Revoking Citizenship:Republican Demagoguery


Gary Miller, a Republic congressman from California, is proposing a new bill that would abolish birthright citizenship:

The measure would limit birthright citizenship to children born to at least one parent who is either a citizen, lawful permanent resident or actively serving in the U.S. military. The legislation would only apply prospectively and would not affect the citizenship status of people born before the bill’s enactment.

This bill is not likely to pass, as Democrats control congress and are staunchly against any bill of this sort. Even if it was passed, it would likely be unconstitutional because it directly contradicts the 14th amendment. Which is good. But it portends  potential disastrous effects.  The rationale behind the bill indicates a motive: to play on the misinformed, virulent anti-immigrant groups and change the winds of power from Democratic to Republican.


Rep. Howard McKeon R. Santa Clarita, a co-sponsor of the bill, makes a dubious conclusion:

There’s an incentive for people to come here and quickly have a baby,…Since the baby is a citizen, it’s harder to send the family back to where they came from if they came illegally. Now you have a citizen and it would split up the family.”

I have news for you, Mr. McKeon: you are an idiot. I don’t say this nonchalantly; I really mean it.

Here’s a quick example. A woman and man, both from Mexico, immigrate to the United States without authorization. They are both 25 years old. They have a child, who becomes a citizen. It is strikingly easy to “deport” the parents, along with the U.S.C. child(allowing for the fact that deportation in general is problematic because of the near impossibility of thorough apprehension).

There are only two principal avenues in which the U.S.C. child can obtain status for its undocumented parent(s): 1) Cancellation of Removal and 2) petitioning for their parents when they reach the age of 21. Both methods are extremely difficult to satisfy.

1. As I have mentioned in a previous post, Cancellation of Removal requires that the undocumented parent(s) have been here for at least 10 years, and even more stringent of a requirement is this: “establishes that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien’s spouse, parent, or child, who is a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.”

The “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” portion is very, very difficult to prove. i.e. stating that economic and educational opportunities for the U.S.C. child are worse in Mexico than the United States is not enough. The likely outcome is that the whole family returns to Mexico; foster care is the only other alternative in this situation and I’d imagine most parents do not want to abandon their children to a stranger.

2. The 25 year old parents wait until their U.S.C. child reaches the age of 21. The child then petitions to get her parents legalized. Problem: Under the Illegal Immigration and Reform act of 1996, a individual who has accrued more than one year of unlawful presence and entered without inspection(illegally)would  never be able to get their green card. The parents would be what they were before their child reached 21, undocumented. There is a waiver available for the denial of the application, but, like cancellation of removal, the applicant would have to show an extreme hardship to the U.S.C. child, which would be difficult considering that the child in this instance is already an adult of 21 years old.

The Consequences

The Republican bill is well below any sort of respectable honesty. The two laws discussed above are already designed to address the purported dangers of “anchor babies”. The new law’s purpose is belied by its practical effect–all it would do if passed is negatively affect the children of undocumented immigrant and, significantly, further exacerbate the immigration problem as well as undercut our society’s stability.

Revoking the citizenship of children born to undocumented immigrants would not make them “easier” to deport than any other undocumented immigrant present in the U.S.  It would prevent, like the stridently anti-welfare for any reason republicans like to say, the issuance of benefits, such as welfare and healthcare. But the drawbacks would be much greater than any potential positive impact–a permanent, de jure, slave-like underclass. The children, who were once citizens, and able to contribute to society, would be relegated to menial labor. Or they may resort to crime, which probably would cost taxpayers a lot, not just in the pocket but in basic quality of life.

But why address the issue of Immigration with legislation that would worsen the problem existent in the first place? Power. Specifically, to retake control from the Democrats.

The anti-immigrant/tea party movement churns over the ocean of hate inherent in humans, gaining momentum by exacting their unattainable goal of “deportation of all the illegals” at the misinformed and struggling American public. They are not some fringe that we can write off as crazy and thus ignore. Republicans like Gary Miller and Howard McKeon are most likely well aware of this and they are plugging into this outlet of hate to catapult themselves to new heights of power;  they are not concerned with improving America for all.

The above politics-over-legislating-reasonable-laws is evident from John Mccain’s recent silence on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. As Patrick Young, from Longislandwins, points out:

McCain, who faces challenges by two candidates tied to the anti-immigrant wing of the Arizona Republican Party, is in a disturbingly precarious position for a former Republican standard bearer.

Think back. John Mccain was one of the leading proponents of reasonable immigration reform under the Bush years. Now, paralyzed by the vitriole of the anti-immigrants, he is silent. If this populist Republican strategy does not stop, Immigration Reform will not only be dead but the current system will fall into a state of deterioration. Illegal Immigration will continue, yet everyone will be worse off. Spotty, ineffective ICE raids will spike and subsequent deportations as well. But the problem will remain–millions of fellow humans living in the shadows. Only this time, those shadows will pulsate with the specter of hate.


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3 Responses to “Revoking Citizenship:Republican Demagoguery”

  1. Rob Says:


    “A child is born a subject of no country or government,” John Locke. If they are going to eliminate birthright citizenship, they should do it completely. This will force individuals to earn the right to be called “American.”

  2. bjohns15 Says:

    Hmm, what about all of us schleps who haven’t earned it, outside of our military members, of course?

  3. jim filyaw Says:

    i dare anyone to seriously distinguish between these republican proposals and the “reich citizenship” laws passed in the early years of nazi rule in germany. the repubs want to do to hispanics what hitler did to the jews. its racism, pure and simple, then and now.

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