Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G
sinetimore

Why Eliminating Birthright Citizenship Will Never Happen

Donald Trump wants to eliminate birthright citizenship.

And people are actually talking about this?

Honestly, I can't leave you kids alone for a minute.

Let's first go over the cheat sheet, and where the candidates stand.

Supports ending birthright citizenship:
Donald Trump

REAL candidates who support ending birthright citizenship:
Ben Carson (R)
Chris Christie (R, says it needs to be re-examined)
Bobby Jindal (R)
Scott Walker (R)
Lindsay Graham (R)
Rick Santorum (R)
Rand Paul (R)

REAL candidates who support birthright citizenship:
Hillary Clinton (D)
Bernie Sanders (D)
Martin O'Malley (D)
Mike Huckabee (R)
Jim Gilmore (R)
George Pataki (R)
Jeb Bush (R)
Carly Fiorina (R)
Marco Rubio (R)
John Kasich (R, actually a flip-flop.  While serving in Congress, he supported ending birthright citizenship, but has apparently since changed his mind)

Uncommitted:
Ted Cruz (R, and isn't it nice he's actually keeping quiet about something for a change?)

Okay, that's out of the way.  This is prompting ink as people discuss whether this is right or wrong.

Completely overlooking that it's never going to change.  People born in the US or US territories will forever be US citizens by birthright.

(Side note:  back when Obama was first running back in 2008, I had to listen to a bunch of idiot "birthers" insist that Obama wasn't technically a US citizen and thus could not be President.

Relax, I said, we've had plenty of Presidents who weren't born in US territories.

"Name one!"

Washington.

...aaaaaaaaaaand I got kicked off the channel for being a smartass again.)


In order to change birthright citizenship, they need to repeal the 14th Amendment.  The 14th was passed in 1868, partly to reverse the decision in the Dred Scott case (for those that came in late, that was the case from 1857 where the US Supreme Court ruled that not only were slaves, whether born here or not, not US citizens, but they didn't even have the right to argue otherwise in US courts), and partly to make sure that any black citizens in the South during the reconstruction after the Civil War were not denied their rights.  The amendment was challenged in 1898 in the case United States v. Wong Kim Ark, and the Supes affirmed the 14th Amendment stood, and it's been that way ever since.

And this is why fretting about the end of birthright citizenship is bullshit.  Just look back a few years, during Bill Clinton's presidency.  People were determined to protect the SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE and squash gay marriage flat by amending the Constitution to say marriage could only be between one man and one woman.  It wasn't that long ago, but the majority of people supported this idea.  They still saw gays as a flaw and unworthy of respect.  They wanted to refuse gay marriage.  This was the dominant stance on the subject.

And no.  Amendment.  Ever.  Happened.  All they got was DOMA, which anyone could see was a legal challenge away from failure (Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, we salute you).  Congress couldn't make it happen.  The states couldn't make a Constitutional Convention happen.  Despite this idea having the most widespread support, where backing it would have been a no-brainer, it never happened.

This is why, every time a candidate talks about introducing a Constitutional amendment, I roll my eyes.  It's the political equivalent of, "I swear to God" -- it is considered the ultimate stance of how dedicated you are and proves how serious you are.  And people buy into it, thinking it will happen.

Folks, it won't.  It never will.  So just relax, and worry about more important stuff.  Or anything else, really.  Don't encourage them.
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