McConnell Joins GOP Bigot Parade to Change 14th Amendment
August 3, 2010
(ChattahBox)—It’s now official: bigotry is the new black in conservative politics. Changing the basic premise of the birthright clause of the 14th Amendment to deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, used to be a far-right fringe fantasy of the nativist black helicopter crowd, but no more. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is now calling for a review of the 14th Amendment, as a way to curb illegal immigration. And Republican Sens. John Kyl (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) also support rewriting our Constitution, to satisfy their appeal to bigots as the November elections near. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Republicans and the tea party crowd love to talk about upholding the revered principles of our Constitution, except the parts that they don’t like.
McConnell made his remarks during an interview with The Hill, jumping on board with his colleague Sen. Kyl, calling for Congressional hearings on repealing the birthright clause of the 14th Amendment:
“I think we ought to take a look at it — hold hearings, listen to the experts on it,” McConnell said. “I haven’t made a final decision about it, but that’s something that we clearly need to look at. Regardless of how you feel about the various aspects of immigration reform, I don’t think anybody thinks that’s something they’re comfortable with.”
Sen. Kyl described birthright citizenship, as a “reward” and not a right; an idea that is at odds with the original intent of the 14th Amendment, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, but no matter, there are ignorant, bigoted voters to pander to.
“The 14th Amendment [has been] interpreted to provide that if you are born in the United States, you are a citizen no matter what,” Kyl said. “So the question is, if both parents are here illegally, should there be a reward for their illegal behavior?”
Sen. Graham, once an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, before Republicans became insane, has called for the repeal of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, while using the derogatory phrase, “drop and leave,” to describe pregnant women crossing the border illegally to obtain U.S. citizenship for their children:
“People come here to have babies,” he said. “They come here to drop a child. It’s called “drop and leave.” To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, have a child, and that child’s automatically an American citizen. That shouldn’t be the case. That attracts people here for all the wrong reasons.”
The hate and anti-immigration fear-mongering began in Arizona, with all of the hysteria surrounding the enactment of SB 1070, and it has spread to the rest of the country like an out of control wildfire. At a time of a recession and rampant unemployment, people need an outlet for their anger, and the scary hordes of illegal immigrants, supposedly crossing the border to take their jobs and cut off their heads, provide a convenient target.
It’s a scary time. It’s unlikely, Republicans would succeed in repealing the 14th Amendment. Two seminal U.S. Supreme Court cases have upheld the foundation of our Constitution granting citizenship, regardless of the immigration status of the parents.
A piece by American Progress takes an in-depth look at the citizenship issue, concluding that if Republicans get their way, the result would be a radical transformation of the very foundation of our nation:
“Right-wing conservatives’ zeal to end birthright citizenship invites the very type of judicial activism they purport to abhor. They want the Supreme Court to reverse its time-tested reading of the plain language of the Constitution in their single-minded pursuit of a shortsighted political result. And abandoning the principle of birthright citizenship would radically reshape the character of our nation. Denying these children U.S. citizenship would stigmatize them at birth and exclude them from the body politic in a way that violates our country’s foundational commitment to freedom and our opposition to birth-based caste.”
Do we really want a nation having a permanent underclass of non-citizens, based on the idea that children should be made to pay for the immigrant status of their parents?
“Conservatives talk in soaring terms about freedom, but freedom emanates from American soil. No one chooses where she or he is born so our Constitution endows children born on our soil with an entitlement of their own, delinked from their family’s status or actions. We find it unthinkable as a nation to hold children responsible for their parents’ actions. Yet conservatives’ rush to eliminate birthright citizenship would do just that, and it puts them squarely outside the American tradition.”
Will bigotry or freedom rule the day?