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Monday, February 07, 2011

Arizona prepares bill abolishing 14th Amendment

PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers give their first hearing Monday to a bill that challenges automatic U.S. citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, the state's latest foray into the national debate over illegal immigration.

The bill to be heard Monday by the Senate judiciary committee seeks a court interpretation on an element of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to people born in the U.S. who are "subject to the jurisdiction" of this country.

Supporters of the bill the amendment doesn't apply to the children of illegal immigrants because such families don't owe sole allegiance to the U.S.

The bill's sponsors say the goal is to force a court to rule that a child born in the U.S. is a citizen only if either parent is a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant. Similar proposals have been introduced by lawmakers in Indiana , Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Read the rest here

Sorry. I am sympathetic with the basic complaint. But the Constitution is crystal clear.
14th Amendment: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Pretending the Constitution means something different than its plain English meaning is what liberals do. It is a slippery slope. If you don't like part of the Constitution then amend it. This bill is so blatantly unconstitutional it should be laughed out of court and every legislator who votes for it should be fined for violating their oath of office and wasting the court's time.

9 comments:

The Anti-Gnostic said...

You are missing a crucial phrase: "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof."

Persons who are subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign sovereign--immigrants both legal and illegal--are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of a State or the United States. There is no birthright citizenship; it's just judicial whole cloth. The 14th Amendment only naturalized the now-freed slaves as citizens, as the ratification debate makes clear.

In a similar vein, there is no constitutional grant of authority over immigration to the US government, and from the 1780's to the 1850's, the States regulated immigration into their respective territories. Then, hey presto, the Supreme Court decided otherwise--another act of pure judicial fiat.

So in summary, under the US Constitution there is no such thing as birthright citizenship and the federal government has no authority to regulate immigration into the several States.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Persons who are subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign sovereign--immigrants both legal and illegal--are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of a State or the United States.

Persons born in the United States are not subject to a foreign jurisdiction. And anyone residing in the United States is subject to our legal jurisdiction.

There is no birthright citizenship; it's just judicial whole cloth. The 14th Amendment only naturalized the now-freed slaves as citizens, as the ratification debate makes clear.

Unfortunately the language of the 14th amendment clearly says otherwise. A basic tenet of law is that one cannot ignore plain legislative language in an effort to read into it what one will.

Agree or not, in the United States the Supreme Court has the final word on the law.

David Garner said...

If illegal immigrants are not subject to our Constitution, what shall we do with all the illegal prosecutions of them when they commit crimes?

Yes, this bill is wrong-headed. And I'm not any kind of fan of illegal immigration.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

John - your argument is bootstrapping. If the German ambassador's wife goes into labor and delivers her baby in the US do you seriously think the German government would lose jurisdiction over the child?

David - deport them. And give some thought to whom you allow in.

Steve Hayes said...

The people who are seeking to make these unconstitutional amendments are liberals?

Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

Heracleides said...

Bill stayed in committe awaiting modifications to make it go down easier with the liberal wankers infesting Maricopa county.

Chris Jones said...

Father Deacon,

No, those who are proposing this unconstitutional law are not "liberals." What John was doing was highlighting an irony: in the United States it is usually the liberals who have a "flexible" attitude towards the Constitution and interpret it so as to find their policy preferences in it. It is usually the conservatives who claim to be "strict constructionist" and follow the literal meaning of the Constitution. John finds it highly ironic that folks who consider themselves conservative are "pretending the Constitution means something different that its plain English meaning." So do I.

I don't envy you trying to sort out, from another country, what "left" and "right", "liberal" and "conservative", have come to mean in the United States. It doesn't actually make a lot of sense to us either.

Fr. Yousuf said...

There was some debate about the status of seceded states at the end of the Civil War. I believe that Lincoln, had he lived, was determined to treat secession as null and void, thus the Confederate states would have been seen as still states of the United States. Reconstruction took a different path, actually to recognize secession, and force seceded states to be re-admitted to the Union. That debate was going on before and during the adoption of the 14th amendment.

I would bet that “original intent” of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means to apply it throughout the South, whether or not the states were deemed to have actually left the Union or not, and to the Western territories (now states) as well.

Diplomatic staff are defined by treaty law and are explicitly not subject to the jurisdiction in the same way. Isn't there some bad will in DC and NY city about diplomatic cars that routinely illegally park? Because, hey, … they can. As in, the municipalities can give out parking tickets, but the fines and penalties are not enforceable on vehicles “not subject to the jurisdiction”. Introducing diplomatic staff in this context is a stinking red herring.

If illegal immigrants are not subject to the laws of these United States, than when they break the law, no matter how serious or heinous the crime, the only prosecution can be immigration status, and the only penalty deportation. Imagine if Jeffrey Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh were illegal immigrants … and upon being apprehended were merely deported to Mexico or Canada. Absurd.

The United States has an immigration policy that “we the people” do not have the political will to enforce, nor the political will to change to something we will enforce. Arizona has a legitimate grievance from this national failure. In fact its size and the length of the border probably mean Arizona is hit more strongly than any other state. (California is so much larger and has so many other issues, New Mexico has very little actual border, and Texas has both a river barrier, (a little easier to enforce than a line through the desert) and like California is much larger.

John is quite right, this smacks of exactly the sort of fast and loose reading of the Constitution that the Right is supposed to be against in principle. Weakening the rule of law to enforce immigration law is cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Fr Yousuf Rassam

David Garner said...

David - deport them.

Since deportation is a legal proceeding, wouldn't that require the deporting entity to have jurisdiction over the person to be deported?

I agree about being careful who we allow in, and I agree with reasonable efforts to stop illegal immigration (for example, the prior Arizona law that actually enforces the law as to illegal immigrants is fine by me). My issue here is the same as John's -- you can't change what the Constitution says to suit your whims. The Constitution says if you are born here (since being in the country subjects you to our territorial jurisdiction), you are a citizen. If we don't like that, our charge is to change the Constitution, not pretend it says something we like better.