Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kris Kobach tries to ruin every state I live in

The newest initiative is a joint effort among lawmakers from states including Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri and Pennsylvania to pass laws based on a single model that would deny American citizenship to children born in those states to illegal immigrants. The legislators were to announce the campaign in Washington on Wednesday.

A leader of that effort is Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican state representative from Pennsylvania. At a recent news conference, Mr. Metcalfe said his goal was to eliminate “an anchor baby status, in which an illegal alien invader comes into our country and has a child on our soil that is granted citizenship automatically.”

The campaign is certain to run into legal obstacles. Courts have interpreted the 14th Amendment as guaranteeing birthright citizenship. Even among those who seek its repeal, debate has hinged on whether that would require a constitutional amendment, an act of Congress or a decision by the Supreme Court.

The newly elected Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is a mover and shaker behind the initiative, and I wish he'd stick to screwing up his own state. I understand concerns about illegal immigration, to some extent, but -- and I'm just going to be unfair here, conservative friends -- I can't help but think the above-described measures indicate that *some* conservatives let their dislike of Latinos override their fidelity to the Constitution -- which has long, long, long been understood to grant citizenship to people born on American soil. It's a lousy measure, which probably means it stands an excellent chance at passage.


Rick Henderson said...

I suppose if the idea behind the initiative is to force the Supreme Court to issue a decision favorable to the proponents, then I can see the point.

But I think the sponsors would be disappointed. The four so-called liberals certainly would say the 14th Amendment defines children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant parents are citizens, as they should. (That's what the amendment says to me.) And my guess is, at least one of the so-called conservatives would either defend the text of the amendment or precedent.

So yeah, this is misguided. A SCOTUS ruling or a new amendment to Constitution would be needed to change things.

Ben said...

I resolve not to get dragged into this argument. At least not today. Maybe Wednesday?