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Amending The Constitution To Deny Citizenship To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants Born In The U.S.: Left of Center View

Should we amend the Constitution to deny citizenship to children of undocumented workers born in the U.S.? This may surprise you coming from an old hippie, but I actually think it is about time we updated that part of our Constitution.

We have way too many laws still on the book from back in the day when they made sense. In Kentucky you have to bathe at least once a year or the Philadelphia pretzel act of 1760 that makes it illegal to put pretzels in bags, heck the Louisiana state house of Representatives just recently got around to fixing a ceiling on haircuts for bald men at 25 cents. The list of absurd laws and statutes goes on and on: a California law passed in 1925 makes it illegal to wiggle while dancing and in Utah daylight must be visible between dancing couples, guess they have to hold the prom in the afternoon to comply with that one. Michigan the state where married couples must live together or be imprisoned (insert your own marriage joke here) and in Massachusetts, it is against the law to put tomatoes in clam chowder.

Sure these are all antiquated and or silly, but the scary thing is that any law still on the books can be enforced. Stops being funny when you have to pay a fine or do some time... What does all this have to do with the question at hand about amending the Constitution? Itís just another example of government being behind the times. The Constitution was meant to be a living document, meaning it was meant to change over the years as the country grew and evolved. The Founding Fathers knew that things would be different a couple hundred years down the line. For example when being born on U.S. soil was put in as enough to qualify a person for citizenship, it was a big commitment to get here. There were no trains, planes or automobiles and it was an epic journey to get here. These days you can go into labor in Brussels and deliver in Boise, not saying itís likely to happen, just saying itís possible.

I realize that most of this has very little to do with the issue of immigration and can be seen more as a call to clean up antiquated laws and statutes, mainly because thatís exactly what it is. The immigration issue will continue on and we will have to come up with new and creative ways to meet the challenges presented by an ever growing population. But immigration is just one issue. If we really want to get in there and resolve this and other issues the first step is one backwards, to clean up the legislative mess 200 years of politics has created. Kansas state law: If two trains meet on the same track, neither shall proceed until the other has passed.

Thanks for listening,

Bill


Berkeley Bill - California | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Has The Tone Of The Immigration Debate Become Dangerous?

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Amending The Constitution To Deny Citizenship To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants Born In The U.S.: Right of Center View

Birthright citizenship makes sense if one of your parents is a citizen. If you are born to legal resident aliens or undocumented immigrants it gets a bit fuzzier. Why should someone be a citizen simply because they were born while their parents were on American soil?

In most developed nations, you are not a citizen unless one of your parents is a national. If an American couple has a kid in Great Britain, their kid is an American, not a British citizen. Some countries make exceptions for foreign expatriates living in their country legally but for the most part, if one of your parents is not from that country youíre not a citizen. While this is different in the developing world for reasons of wanting to attract people from developed countries it is more common that citizenship is determined by lineage than location of birth.

When the Founding Fathers wrote our Constitution the land was large and the population was small. There were no economic or political advantages to limiting immigration or citizenship. America had just won its independence from Britain and was still facing multiple military threats. Increasing the population was in the long term interests of the nation. Anything they could do to increase the number of loyal Americans was going to be good for the country.

Fast forward 225 years or so and you have an America looking at high unemployment and overtaxed public resources threatening the standard of living for the vast majority of Americans. Do we need to increase our population for the betterment of the nation? Everyone wants to help people in need but we also need to look after our own interests in order to be able to help others. America is not the land of opportunity for anyone new if we canít take care of the people that are already here.

The answer is to look at the situation objectively and make a decision about whether or not we need to change the rules. What is gained by keeping the rules the same? What would be gained by changing them? For many I think that is what it all comes down to. What is better for the long term health of America? If a constitutional amendment is in the best long term interests of the nation then we should do it.

No sane person wants to legislate bigotry. While some might paint a movement to amend the Constitution as being nationalistic or bigoted that is not what this is about. The debate should be about what the needs of the majority are and how to best serve them. We have grown this nation for over two centuries. At what point do we want to level off and stabilize? What is the optimum number of people for the long term health of our nation? How much population expansion is sustainable given the resources at our disposal? Once we answer those questions we have the answer to whether or not we should amend the Constitution.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Has The Tone Of The Immigration Debate Become Dangerous?

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