support for the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment’s citizenship clause. There are two ways to achieve this: Trump will have to name a whole bunch of SCOTUS judges when he becomes president, and then push a law through both houses of Congress that can withstand the inevitable legal challenge. Or he can push for repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment, which would need the votes of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and support from three-fourths of state legislatures. None of this is ever going to happen.

Many Americans have genuine concerns—I count myself among them—about the preservation of law and order, about the cultural consequences of immigration, about assimilation, and about sovereignty. But today, there is a purity test that demands a voter sign up for the Trump plan or admit he’s an enemy of the state. I imagine when it’s all said and done, most Americans will choose the latter. But the fractures within the Republican Party have been pried apart. Any candidate unwilling to try and keep up with Trump is transformed into a limp-wristed Commie whose primary chances die on the vine. Those who praise Trump’s agenda to placate the base would be annihilated in a general election, forced to defend an absurd menu of statist intrusions and unrealistic policies.

Actually, “the base” is the wrong phrase here. The base is a principled group of philosophically driven party purists. Trumpism is nothing like the Tea Party movement, for instance.  The latter, sometimes naïve, was driven by ideals grounded in traditional American thinking. Trumpism is collective expression of base impulse. And like porn, that sort of thing is equally absurd and destructive.


It’s actually kind of amusing — in a macabre, Goths-approaching-Rome sense — to watch the debate over whether the 14th Amendment does or does not mandate that automatic citizenship be given to children born here to tourists, foreign students, and illegal aliens. Because in this post-rule-of-law stage of our republic’s decay, there’s really only one person in all the land whose opinion matters: Anthony Kennedy. If Justice Kennedy thinks the amendment, and the Wong Kim Ark decision of 1898 (regarding the child of legal residents), applies to them, then a new amendment would be required, which is unlikely. If not, not.

That’s why we might as well pass legislation (or even just take executive action changing State Department and Social Security Administration practice in this regard, since there’s no statutory basis for it), wait for the inevitable lawsuit, and get the issue up to the Supremes as quickly as possible. At least that way, we’ll know one way or the other. Those who claim citizenship for the kids of tourists and illegals is self-evidently mandatory should welcome such a course of action to settle the issue once and for all.



Via the Right Scoop.